These Mistakes Cause Lasting Damage To The Lawn

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 07:29 pm

For a lush green lawn, proper mowing is the be-all and end-all. How often should you mow your lawn, when is the right time and how short should the grass be cut? If you make mistakes, you risk bald spots, clover and moss.

Regular mowing is important for a healthy lawn. How often you should mow depends on the weather and grass growth. A healthy lawn usually needs a weekly cut in early summer. However, if the grass is too long, the lower part of the blades can dry out quickly. The damage becomes visible after mowing at the latest, when the green upper part is cut off and only the dry lower area remains.

These Mistakes Cause Lasting Damage To The Lawn

However, when setting the cutting height, do not be confused by the indications on the lawn mower. On some models, it is not the centimeters that can be adjusted, but only steps. If you are not sure, you should test and measure in a shady corner.

These mistakes do lasting damage to the lawn


For a lush green lawn, proper mowing is key. How often should you mow your lawn, when is the right time and how short should the grass be cut? If you make mistakes, you risk bald spots, clover and moss
Regular mowing is important for a healthy lawn. How often you should mow depends on the weather and grass growth. A healthy lawn usually needs a weekly cut in early summer. However, if the grass is too long, the lower part of the blades can dry out quickly. The damage becomes visible after mowing at the latest, when the green upper part is cut off and only the dry lower area remai

However, when setting the cutting height, do not be confused by the indications on the lawn mower. On some models, it is not the centimeters that can be adjusted, but only steps. If you are not sure, you should test and measure in a shady corner.


Five factors in particular cause problems for lawns:

  • The length of the grass blades.
  • The wrong length of cut.
  • The grass clippings left after mowing.
  • The wrong timing of mowing.
  • Errors in reseeding.

Maintaining a healthy lawn requires proper care and attention. Several common mistakes can lead to lasting damage to the lawn. Here are some of these mistakes to avoid:

  1. Overwatering: Excessive watering can lead to shallow root growth, making the grass more susceptible to drought and disease. It also promotes weed and moss growth. Instead, water deeply and infrequently, and adjust the watering schedule based on the weather and soil moisture.
  2. Underwatering: On the flip side, allowing the lawn to become too dry can cause it to turn brown and thin out. To avoid this, monitor the moisture levels and water when needed, especially during dry periods.
  3. Mowing Too Short: Cutting the grass too short can weaken the lawn, making it more susceptible to weeds, pests, and diseases. Most grass types thrive when mowed at a height of about 2.5 to 3 inches. Adjust the mower height accordingly.
  4. Mowing with Dull Blades: Mowing with dull blades can shred the grass blades, leaving them vulnerable to disease and discoloration. Sharpen the mower blades regularly to maintain a clean cut.
  5. Scalping: Scalping occurs when you cut the grass too low in a single mowing. This can stress the lawn and leave it more susceptible to weeds and diseases. Gradually lower the mowing height over time if you want to reduce grass height.
  6. Ignoring Soil Health: Neglecting the soil can lead to poor lawn health. Regular soil testing and proper fertilization are essential. Using the wrong type or amount of fertilizer can cause nutrient imbalances.
  7. Overfertilizing: While fertilizing is necessary for lawn health, overfertilizing can lead to excessive growth, thatch buildup, and nutrient runoff into water bodies. Follow a recommended fertilization schedule and use the correct amount of fertilizer.
  8. Compacting Soil: Soil compaction can restrict root growth and water infiltration. Avoid heavy traffic on the lawn, and consider aerating the soil periodically to relieve compaction.
  9. Ignoring pH Levels: Soil pH can affect nutrient availability. If the pH is too high or too low, it can hinder the lawn’s ability to absorb nutrients effectively. Test the soil pH and amend it if necessary.
  10. Not Dealing with Weeds Promptly: Allowing weeds to proliferate can lead to competition for nutrients, sunlight, and space, which can weaken the grass. Implement a weed control strategy to manage them effectively.
  11. Misusing Herbicides: Applying herbicides incorrectly or at the wrong time can damage the lawn. Follow label instructions and consider using organic or non-chemical alternatives when possible.
  12. Using Salt to Melt Snow: Salt and de-icing chemicals can harm the lawn when snow and ice melt runoff reaches the grass. Opt for alternative de-icing methods or protect the lawn from salt exposure.
  13. Lack of Aeration: Lawn aeration is vital for maintaining healthy soil structure. It improves air and water penetration, which benefits root growth and nutrient absorption.
  14. Neglecting Thatch Removal: Thatch buildup can block water and nutrients from reaching the soil. Regular dethatching can prevent this issue.
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Avoiding these common mistakes and following proper lawn care practices will help maintain a healthy and attractive lawn over the long term.

