Monty Don shares when you ‘need’ to mow the lawn to get the best grass

Homebase offers advice for preparing your lawn in March

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Mowing is something every lawn needs in order to stay healthy and presentable. It is the most important lawn maintenance task there is, so choosing when to start mowing the lawn can make a huge difference in a garden’s overall appearance. Taking to his monthly gardening blog, Monty Don has shared when to resume mowing and how to get the “best” looking grass for summer.

Before gardeners start to use their lawnmowers it is worth giving them a clean and service to ensure they are working to the best of their ability for spring and summer.

This involves washing the appliance down and removing any dried grass off – especially around the mower blades. 

For those with a petrol mower, they should clean the spark plugs and remove any crusty carbon using wire wool. With petrol lawnmowers old petrol that has been sitting in the tank over winter should be drained and replaced.

The mower blades should also be oiled and sharpened if gardeners are able to remove them.

Monty shared that March is the time when gardeners “need” to start mowing their lawn, but they need to avoid cutting it too short.

The 67-year-old wrote: “The grass will need mowing in March but do not cut it too short. Just give it a light trim for the rest of this month.  

“This will encourage good root growth and as a result the grass will be a lot healthier and better able to resist summer drought.”

From March the lawn should be mown once a week, but to keep grass’ height the same all throughout spring. 

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For most lawns the ideal height would be 2.5 to four centimetres.  However, for those that take a lot of wear and tear, strive to keep the grass raised at around five centimetres in height. If a part of the lawn is covered by shade, maintain the grass at a height of 7.5cm.

Avoid mowing the grass too short as that can weaken it and allow weeds and moss to run wild.

Rather than trying to tackle lawn issues to improve grass, Monty advised focusing on the overall area to be “healthy” to achieve the “best grass”.

He said: “To get a ‘good’ lawn you have to think positively. Put your efforts into healthy grass rather than fighting perceived ‘problems’ like daisies, moss, ants, worm-casts, moles, plantains, dandelions and fairy rings. Nine times out of ten if the grass is healthy then everything else will look after itself. 

“The best grass likes very well drained soil. Moss, for example, is always a symptom of poor drainage, made worse by shade. Unfortunately even the best prepared soil becomes compacted by matted roots, rain and, especially, normal family use. 

“The answer is to work on it at least once a year by sticking a fork in the ground and wiggling it about and repeating the process every six inches or so.”

Once this is done gardeners can mix up equal portions of sieved topsoil, sharp sand and sieved leaf mould or compost. For those who do not have these things to hand, just sharp or silver sand as they will do the job. 

The expert added: “Spread it across the area you have pricked and brush it in with a stiff broom, filling the holes with the mixture. This will help drainage and feed the grass.”

Monty also recommended gardeners give their lawns a “good scratch” with a wire rake this month. In the world of gardening this is what’s known as scarification.

The expert explained: “This will get at all the overwintering thatch and moss, and let light and water get to the soil and to the roots of the grass. Put the debris on the compost and then mow.”

If gardeners do not scarify, debris will build up and lead to other problems. For example, thatchy and mossy lawns will not be very wear or drought tolerant. 

For those planting on top dressing, overseeding or fertilising their lawn, it is recommended that scarification takes place prior to get maximum results from these procedures.

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