After the slow, dark months of winter cold, the first glimpses of spring growth may tempt you to make a beeline for the mower. But before you do, here’s how to ensure the timing and conditions are just right to get the best start for a lush summer lawn.
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Check grass height
Don’t mow until the grass is at least 5cm tall. Why? Spring grass needs a chance to develop strong, healthy roots. The first mow should only just trim a centimetre or so. Now more than ever is the time to stick to the 1/3 rule of thumb; definitely don’t mow down further than that just yet. Cut it too low and you allow sun to reach the soil and let weeds germinate. Plus, the grass is more tender and will take longer to recover from a shock cut.
Let the ground thaw and dry out
Another reason to not rush into spring mowing is that it’s still a reasonably wet season, especially if you live somewhere that late frosts aren’t unheard of (the freezing/thawing cycle can dehydrate the grass), or there’s an excess of rain. If your lawn is still pretty mushy from winter, take care not to cut it down too low or mow too often as you’ll damage the grass and root system and compact the turf.
Time your fertiliser
Because of its high rate of new growth, spring grass goes through nutrients faster than normal. That’s why early or late spring is a good time to apply fertiliser to make sure your lawn has all the goodness it needs. Just be sure to give it a chance to absorb the fert before you mow.
Do you need to overseed?
This is when you plant grass seed directly into existing turf without digging it up (to cover bare spots, for example). This is commonly done in spring and typically before fertilising so you’ll need to work out a schedule to make sure you don’t mow away your hard work.
Check your own calendar
Once you start a mowing regimen in spring you should plan on mowing every 3-5 days if you want that healthy, manicured look. This means not starting your spring mowing until you know you’re going to have the time and energy to keep it up.
The best time to mow
Around mid-morning is the best time of day to mow, after the grass has dried out and before the heat of the day sets in.
Want more tips on spring lawn care? Read them here.