Therefore, to avoid brown spots and increased weeds in the lawn, the appropriate care is necessary.

Do not mow the lawn too short


Cutting the lawn too short will damage it – especially during dry periods. To better protect the lawn from drying out, it should not be cut too short when it has not rained for a long time. Ideally, the stalk length should be between three and four centimeters. If cut shorter, the roots exposed in the process can suffer. In addition, a very short cut lawn will burn easily and turn brown in strong sunlight. The sudden bare cut impairs the growth of the sensitive grasses or even causes them to die completely. In the resulting bare patches, weeds such as horn clover increasingly colonize. Unlike grass, it does not burn in high light, but thrives particularly well.

Tip


It is good to walk on the lawn as little as possible before and during mowing. This is because the blades are then bent over and could thus not be cut evenly if necessary.

Generally, about four centimeters is a good cutting length. For grassy areas that are in the shade, you can leave the grass a bit so that the blades get enough sun. However, shade lawns can be left to grow a little longer.

How often should you mow the lawn?


At the latest when the blades have doubled in length, you should reach for the lawn mower. When the grass is between seven and ten centimeters high, it’s time to mow. You should also mow the lawn when it forms buds or flowers.

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Rasen wird gemäht: Sind die Grashalme zu lang, so kann ihr unterer Teil schnell austrocknen. Achten Sie daher auf einen regelmäßigen Rasenschnitt. (Quelle: Getty Images/gece33)

Which lawn mower is best?


When it comes to lawn mowers, the quality of the cutting blades is essential for the health of the lawn. In addition, if possible, the machine should not be too heavy. The weight pushes the blades down, so some of them can not be shortened well. Electric lawn mowers, cordless lawn mowers and robotic mowers are best. They are easy to handle, but only suitable for small gardens. Gasoline lawn mowers and tractors, for example, can lose gasoline, which damages the lawn. By the way, lawn mowing is particularly gentle on the lawn with the reel lawn mower. Read more about the best lawn mowers for every type of garden here.

Can the blades of grass be left lying?

Those who mow more frequently or use a mulching lawn mower can save on the catcher bag and simply leave the cut grass clippings lying around. The grass clippings can even partially improve the humus balance and promote the crumb structure of the soil. However, this only works with short grass clippings. Consequently, it must be mowed more frequently – a robotic mower can make the job easier. The clippings can also still provide valuable services in the bed during hot weather – as mulch. Longer, cut blades of grass must be removed, however, otherwise the lawn will suffocate.

The right time to mow


You should not mow when it is wet, as the blades will be cut unevenly. In addition, the lawn mower is more difficult to clean when the grass is wet.

Mowing the lawn is also not recommended when temperatures are above 30 degrees. The soil dries out too quickly. A good time to mow is late afternoon. In the morning, the grass is usually still too moist, and at noon the cut blades would burn too easily.

The optimal temperature for the lawn


Lawn seeds need 14 to 25 degrees to grow quickly. Rake them into the surface so that the seeds are about half an inch to an inch deep in the soil. You can then press them down with a roller or boards at your feet.

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The germinating seeds and growing plantlets need adequate moisture. In dry conditions, you should give one to three liters of watering per square meter several times a day. Only after root formation, you can extend the intervals to two or three times a week. Then the plants get five to ten liters of water per square meter.

Do you have to mow the lawn?


Not every garden owner finds lawns beautiful. Alternatively, you can plant ground covers such as pinna, star moss or sand thyme.

Another alternative is a Japanese garden or Zen garden. Here stones and moss are an important design element. The disadvantage of this is that this garden design is less bird and insect friendly. In some regions, moreover, the rock garden or Japanese garden – at least as a front garden – is not permitted. Whether this ban should apply nationwide has been discussed several times.

What do I have to consider when mowing sod?

Turf should be mowed every six to eight days. If it has just been laid, it is best to wait about nine days before shortening it, or until the blades are about five centimeters long. This is an indication that the lawn has been able to root sufficiently. Alternatively, you can pull on the blades at one corner of the sod to check if it has already grown. In addition, all the sod should be closed.

If the surface feels slightly spongy, this may be the result of a fungal infection. Too much moisture can cause the pests to accumulate and spread under the turf panels. If this is the case, you should not mow the lawn but treat it first. Otherwise, by mowing, you spread the fungal spores over the entire area.

If your turf is doing well, you can shorten it to 4.5 centimeters (play turf) or six centimeters (shade turf). The last time of the year you should mow your turf is in autumn, after the first frost.

Author

  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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