Warm weather brings out the lawn mowers so the buzz of local lawn mowers can be heard across most neighbourhoods on any weekend in spring and summer. For most of us there is nothing more delightful than the smell of freshly mown grass although hay-fever suffers may not agree.

The variety of grass in your garden affects the way it is mown. Other factors include time of the year, how often you want to mow, climatic and local weather conditions, mower blade height (which equates to grass length after mowing) and the level of maintenance you want to achieve.

Follow our general seasonal mowing tips as part of your annual lawn maintenance regime. For more specific information, check with your local hardware, garden centre or lawn centre for local information.

Lawn mower maintenance

If the lawn mower has been in the shed over winter, spring is the time to do some lawn mower maintenance to get it ready for its workout during spring and summer. For a thorough check-up, take it to the local lawn mower specialist in your area.

  • Safety first: ensure the lawn mower is turned off before starting any maintenance.
  • Start by removing any debris including grass in the catcher, then give it a good clean using rags and a soft bristle brush.
  • Apply a lubricant such as WD-40 to moving parts including wheels, throttle cable and height adjuster.
  • Check mower blades (are they sharp or blunt and damaged) and replace if needed. Blunt or damaged blades give a bad cut.
  • Check the spark plug, air filter and oil. Replace if necessary.
  • Drain any old fuel left in the mower and replace with fresh. Make sure you use the correct fuel for your mower.

Understand mowing

The general rule of thumb with mowing is never to remove more than a third of the leaf blade in any one mow. Taking more than this stresses the lawn and its root system. Mowing about every five days through summer for warm season grasses such as Buffalo, Couch and Kikuyu is a reasonable guide to frequency, but you may want to cut even more frequently to give the grass a smooth, velvet effect. Cool season varieties such as perennial rye and fescue also benefit from regular light mowing especially during spring.

If you don’t have the time and need to mow less often than the recommended frequency the lawn will survive but you may not create that lush, smooth velvet effect of a well-maintained lawn. As well, regular light mowing encourages thicker, healthier lawn and reduces the chance of weed growth. It looks better than infrequent hacking of overgrown lawn and is mowing is easier when it is done more frequently.

Mowing height is very important too. Fine leaf grasses such as Couch and Zoysia can be mown more closely (that is with lower blades) and more often than broader leaf grasses such as Buffalo and Kikuyu. All varieties should be longer in late autumn and winter at about double the length and height than in spring and summer.

 Ideal lawn lengths

  • Couch and zoysia 15mm in summer, 30mm in winter.
  • Buffalo and kikuyu 30-40mm in summer, 50-60mm in winter.
  • Double the measurement for lawns growing in shade.
  • Start raising the blades mid to late autumn for a longer cut.
  • Longer leaf lawns enable better photosynthesis and help reduce weed germination.

Spring mowing

In early spring give lawn mowers a maintenance check. Do it yourself  and  follow our simple tips above or take the mower to your local specialist to be serviced.

As lawn growth is still slow, it is important to mow higher and less frequently to prevent damage that can result in scalping and browning. If you have had the catcher on over winter, now is a great time to remove it to allow grass clippings to breakdown, which returns nutrients to the soil.

Let the grass grow longer and mow every two to three weeks over early spring. As the lawn growth starts to take off, shorten the time between mowing.

In early spring do not cut the grass any lower than around 25mm or so depending on the variety. As the weather warms up, slowly lower the mower blades to shorten the length of the cut grass but, if the lawn is heat or water stressed, allow it to stay longer.

As the lawn slowly starts to take off, usually after rain in mid spring, give it a boost with Seasol for Lush Green Lawns or Seasol for Buffalo Lawns. These fast-acting liquids go to work immediately to help you cultivate the best lawn in the street.

Summer mowing

The growth of many lawn varieties starts to slow as the temperature and heat rises, especially if there’s a lack of rain or water restrictions have been imposed. Leave the lawn longer after each mow to protect and cool its roots and the soil by raising the cutting height of the mower. Mow in the cool of the day (early morning or late in the afternoon) to reduce stress. After mowing apply Seasol hose-on to strengthen leaf blades to reduce stress from heat and drought.

Autumn mowing

Growth in warm season lawn varieties starts to slow as the temperature decreases and day length is shorter. Allow the lawn to put on a little growth by raising the mower blades so it isn’t cut short. Leaving lawns with a longer leaf blade helps photosynthesis to occur so the lawn can store energy for winter. It also reduces weed germination. After mowing apply Seasol hose-on to strengthen leaf blades to reduce stress from heat and drought. Apply it early morning so the grass has time to dry before the onset of a cool night. For more details check out our video “How to Care for Lawns – Mowing & maintenance”.

Winter mowing

If the lawn is dormant over winter it may only be necessary to mow two to three times during this season. Unless you have a mulching mower, use the catcher rather than leaving cut grass on the lawn, as it may be slow to breakdown, which could lead to fungal problems. It is also a good idea to rake up fallen leaves to allow air and sunshine on the grass and to trim back any overhanging branches that maybe keeping light from the lawn. For more details check out our video “How to Care for Lawns – Mowing & maintenance”.