The grass (or meadow if it has more than grasses) is still a meadow, a meadow that does not graze, that does not have hay, only with an ornamental use … but after all a meadow.

For our lawn to look perfectly requires more or less known, more or less used care, possibly not everyone scarifies or fertilizes but what it cannot avoid maintaining a green surface is to water and mow.

For a lawn to maintain its green carpet aesthetic, mowing is necessary because if they stop mowing and that the plants grow freely they tend to produce seed and agostarse. As happens in the meadows of tooth and mowing. Where the prairies sprout in spring, being able to take advantage as grass or not, regrowing and letting them grow until the grass produces seeds, is when it is mowed and dried and stored so that the animals consume it in winter. After the hay is harvested, the plant becomes yellowish, latent or dies, regrowing the plants with irrigation or rain … and germinating the seeds that fell into the harvest. Therefore, not all year long, the appearance of the prairies is of lively green.

To conserve therefore the green color and that aspect of vegetal carpet, we need that continued contribution of water and regular mowing (as if it were consumed by livestock or wild animals).

At what height to mow? When to mow?

The height depends on the species of plants that constitute the meadow or lawn.

Without going into technical details, there is an area in the plants where root and aerial part, the neck, joins. This area is at different height according to each species. If we damage or eliminate the neck of said plant, it will not rebound. So it is better to stay “long.”

In addition, a very low mowed meadow consumes more water.

The use of the meadow will be a factor that will vary the height of cut, for example in a pool the exceeded area will be left higher to cushion the trampling for example. On a “young” lawn, mowing may not be as frequent.

I have commented before that it is not interesting to mow too low, but it is also not advisable to let the prairie grow too much.

If we let the plant grow too much when mowing we will eliminate much of the green area that receives light and performs photosynthesis. The plants are therefore yellowish and worse nourished, weakening the entire plant community, opening the door to pests and diseases.

On average we must mow 1/3 of the height of the grass, we should not give radical cuts, but if it is very high we will cut in 1/3 mowings every time in several days.

The grass grows depending on the weather. Being “lethargic” in unfavorable periods, growing more the more optimal the climate is for these species. Which we can all easily observe, in our garden, wild meadows, public gardens…

With this, it is clear that mowing can vary according to the time of the year. As spring progresses, mowing will begin, which can be every 15 days or more until times in summer where it is harvested weekly, or on certain lawns, becoming almost daily (like a green)

There are known cases where growth regulators have been used to reap less, but this cannot be maintained continuously, rather year if not year…but these chemicals can modify the appearance of grass plants (depending on species and variety ) And poorly applied (high doses) or for a long time, by preventing development they can weaken or directly kill plants … I do not recommend it or consider it to be the best option.

Mowers cause vibrations that have a corrugated effect, so they compact the ground. If we always go through the same lines, the areas where the wheels pass are compacted and begin to dry. Therefore it is advisable to give each pass in one direction. In greens, we use mowers without a footprint.

The bands that form the grass are due to the direction of the machines, which knock towards one direction or another the grass that, as usually has a lighter color on the underside, forms those colored stripes.

How to mow

We will obviate the use of a scythe for mowing and the rake to collect the mowed leaves and the cattle.

Therefore we will need a mowing machine.

We will choose it based on the size of the surface with grass, its location, and obstacles in it.

There are several types

  • of horizontal cutting blades: They consist of blades that rotate horizontally and cut while hitting, therefore more than cut tear the blade.
  • Helical: they have a roller that combs the leaves and propeller-shaped blades in a cylinder that perfectly cuts the grass and leaves the grass combed.

My advice is that they are not electric since having to be connected by a cable can hinder the movements and in many cases, in moments of dismissal the machine itself may end up cutting said cable.

As auxiliary machines or tools:

  • profilers: brush cutters for edges…in areas that we cannot put the mower
  • cutting blades: to delimit the edges

(It is interesting to place a strip of the curb, gravel, plastic or metal sheets … that contain the grass without invading other spaces and allow profiling more easily or directly with the mower itself, although it requires some subsequent touch up)

Very important is that all mowers must have a basket or drawer for the residue, facilitating their removal), which if left on the lawn itself would contribute to the lack of aeration, increasing dead organic matter without decomposing generating a layer of ” felt”. Felt that would drown the grass. And that will require regular scarification (I am not very supportive of the comfortable mowers that crush the grass leaving it on the ground, the so-called “mulching” effect for this reason, although it is assumed that these remains are incorporated into the land more easily and without generating the problem…).

Power and width will be determined by surfaces and volume of work that the machine will have to perform. The wheels must adapt to the terrain, type of grass…

To make the harvest more effective we will dry. We will prevent the wheels from getting damaged by damaging the surface and leaving the plant better cut.

The mowers cause vibrations, which transmit the wheels to their support points. So they compact the soil, especially if it is wet. If we always go through the same lines, the areas where the wheels pass are compacted and begin to dry.

It is, therefore, necessary to mow with dry soil, this must be foreseen, stopping the irrigation on the previous night to mow at noon, or in the morning at least to mow in the late afternoon of a hot day.

As I say it is advisable to give each pass in one direction and direction. This variation of passes can give different aspects to the same space as I show in the photos, being able to play with the shapes of the garden, create cross passes, diagonally…

Delimit spaces or create “zones” within the same lawn mowing at different heights … as I show in the following image and that you can buy with the different instants of the same space periodically mowed in different directions.

I insist that these changes in the way of mowing apart from aesthetics prevent premature soil compaction by repeated passes on the same surface. This is something that in many cases for comfort or ignorance is not done, always being the same point of origin, following the same “route” inside the garden, ending in another that is always the same …

Typical bands of mowed grassland are due to the direction of advance of the mower. The plants, due to the effect of the blades, lie down in one direction or another, leaving the beam, darker, upwards and passing in the opposite direction the underside of the grass, lighter, is lying towards above. Obtaining these lines of a different hue. They will be more defined with the helical blade mowers, since apart from cutting “combs” the grass.

To achieve this fringe effect we will have to make each pass in the opposite direction to the previous one each time.

With autonomous mowers that do not require a human “driver”, I do not find it feasible to achieve it, just as if we are not very careful people…

The correct sharpening of the blades (and their disinfection in case of using the same machine in different gardens to avoid transmission of diseases and pests), the maintenance of the machine (oil level, state in general…) or subsequent washing of the same are things that we should not forget, will result in both the appearance and state of the lawn and the longevity of the machinery.

Ahhh !!! By the way, before starting the harvest, check that all objects that damage the mower blades have been removed from the area and that the emerging sprinklers have descended and it is not possible to reach them with the mower, it seems silly, but all years more than one is seen replacing its sprinklers for not having given a small preliminary inspection.

I hope you found it interesting.

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Robert Griffin

Blog dedicated to gardening and landscaping where we will give tips on the design, maintenance, plant diseases, tips, and tricks…


June 2023