Want the best lawn in the street? Well thanks very much, you taken the first step and you’ve commissioned me to provide the blue-print and service to achieve exactly that.
Years ago I used to see myself as the magician, I had the attitude that I could come into almost any situation and cast a spell, mix a potion and abracadabra, result achieved. Through almost 30 years of experience I have come to realise that I need help, I need co-operation from you, the client.
What kind of help you ask?
Well perhaps the biggest help anyone can give me is cutting. Frequency of cut and quality of cut. Frequency is a bit moveable, we see golf courses, tennis courts and other high demand ball roll sport surfaces being cut multiple times per week. Multiple cuts per week on a domestic lawn really isn’t practical in the vast majority of cases. My preference on a couch lawn in the warm season is weekly cutting with a cylinder mower. In my experience these weekly cut surfaces perform the best. If you have a lawnmowing contractor you will find their preferred frequency Oct-April will be fortnightly and getting out to 3-4 weekly through the coolest months. Never, under any circumstances assume in mid-Winter that your lawn just isn’t growing so doesn’t need a cut, it needs cutting even if cut yield is down 60—75%.
The two types of mowers we see on the market have vastly different applications. If you have a couch lawn, no doubt you need a regularly serviced and sharpened Cylinder mower. Either own one or use a reputable contractor that will keep to regular cutting intervals. It’s the cutting type (that horizontal scissor type action) and the weight of the unit that enables the cutting sole plate to sit down in the cutting zone giving that accurate height of cut (anything from 5-20mm)
The rotary mowers can give you a quality cut but best not to expect that tight golf fairway appearance from a rotary cut couch grass. Experience shows me that after a couple of years of rotary mowing a couch surface will result in the surface getting higher and softer, resulting in straight after cut scalping and the removal of all leaf structure resulting in a few days wait after mowing for your lawn “to look good again”. A Buffalo surface will cope with long term rotary mowing much better than a couch surface, remember to always remove the clippings via catcher. Yes, you can mow a Buffalo type lawn with a Cylinder mower, achieving much lower heights than you would with a rotary, but the key here is regular cutting (weekly/fortnightly) in the warmer months. Never go from a weekly or fortnightly cut to a month or two interval and cut at that week or fortnight height. If you have an explosion of growth in a longer cut interval, cutting at that lower height will result in too much leaf removal, leaving stems and stolons exposed to either heat, wind or cold. A good practise is to increase mowing heights in the coolest (May-Sept) months in an effort to help the plant with leaf surface area, helping photo-synthesis and energy production. An increase in mowing height on both surfaces of around 20-30% is a good rule of thumb.
Your lawn should be at its absolute best straight after a cut and there should be no grow in period for it to settle again straight after a cut. This is achieved via the scissor cutting action of a cylinder blade making a non-tearing, razor sharp cut in the leaf blade. Alternatively, the cutting action of the rotary mower is all about brutality, with the cutting blades spinning with such velocity that the blade slices or (on a blunt blade) smashes through the upward standing grass leaf at a right angle. As the blade edge wears down, the quality and slice into the leaf blade deteriorates, the cut is more about ripping than slicing, this results in split and torn leaf blades, ripping young leaf blades away from stems and ligules before they get the chance to form proper a surface.
So, in summing up, get the cutting routine right, use the right mower for your lawn type, use the right method, and cut enough for that time of year. Think of cutting as your grass going to the gym, it’s staying fit and healthy ready to take on the elements- heat, wear and drought stress – and ready to appreciate and benefit from the products that The Lawncare Man applies at either each of the pre-programmed visits or even a one-off booking.