Ah mowing, whether you see it as a nuisance or as a nice stress relief, it is something that needs to be done to help the overall look of your garden. Do it right and you’ll definitely be happy with your work, do it wrong and you’ve probably got a lot of work to follow.
What type of mower should I go for?
Go for a mower that is physically a good fit for your lawn. You do not want to be struggling while trying to mow because your machine is too bulky or heavy. Nor do you want one which is so small that it takes an age to get the job done.
Next, we need to consider the type of mower which is best for you and the kind of lawn you are seeking. Cylinder mowers work by a scissor action as they roll along, where the grass is sliced between a horizontal, rotating cylinder of curved blades and a permanently fixed, straight blade. Cylinder mowers can be very finely adjusted for the height of their cut, so they are perfect for lawns where a fine finish is required. This makes them ideal for bowling and golf greens.
Rotary mowers, on the other hand, are simpler in that a (generally) flat blade is spun, face-down, directly onto the grass. All the cutting components are contained within a shrouded housing, so there is much less opportunity for mishap or injury. Rotary mowers are less sensitive and more rugged, which means they take all manner of garden debris like twigs and weeds in their stride. Cylinder mowers can be prone to stopping dead if such debris gets lodged between their blades.
Overall then, if you are looking to achieve those sports ground stripes, you will need a mower with a roller drive (a roller attached to the back). A fine lawn will benefit more from a cylinder mower and if you’re looking for an all-rounder then a rotary mower is best. If you like to be super techy then why not go for a robotic mower, which will quietly go about the business of keeping your lawn clipped while you put your feet up and relax.
Should I collect my grass clippings?
Here’s a subject which divides opinion: whether to collect the clippings in the mower’s box or to leave the box off and allow the clippings to mulch down on the lawn. Those clippings contain mostly water and nutrients, so could be a valuable source of both to your lawn. However, they will mat down rather than breaking down and prevent the important flow of air to your lawn.
It is especially important if your lawn is diseased or patchy, to collect all the clippings and bag them to prevent further spread of the disease.
How often should I mow?
This does vary depending on the time of year, but generally we would say mow a minimum of once a week. During the growing season, however, you may want to ramp that up to twice a week! The best way to think about this is if your lawn looks like it needs mowing then you have left it too late!
Mowing can cause stress on the grass so the aim is to mow regularly and remove a few clippings with a sharp mower as this will create less of a shock to the plant which can stunt plant growth or even damage the leaf.