You planted new grass and think it may be time to mow it, but is it the right time? Those seeds are sprouting out of the ground, and you can’t wait to get out there and cut it for the first time. Seeing those grass blades means the roots are taking hold but are they strong enough for mowing? Determining when or how often you need to mow takes a little observation and patience. You want to make sure you do it at the right time under the best conditions so your lawn will grow robust.
New grass is ready for mowing when the roots hold tight, and leaf blades are strong and tall. About 4 to 6 inches tall. The amount of time it takes to reach this height depends on how you started your lawn. Seeds usually take root and grow to readiness in about 2 months. Lawns started using sod can often be mowed in approximately 2 or 3 weeks. Keep in mind this all varies upon your soil and climate.
Don’t worry about it all too much. We will go over the details below to help you help your new lawn start its journey to becoming thick and luscious. Just think, you may end up the envy of the neighborhood. Time to get growing.
Mowing Your New Grass
Mowing new grass is a task gardeners worry about because if you do it too soon or too short, you will damage the grass blades, possibly beyond repair. Then establishing a mowing schedule takes time and will change as the seasons do. Like with any living thing, the timing for your first mow and continued maintenance will vary. Many factors come into play, such as location, climate, and soil.
Mowing Grass Too Soon
Mowing too soon will ruin the grass, and you will have to replant all over again. You may see those bright green blades of grass growing tall and become anxious to cut them but be careful and patient. Wait a little longer if you are unsure at all that the lawn is too young and fragile. You can’t undo the damage if you cut when the blades are not ready; you will have to start from scratch with planting or have a sparse and unhealthy lawn.
If you started your grass from seed and mow it too soon, the mower pulls out the blades rather than cuts them. The individual seedlings have not rooted deep enough. Hence, the movement from the blade rips them out of the ground and damages them. So, you can’t put them back into the soil, hoping they will grow. Your mower will also smash the ground so any seedlings left in the soil will be weak reducing spread or become healthy enough to grow strong.
If you start your grass from sod and mow it too soon, you take the chance of cutting too close to the roots of the grass. When you do this, the corners of the sod slabs can pull up, and then the entire slab’s roots will tear or be damaged. Give your sod a tug to see if the roots are strong enough by pulling on the corner. If they are strong, your grass will hold tight and not lift. This check will help prevent you from mowing your sod too early. If you do, you will damage entire sections of your lawn very fast, and you will have to start from scratch.
Be patient and mow your new turf when it shows signs of strength and length and not before then, no matter how bad you want to. Waiting a little longer is more beneficial and will prevent you from having to plant new seeds or sod more than once.
The first Time Cutting Your Grass
When you cut your grass for the first time, there are a few things you need to remember. You want your lawn to be dry to help prevent the mower from pulling out any of the new grass blades. Wait about 48 hours after the last time you watered it so it will dry out some. Wet grass blades and roots pull out of the ground easier yet dry grass blades cut and the roots stay in the ground. Also, ensure the lawnmower blades are sharp or they will tug rather than cut which damages the grass. Cut the very tips up to approximately one-third of the height of your lawn at a time. If you are not comfortable determining the right height, set your mower blades at a higher setting to ensure you don’t cut too low. You can always cut more a few days later. Cut no shorter than about 2 or 3 inches to prevent weeds from invading or heat stress. If you cut it too short you may get pests or pathogens that can damage your new yard. Then you will have to get rid of those which is added work to cultivating your lawn.
Push your mower in different directions and make wide turns so you don’t tug too hard on the blades as your turn. Making a criss-cross pattern works well and the wheel tracks look nice and neat when you are done. This keeps the blades upright and strong. If you always mow in the same direction your lawn may lay down into the soil. Also, when you finish, take those clippings and put them in the trash or compost pile. Don’t leave them on your lawn to suffocate the fresh cut from the sun. Looking at the height after you complete the yard will help you determine if you need to go over it again in a few days or if you got it right the first time. Remember, it is better to cut less and have to cut again within a few days than cut too much.
Cutting New grass And Growth
Cutting new grass helps it grow which seems counterintuitive but it is true. Grass needs sunlight to grow and uses the process of photosynthesis to do this. Like you eat food to nourish yourself, plants need sunlight and they turn this sunlight into their fuel. Each individual blade grows at a different speed so some blades are taller than others. These taller blades block the sun from the shorter ones so the short ones will continue to grow slower until you cut your lawn. When you mow new grass on a schedule, you ensure the grass blades stay the same height and all can get the same amount of sun. Why is this important? It allows your lawn to spread and become thicker when all of it gets the same amount of sunlight.
When you cut your lawn, you also prevent it from growing too tall. When it grows tall, its energy goes to the individual blades to keep them strong rather than going to the roots. You want the energy directed to the roots to help spread the lawn making it thicker and lush. So keep the height right about 2 or 3 inches after cutting and your grass will fill in thick. An added benefit is thick grass makes it difficult for weeds to grow because there is no room for them to root.
Mowing your grass for the first time can be exciting but nerve-racking for some. Don’t let it worry you though; just be patient. Follow the few steps we provided and you will have a beautiful thick lawn that is easy to care for.
Let it grow for a while before the first cut. You want your grass blades to be taller than you plant to keep them once you start mowing. Wait about 2 months for those seeds you sowed and close to 2 or 3 weeks for the squares of sod you laid down. Hold off a little longer if you are unsure because it is more of a safe bet than cutting when the lawn is not quite ready. Keep in mind, these are not strict guidelines. As you watch your blades grow once they reach about 4 to 6 inches and you know the roots are holding tight, give them their initial cut. Start with only removing the tips if you have concerns about accidentally going too short. You can always cut more but you can’t go back and cut less. Eventually, you want to remove about ⅓ of the height but do not go shorter than about 2 or 3 inches.
Adding grass to your yard provides an excellent foundation for your landscape and is easy to care for. Getting the roots established builds its foundation for health and mowing helps it grow. With this, you have all the information you need to go out there and mow. To help your fellow gardeners get their lawns going share this article and you will all have beautiful lush lawns in no time.