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. 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.
When should you 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 seed 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 applying herbicides or using 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 its reached 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 run the risk of 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 attempting to cut new turf, you should always tug on the grass to ensure it’s bedded in place and that it 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 little off for the best results
- Keep your lawnmower blades sharp
- Avoid mowing when its 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
Ongoing Lawn Maintenance
Once you’ve made the first cut, it’s important to continue proper lawn maintenance 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 to prevent the grass from leaning in one direction and it’ll also promote even growth too.
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.
Although it can be tempting to cut your new grass short straightaway, you’ll honestly be ruining all your hard work. If you have laid new turf, wait until it has reached at least 5 to 6 cm and give it a tug 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 with regards to when you should cut new grass, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.