How To Prepare Your Lawn For the First Cut

It may seem like an age since you were last able to get out into your garden. But with spring nearly here, it’ll soon be time to begin seriously thinking about your lawn’s first cut of the year. When it comes to the first cut, it isn’t as simple as just getting the lawnmower out of your shed. Instead, to ensure your lawn remains a luscious green there are a few steps that you need to take.

Preparing the Lawn:

Before carrying out the first cut of the year, we recommend preparing your lawn by removing any winter debris which may still be scattered across it. Removing such debris will prevent your lawnmower from becoming clogged, whilst it’ll also help to ensure you get a level cut.

Preparing Your Lawnmower:

It’ll have been a good few months since your lawnmower was last used, but this doesn’t mean it’s ready to get out of your shed and use straight away. Instead, there are a few steps we recommend you take to ensure your lawnmower is ready for action.

The most important part of your lawnmower to check is the blade. Blunt, chipped and damaged blades will cause the lawn to be cut unevenly. Damage to the blades is also likely to result in the grass being torn rather than cut, so it’s important to make sure your blades are in top condition.

Should the blades in your mower show any signs of damage, replacing them is relatively simple, as outlined in our “How to Replace the Metal Blades on a Flymo Compact 300” video below, whilst new lawnmower blades can be purchased for little outlay.

In addition to checking the condition of the blade on your mower, we also recommend checking the air filters aren’t blocked with any dried grass from the last cut. On petrol mowers we also recommend checking the spark plugs are in top condition and the oil levels are correct, as both of these components are vital in keeping your lawnmower running to its full potential.

You may also find with a petrol mower, that when you go to start it for the first time of the year it stutters to start. This is likely to be a result of petrol going off. If you’re facing this fault, our “How to Service and Restart a Petrol Lawnmower” article will explain how to fix the issue.

The First Cut:

With your lawn and mower prepared, it’s time for the first cut of the year and this is often the most important cut, so it’s vital you get it right.

Key to getting the first cut right is to make sure you do not go too low with your cut. Although close cut lawns look attractive, they increase the risk of grass turning yellow. Instead, we recommend setting your mower onto its highest setting, so you only take the top of the grass off.

As the season progresses, you should then be able to slowly lower the cuts on your mower to achieve the perfect close cut.

top-tipTop Tip: When cutting the grass throughout the year, take care not to always go for the shortest cut possible.

Continuously cutting the lawn short will increase the risk of your grass becoming susceptible to weeds and moss. By the same account, don’t just take the top of the grass off when cutting, as this increases the risk of the lawn suffering from loose and weak growth. Instead it’s important to find a happy medium.

Watch Out For:

Each time you cut your lawn, particularly during the first cut of the year, you need to keep an eye out for scalping. This happens when you cut your grass too short and expose the stems of the grass to the blades.

Whilst scalping can happen on purpose by setting your lawnmower onto its lowest setting, it can also happen accidentally. Some of the more common causes of accidental scalping include:

  • Lawnmower wheels digging into soft ground.
  • Turning the lawnmower too quickly at either end of the lawn.
  • An uneven lawn surface, such as hollows or bumps.

Scalping your lawn increases the risk of the grass suffering from weed growth, stress, insects and disease, leaving your lawn looking less than luscious.

By preparing your lawn, making sure your lawnmower is in top condition ahead of the cut, and following the advice above you’ll be on the right track to keeping your lawn looking at its best throughout the year.

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