Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lawn Mowing Tips - Grass Cutting & Edge Trimming Guide

By following simple recommended cutting heights for your grass type, you can make significant improvements to the health and presentation of your lawn. Setting your lawn mower to cut higher with longer cut grass, you can help improve and maintain the health of your lawn and help eliminate weed growth.
Lawn grass cutting - long and often
Regardless of grass type, you should always have your lawn mower set on a longer cut. Cutting your grass too short can encourage weed growth by allowing more light into the soil.
 A good rule of thumb is to only cut one third off the grass height in any one mow. If your grass is overgrown, adjust your lawn mower to the highest setting possible, collecting the grass in the lawn mowers grass box or by raking with a leaf rake. Leave the lawn for a few days after cutting, then mow the grass at your desired height later.
Discarding grass clippings
Many people choose to dump grass clippings into refuse. Grass clippings can be a good source of nutrients including nitrogen. Never bin grass clippings, thrown them on a compost heap or use the clippings to start a new one. Alternatively, you can leave the grass box off your lawn mower and cut your grass without collecting. The grass clippings will break down fairly quickly and provide valuable nutrients to your lawn, cutting down on the need for fertiliser.
Recommended lawn grass cutting heights based on grass type
Each individual grass type requires slightly different cutting heights set on your lawn mower. Use the following table to find the recommended cutting height for your lawn.
  • Zoysia Grass, Centipede Grass: 1 - 2 inches (25 - 51mm)
  • Ryegrass: 1 1/2 - 2 inches (38 - 51mm)
  • Bermuda Grass: 1/2 - 1 inch (13 - 25mm)
  • Bent Grass: 1/4 - 1 inch (6 - 25mm)
  • Buffalo, Fescue, Blue Grama, Tall Grass: 2 - 3 inches (51 - 76mm)
  • Carpet grass: 2 - 3 inches (5.1 - 76mm)
  • Bahia Grass: 2 - 4 inches (51 - 10.2cm)
  • Floratam/St. Augustine: 2 - 4 inches (51 - 76mm)
 
Lawn edge trimming & repair
As mentioned previously, do not cut off more than 1/3 of the grass border height. The most popular power tool for trimming lawn edges is the string trimmer which uses a nylon plastic cord spinning at high speed, whipping and cutting the grass. Although popular, a string trimmer alone will not get you clean cut borders, you'll need a manual or powered lawn edger for that. Some string power trimmers come with interchangeable heads for horizontal and vertical cutting without having to use two separate tools.When trimming grass around trees, wrap a tree trunk protector around the base of the tree for protection. Damage to the cambium layer (under the tree bark) can kill off trees or cause serious damage. Alternatively, cut back grass at least 12 inches (300mm) from the tree base and surround with mulch or bark chippings.
Lawn edges can be trimmed manually with garden/grass shears (use long handled shears to save back pain) and half moon lawn edger, or with an electric or gas powered edger with star shaped blade for vertical cutting.
This work can be physically demanding causing significant pain to your arms, legs and back. Take regular breaks or consider hiring or buying a powered edger for large gardens.
Original article: Lawn Mowing Tips [http://www.gardengrower.co.uk/lawn-mowing-edge-trimming-tips]: Grass Cutting & Edge Trimming Guide @ Garden Grower Blog [http://www.gardengrower.co.uk]

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