In the hottest months of the year, your lawn is under stress. Stress from the heat, stress from lack of water, stress from harsh sunlight, and, if you’re unlucky, stress from weeds and pests.
Mowing in summer is all about alleviating this pressur. You still need to mow in summer even though your lawn won’t grow as much as it did earlier in the year. Mowing in summer should aim to help lawns with the summer stresses, and, if done properly, should help to keep guide your lawn safely through the hot days. Mow incorrectly in summer and you will find that you’re causing more harm to your lawn than good.
Here are some important summer mowing tips which will help keep your lawn safe and healthy.
The first thing you should do as spring ends and summer sets in is to increase your mower height. Warm season grasses can be kept relatively short, but cool season grasses are best off with the mower height brought to its maximum height.
There are lots of benefits to mowing your lawn higher in summer. Firstly, the longer grass blades provide more shade to the soil which keeps it cooler and decreases the amount of evaporation.
Secondly, cutting the grass lower pushes the grass to grow more to make up for the haircut. Your lawn is under stress from the weather, you don’t want your mowing to force your lawn to grow when it’s vulnerable.
If you’re worried that long grass blades may make your lawn look tidy and unkempt, don’t worry – even at the mower’s highest height your lawn will look cared for and manicured.
Recommended mowing heights
For couch grasses, zoysia, and carpet grasses, you should be keeping them at about 3cm high during summer. For buffalo and kikuyu varieties, aim for 5cm.
Cool seasons grasses like rye grasses, fescues, and Kentucky blue grass, adjust your mower to the highest height. This should mean keeping them at about 10cm long.
Keep your lawn blades sharp
This is super important anyway, but it’s particularly important for stressed summer lawns. Dull blades chop at the grass, leaving raggedy and dead ends. The grass then has to focus a lot of nutrients and energy on repairing that grass. Summer is not the time for that!
Follow the one-third rule
Again, this should be done all year round, but you should never cut more than one third of your grass blade height off in one go. It puts too much stress on the lawn. If you’re doing your summer mowing right you should be keeping your lawn long and this shouldn’t be a problem.
Don’t use a catcher bag
Grass clippings are great natural fertiliser. Leaving your mower’s catcher bag off and letting the grass clippings fall where they lay is perfect for returning all of the nutrients in the chopped blades to the soil.
In summer, leaving clippings on your turf has the added bonus of providing extra shade and a mulch-like layer which keeps the underlying lawn and soil cooler and moist.
Mow when the grass is dry
If you’ve just given your lawn a big soaking or you’ve had a summer shower, wait until the turf has dried out before you bring out the mower. There are a few benefits to this, not least of which is that mowing a dry lawn is far easier.
When you mow a lawn wet, the clippings are clumpy and uneven where they fall on the lawn. You’ll need to come back and spread them out later if you still choose to mow the lawn wet.
After a solid watering or rain fall, soil can be spongy and your lawn mower can sink into it as you push it along. Doing this runs the risk of scalping your lawn, which is extra dangerous for your lawn in summer. It’s difficult for your lawn to bounce back from a scalping in the hot summer months where it’s already stressed.
It’s important to keep mowing in summer even when grass growth slows down. It encourages growth which keeps lawn healthy and encourages root growth which builds a stronger, more resilient lawn.
Mowing in summer is about maintenance and making sure you’re keeping your turf healthy, rather than stressing it out more