Scalping your lawn is the ‘number one’ mistake to avoid – ‘leaves lawns prone to weeds’

Alan Titchmarsh explains how to repair and protect your lawn

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During the winter months, the lawn tends to be left due to slow growth and the weather conditions. This can cause it to look unkempt when spring comes around with long grass, which makes the task of mowing all the more crucial. However, most gardeners may not know it, but improper mowing is one of the most common causes of lawn problems. Luckily, it’s much easier than trying to diagnose a disease or pest problem or remedy mould or weed issues. Gardening experts at Custom Lawn and Landscape have put together some basic lawn mowing tips to keep lawns healthy and looking its best.

The experts explained why “scalping” grass is the “number one” lawn care mistake to avoid.

They said: “Scalping a lawn – or mowing off more than the suggested one third of the height – is the number one lawn care mistake that homeowners make. 

“They do it thinking it will help them mow less often.

“What it actually does is leave your lawn prone to weeds and less capable of coping in the event of a drought or other environmental event.”

Grasses have a balance between the size of their root systems and length of their blades. 

When the roots and the grass blades are in balance, the plants will be their healthiest and be able to handle all kinds of stress.

Mowing actually helps make grass grow thicker because the tip of each blade contains hormones that suppress horizontal growth. 

When the lawn is being cut, the tips allow the grass to spread and grow thicker near the roots.

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The experts added: “If your grass has gotten really long, don’t try to cut it to its ideal length in one mowing. 

“Adhere to the rule and just mow it to one-third of the grass’ height and then let it recover for three or four days before mowing again.”

Gardeners should also avoid cutting the grass when it is wet.

The gardening experts said: “The blades tend to stick together making the cut very uneven. 

“The clippings can clog the mower and they can mat on the grass blocking the sunlight. 

“Your mower’s blades will miss the grass that the wheels have matted down and that grass can pop up later making your lawn look uneven.”

They also shared how mowing the lawn when it’s wet can also spread any small patches of fungus and can create disease infestations.

Gardeners are also advised to avoid mowing the same way every time.

The experts said: “Varying the pattern in which you mow will help to allow the blades to grow straighter and healthier.

“Grass blades tend to grow in the direction in which they are mowed. 

“Alternating the pattern allows the blades to return to a more upright position.” 

This will also ensure that gardeners don’t develop ruts in their lawn from the mower wheels.

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