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Mowing the lawn

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Lawn - Arboretum.
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant)  

Mow high, mow often and leave the clippings on the lawn

We tend to cut our lawns too short and this makes them vulnerable to drought and weeds. The ideal mowing height is about 7.5 cm. Only the first mowing in spring and the last one in fall should be shorter. Mowing your lawn to 5 cm at the start of the season will stimulate growth; at the end of the season, it will help prevent disease.

How often to mow?

It is important to mow regularly, never removing more than 1/3 of the total blade length at one time. To keep your lawn at a height of 7.5 cm, you should mow it when the grass is about 11 to 12 cm long. That means mowing it every 5 to 7 days when it is growing actively. In summer, however, once every two weeks is usually enough.

Should grass clippings be picked up?

You don’t need to pick up your grass clippings; in fact, leaving them on the lawn is good for it. They will release their nutrients as they are broken down by the micro-organisms in the soil. To speed up the decomposition process, use a mulching mower or run a regular lawnmower back and forth over the clippings.

Your lawn will look better, will be more resistant to diseases and will grow better if you keep your lawnmower blades sharpened, because a cleaner cut heals more easily. As a general rule, a dull lawnmower will cause a lawn to turn greyish-green, as some blades of grass turn brown at the tips. Avoid mowing your lawn when it is wet—it will cut more cleanly and the clippings will be better distributed over the entire lawn if you wait until it is dry. Finally, mow in a different pattern each week so that the clippings don’t form clumps.

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