Gardening: One man’s wont to mow

It’s time to give the lawn a decent haircut. David Overend reports.


There’s no rest for the wicked when the sun comes out and the grass starts to grow. We live in the age of man and mower, which means weekends filled with the sound of motorised, electric and manual machines doing their utmost to keep lawns looking good.

It’s a thankless task, but when the grass gets growing, the mowers have to get mowing, so and for stronger, healthier grass that means at least one trim a week.

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This routine of taking just a little grass from the top each week will help the grass far more than if you scalp it every fortnight.

If the weather is turning hot and dry, leave a few grass clippings on the surface rather than collecting them in the grass box. The fine clippings will help to shade the soil and help to retain what moisture there is in the lawn.

The downside is that too many clippings can be a bad thing – a thatch may eventually build up, encouraging moss and discouraging the grass. It’s a gamble not everyone is willing to take.

But one thing which unites all real lawn lovers is the need to wage war on broad-leaved weeds which rob the grass of moisture and nutrients – spreading out to take over the growing room that should be allocated to grass plants.

Late June is a good time to get rid of clover, daisies, buttercups and other broad-leaved weeds that spoil the look of a summer lawn.

You can find granular lawn fertilizers that include selective weedkillers, or you can use a liquid to dilute in a watering can or pressure sprayer and apply in a liquid form.

Whichever product you use, fit the weeding in between lawn mowings. Apply your chosen product about three days after the last cut so that the weeds have a good leaf cover and can absorb plenty of weedkilling ingredients.

Leave well alone for another three or four days after application before you mow again so that the weeds will have had ample time to absorb the weedkiller right down to the roots.

And even if it’s not possible to mow regularly, get out whatever the weather and trim the lawn edges with a pair of long-handled edging shears. Don’t leave the clippings where they fall; think tidy and pick them up and stick them in the compost bin.