There is nothing quite as satisfying as looking at a fresh, new lawn. It can really boost the aesthetic appeal of your garden and gives your home a clean new vibe. However, new grass might look great but it’s actually pretty vulnerable so you need to make sure that you offer it the very best care. Part of that is knowing when to cut new grass.
It is important to wait for at least four weeks after planting new grass before you cut it. You need to make sure that all of the seeds have had time to germinate. If you don’t then this could cause damage that cannot be undone.
When you look at a new lawn coming through, it might look a little sparse to begin with but that’s normal. Many people are under the impression that the sooner they cut their new grass, the more it will grow. But that isn’t true at this stage.
In this guide, we will be discussing when is the best time to mow new grass and how to approach this for the best results.
Once you have planted new grass seed, you will need to give the seeds time to germinate. For most types of grasses, this will be at least four weeks so a degree of patience is required.
When you use a push mower for your lawn, this can cause soil compaction. This is not great for new lawns and is one of the main reasons that you should hold off for as long as possible so that the grass seeds have time to grow and become stronger.
What’s more, when grass is young, the root system is still not fully developed so if you go in with a lawn mower, you could cause some serious damage. The heavy wheels and powerful blades are likely to rip the grass out of the ground instead of cutting it so you’ll undo all of the hard work you did planting the lawn in the first place.
Check The Height
After the minimum four week period is over, we would not recommend just grabbing your lawn mower and going in for the kill; quite the opposite. You will need to take some time to inspect your lawn and check the height of your new grass.
This will tell you a lot about whether the new seeds are ready to be mowed. Normally, you would hold off on cutting your new grass for at least four weeks but we’ll be honest, a lot of types of grass seed might not be at the right height for double that length of time. You’ll need to wait until the seedlings grow to around three and a half inches before they’re ready to be cut.
Even at this point, there’s no use in trimming the grass too short. You should NEVER cut more than a third of the length at any stage of your lawn’s life. This is because cutting any more than this can stress the plant and cause health and growth problems.
This means that, if you are looking to have a very short lawn, you will need to gradually bring down the height through repeated mowing sessions. Usually, however, a height of around two inches will be the most manageable.
When you mow the lawn for the first time, it’s essential to make sure that you turn slowly so that the mower wheels don’t tug at the grass. We will go into more detail on good mowing practice in the next section.
Proper Mowing Techniques
One of the most important things when growing a new lawn is to make sure that things remain moist as this will boost growth. However, it is not a good idea to mow a wet, or even damp lawn so it’s highly recommended to allow the lawn to dry before mowing it for the first time. You’ll usually need to allow at least 48 hours for it to completely dry.
If you mow the lawn when it is damp or wet then you won’t get as clean a cut. This can result in the blades of grass being torn which takes them a lot more to recover from. Even for established grass this isn’t good news so you can imagine what it means for a young lawn. At the very worst, you’ll end up killing it and you will have to start all over again.
But by mowing your lawn correctly, you can ensure it will remain healthy and lush.
For starters, you must make sure that your lawn mower blades are sharp as this will give a nice clean cut. Moreover, you should never cut your grass shorter than around 2 – 3 inches. If you do this, especially with a new lawn then you will make the lawn prone to pests and diseases not to mention you’ll damage its structure.
Each time you mow the lawn make sure to alternate your cutting pattern. This simply means mowing in a different direction from what you did last time. This is because mowing in the same direction every time will cause the blades to become compacted into the soil. Keep mowing in new directions with every pass.
It may be that you have an established lawn but noticed some patchy areas and have added seed to these. The mature grass can continue to be mowed as usual but you’ll need to stay clear of the new grass until it’s ready for that first mowing session.
Once the time does come, make sure that you are adhering to the correct mowing heights as you gradually incorporate the new lawn with the old. Eventually, you will be able to mow the lawn as a whole.
Does Cutting New Grass Help it Grow
If you do the job properly then mowing new grass will encourage further growth. However, if you don’t wait the recommended time then you’ll do nothing but stunt the growth and potentially damage your lawn. It can be tempting to go in all guns blazing but this won’t do the lawn any favors.
As we have discussed, it is essential to only take a third of the grass height off during each mowing session. This is a good way to help the lawn grow but cutting it any shorter will have the opposite effect as the grass will be too stressed and its energy will be focused on repairing the damage and not new growth.
There is a very fine line between giving your grass a helping hand and causing damage; which is often unintentional but people manage it nonetheless. Correct mowing will result in a healthy lawn and every time you cut it, you’re encouraging healthy growth. As well as this, regular and proper mowing can help to repel weeds and cause the grass to be much more hard wearing.
How Often To Mow New Lawn?
Once you have done that first mow, it can be tempting to keep on cutting but the key to success also lies in how often you cut your new lawn.
After the initial cut, we would recommend waiting at least seven to ten days before you go anywhere near it with a mower again. The lawn needs time to recover from the stress of the mow because even if you’ve followed all of our advice, it’s still a lot for your new lawn to take.
At this point, you can go in with the mower again and take off another third of the height in order to get the grass to where you would like it to be. Do make sure that, at this stage, you don’t leave clippings on the lawn. While mulching is great for an established lawn, it can contribute to a build up of thatch on new lawns so should be avoided for the first mowing season.
When the grass is established, you can set up a more regular mowing schedule. Typically, this will involve mowing between every seven to ten days in the spring and fall but reducing this to once a fortnight in the summer when the weather is particularly dry.
What Happens If I Mow New Grass Too Soon?
We know that you want to get your new lawn established as quickly as possible but this is a process that requires patience. If you mow your new grass too soon then you’re only going to be putting it under enormous stress that it may not be able to recover from.
On the other hand, it is possible to leave it too long which means that you’ll miss the opportunity to thicken the grass up during its early stages.
Mowing your lawn is the best way to keep it thick and healthy. But when you plant a new lawn, it is possible to mess everything up by mowing it too soon. A lot of people aren’t sure when to mow new grass but it’s probably a lot longer after planting than many realize.
You will need to wait for at least four weeks before mowing your new lawn for the first time. In some cases, it could be even longer. Resist the temptation to do it any sooner as this can stress the young grass and might even damage it beyond repair.