When Should You Cut Your New Grass?

If you’ve just laid new turf or your recently sown grass seeds have started to spout, we delve into when you should give it its first cut.
Written By: Archie Rich | Updated:
When To Cut New Grass
Archie Rich/DIY Works

The first cut of your freshly laid turf or newly seeded lawn is often the most memorable. However, deciding when to cut new grass is crucial to its outcome once it has been cut.

This is because being too eager to cut your grass before it’s ready for mowing can lead to damage and even lead to it never growing back properly.

Regarding the damage, freshly planted grass (seeds in particular) has roots and blades that are still developing. Therefore, cutting it too early can stunt its growth and weaken the grass before it has time to establish a strong root system and more robust blades.

On top of this, it wouldn’t have had time to store sufficient nutrients, and all this combined will lead to the grass being unable to establish itself and turning into a lush, green lawn.

To ensure that your first cut of your new grass is a success, we walk you through everything you need to know below.

When To Cut New Grass?

At DIY Works, we recommend waiting for the turf to reach a height of 5 to 6 cm or a newly seeded lawn to reach a height of 7 to 8 cm before you cut it for the first time.

If the grass has reached this height in the first place, it’s a good indication that it’s growing well and can be cut safely without issues.

Depending upon whether your lawn is turf or a newly seeded lawn, below are some further checks you should consider before you cut new grass.

Factors To Consider Before The First Cut


1. Observing Growth Patterns

While height is a key indicator for determining when to cut new grass, it’s also important to consider the overall growth patterns. Therefore, you should look for signs of healthy growth, such as uniform colour, dense coverage and strong root development. If the grass appears weak or sparse, you’ll want to avoid mowing as it may not have fully established itself.

2. Soil Stability & Firmness

Before mowing your new grass, it’s important to assess the stability and firmness of the soil. Newly laid turf or recently seeded lawns may still have loosely compacted soil, which can be easily disturbed by the weight of a lawnmower.

3. Monitoring Weather Conditions

Weather conditions play a significant role in determining the right time to cut new grass. For example, you’ll want to avoid mowing when the ground is wet or frosty because this can lead to soil compaction and damage to the delicate grass.

Additionally, it’s best to avoid mowing during extremely hot periods because the stress on the grass combined with the heat can hamper its recovery and growth. Ideally, the best weather conditions to cut new grass would be a typically mild and dry day with temperatures ranging from 14 to 24 degrees.

4. Weed Growth & Control

Before mowing your new grass, assess the presence of weeds. It’s generally recommended to wait until the new grass has established and developed a strong root system before using herbicides or weed killers. Therefore, if you spot any weeds, manually pull them out of the new grass whilst it’s still in the establishment phase.

5. Preparing Your Lawnmower

During mid-spring and the summer, your grass will probably be ready to cut as long as it reaches 5 to 6 cm in height. However, if it’s the first cut, you’ll want to sharpen your lawnmower blades beforehand.

If your lawnmower has blunt blades, you risk ripping the grass rather than slicing it. If you have a newly seeded lawn, the sharpness of the blades is even more crucial because the roots won’t be as strong, and they can be easily ripped out.

Cutting New Turf

Before cutting new turf, you should always tug on the grass to ensure it’s bedded in place and doesn’t lift. If it doesn’t lift, you can then aim to cut around 20% off the height of the grass, which will normally bring it down to around 3 to 4 centimetres in height. To do this, you’ll have to put your lawnmower in a high setting. Once you have finished mowing, remove the clippings and water the turf with a hose or garden sprinkler.

Cutting A Newly Seeded Lawn

Unlike turf, a seed needs to grow more shoots from the base and thicken before the first cut. Depending upon the blend of grass seed you have used will determine how fast it grows. However, most begin to spout after 10 days and are ready to cut from 20 to 30 days when it reaches 7 to 8 cm in height.

As with turf, you want to aim to cut around 20% off the height from the first cut to bring the height down to around 5 cm. This will often result in using the highest setting on your lawnmower, but you can begin to lower this the next time you cut the lawn. After the first cut, you’ll also want to remove clippings and water the lawn to promote healthy growth.

Our Top Tips For Successfully Cutting New Grass

  • The first cut shouldn’t reduce the height by more than 20% (at the maximum)
  • Mow your lawn often, but take a little off for the best results
  • Keep your lawnmower blades sharp
  • Avoid mowing when it’s wet, frosty or very hot
  • Change your mowing direction each time you mow the new grass
  • Manually pull any weeds out of your new grass and avoid using powerful chemicals
  • Be patient and allow the grass to establish itself before cutting it for the first time
Cut New Grass

Archie Rich/DIY Works

Ongoing Lawn Maintenance

Once you’ve made the first cut, continuing proper lawn maintenance is important to encourage healthy growth.

Ideally, you’ll want to mow the grass regularly but only remove a small portion of the height with each mowing session. We would recommend that you aim to take off no more than one-third of the grass’s height.

Additionally, changing the mowing direction each time you cut the new grass will help prevent the grass from leaning in one direction and promote even growth.

After the grass has had a couple of months of establishment, fertilising the lawn can be very beneficial as it helps to strengthen the grass’s roots.

Conclusion

Although cutting your new grass short straightaway can be tempting, you’ll ruin all your hard work. If you have laid new turf, wait until it has reached at least 5 to 6 cm and tug at it beforehand. If it’s a freshly seeded lawn, wait until it’s slightly longer (7 to 8 cm) because the roots need to gain strength in the soil.

If you require further information regarding when you should cut new grass, feel free to contact us, and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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