When to mow your new lawn

Mowing is the most important lawn care job there is. A regular, sensible mowing regime will keep your lawn robust, healthy and beautiful and so it’s vital that you get it right from the very start.

Mowing a freshly turfed lawn for the first time

In spring and summer, your newly turfed lawn will probably need its first cut after a week or so.

But first, you must sharpen your mower blades. Blunt blades will rip rather than slice the grass blades leaving an open wound that not only looks ugly (it will turn brown and ragged at the edges) it could allow diseases to take hold.

If you can tug on the grass and not feel the turf lifting, then it’s OK to give your lawn its first cut.

If you have used a ryegrass based turf such as Sportsman or Lawna then it’s best to aim at a final mowing height of around 2-4cm. Grass that is kept slightly longer is a lot more durable and copes better with drought, frost and the threat of disease.

Your lawn should still be watered every day so mow it immediately before irrigating it – that way it should be reasonably dry.

For the first cut, set the mower on its highest setting and just nip off the top of the grass blades. Reducing the height by around 20% is just perfect for this time. The grass plants have already been stressed by being harvested, rolled up and re-laid so you need to be gentle with them for a few weeks yet.

Remove the clippings.

You can mow again in about a week’s time and thereafter once or twice a week as you see fit.

Whatever you do though, don’t let the grass get really long and then cut it back hard. That’s too stressful for the plants and you’ll find yourself with a patchy, brown looking lawn.

Mowing a newly seeded lawn for the first time

The rules for a seeded lawn are similar to a turfed lawn. Keep your mower blades really sharp. This is more important for seed than for turf because you have some really young, vulnerable plants that need to be nurtured if they’re going to grow into a lush lawn.

You can give the lawn its first cut when the grass is 7-8cm tall (3 inches). This will encourage the plants to grow more shoots from the base and will thicken your lawn up nicely.

Don’t remove any more than 20% of the grass in the first cut. You can reduce the length very gradually over several cuts. Always remember that the leaves are what power the plant, they create food from sunlight. When young plants are growing fast and establishing roots, they need to be well nourished otherwise they become pale and weak.

Take the clippings away when you cut your lawn for the first time. Once it’s properly established you can return clippings to the lawn if you want to – but not yet.

Mow little and often to keep thickening up the sward – but don’t exhaust the plants. Keeping the length at about 3cm for a family lawn will help it to put up with wear and tear and cope with dry weather.

Rules for mowing your lawn

  • Keep the blades sharp
  • Don’t take too much off at once
  • Clean your mower after every use to prevent disease spreading
  • Mow little and often
  • Avoid mowing when the grass is very wet, frozen or when the weather is very hot
  • Change the direction of mowing every time you trim your lawn. If you mow north-south this week, next week you should work east-west and the week after south-east to north-west. This prevents “graining” where the grass all grows in one direction