Winter is finally coming to an end so it’s time to think about your lawn and the first cut.
There are a few areas of preparation needed before getting the mower out as the winter may have taken its toll on your lawn and left it a little neglected, lacklustre and needing some attention.
So where do you start?
A good clear up of the lawn
Before you even get the lawn mower out of the shed or garage, it’s time to clear up any mess left from the winter period.
Pick up any sticks, leaves or rubbish that may have collected and, if you have a large garden, it may be handy to invest in a leaf blower or garden vac to take some of the manual labour out of tidying the lawn.
A closer inspection
Next, give the garden a bit of a closer inspection - check for stones or thicker branches that may be hidden in the long grass as these can dull the mower blade if you strike them or become a flying projectile and possibly cause injury or property damage.
Get some air to it
If your lawn is a little compacted, then it’s a good time to aerate at the start of the growing season.
A compacted lawn restricts airflow and reduces water absorption which doesn’t lead to a very healthy garden.
A simple way to aerate a compacted lawn is to use a garden fork and push the tines 2 to 3 inches into the soil and methodically work your way across the garden.
If you have a large garden, it may be handy to buy or hire a proper aeration tool.
Either way, aeration will help get some oxygen and nutrients into the soil and you’ll definitely see the benefits later in the growing season.
A sharp blade
Chances are your mower blade may have become a little dull after last season’s mowing, so now is the ideal time to inspect the blade, sharpen it or replace it if required.
A blunt blade will tear at the grass rather than cutting it and pull up clumps, leaving the garden looking ragged and more prone to disease.
The one third rule
No one likes an unkempt grass, so the temptation may be to drop your mower to the lowest setting and have at it, thinking the end result will be like a bowling green after just one cut… DON’T!
Hacking your grass right back can stress the grass, causing patchiness, scalping and lead to grass death.
Instead, stick to the one-third rule - never cut more than a third of the blade length off in one go. This promotes healthy growth for your grass and will lead to a much lusher lawn.
You should gradually reduce the grass length over a number of cuts until you’ve reached your desired length and then continue to use the one-third rule to maintain your lawn throughout the rest of the season.
There’s no ideal time to water your lawn and it doesn’t necessarily need doing just after you’ve cut the grass.
Your will need to water your grass whenever it needs moisture but there are a few guidelines on the best time of day to do your watering.
If you water late in the evening, this won’t give the lawn enough time to dry out and can lead to fungal problems.
It’s usually too warm during the middle of the day so the water will either act as a magnifying glass and burn the grass or evaporate before it’s had a chance to soak into the soil.
It’s widely recommended to water first thing in the morning - the air is cooler and the water has time to soak into the soil before evaporating.
Weeds and moss
Weeds and moss may have taken advantage of the lack of care during winter and may have taken up residence on your lawn.
A good quality, animal-friendly weed killer should see to them and add some nitrogen back into the soil to help give your lawn a bit of a boost. Always follow the instructions with any weed killer.
Your lawn may be looking a little more loved after the first cut but let’s not forget the edges.
Overgrown edges will ruin the look of any lawn so it’s best to trim these back with edging sheers or a grass trimmer with an edging function every time you mow the lawn.
So there we are, the first cut is done and you have taken the first step to a healthy, well-kept lawn.
Just remember the one-third rule, keep on top of the weeds and edges and you should have a lawn your neighbours will be envious of in no time.