Twice a Week

Garden Clippings for August 25, 2018

Twice a week.  We’ve had to cut the lawn twice a week lately, and the grass shows no signs of slowing down.  That’s in sharp contrast to July when running the mower was a dusty, futile effort.

After July’s dry spell when our lawn was dormant, the grass has come back with a vengeance, growing just as quickly as when it came out of winter’s dormancy.  Our John Deere rider with its 54-inch cutting deck is getting a workout because it needs to cut off the new growth as well as deal with the previous grass clippings which I refuse to rake up and haul away.

Bagging up grass clippings is one of groundskeeper’s worst sins.  Fresh cut trimmings are best left on the lawn where they will break down and provide free fertilizer that the lawn will use over and over again.

Every homeowner has at one time or another let their grass grow too long.  Cheryl and I have done it twice in recent years.  The first time the mower was at the repair shop waiting for parts, and a few weeks ago we were on a two-week vacation.  As soon as we got home we tackled the grass, but the lawn looked dreadful with clumps of freshly cut grass everywhere.

Looking back, the sensible thing would have been to hire someone to cut the grass while we were unable to do it.  But that’s easier said than done, because lawn service companies are busy, and they would rather serve their contract customers rather than helping someone who is in a pinch.

The good news is that the lawn is already looking better.  We’ve diligently cut it every three or four days and the clippings are breaking down into smaller pieces after each cut.  The cutting pattern and direction have been changed each time.

Cutting the grass twice a week sounds simple enough, but our rural property is big and requires 2 ½ hours to get the job done, even with the riding mower.

Grass blades are made up of mostly water.  As soon as they are cut, they begin drying and will dry more quickly in hot, sunny, windy weather.  Cutting the trimmings a second and third time will shred them to pieces.  Experts say that most grass clippings are broken down and recycled back into the lawn within 3 to 4 weeks after cutting.

What’s a homeowner to do if the grass has been left far too long and has reached heights of a foot or more?  if the lawn is not too big, consider cutting with a weed trimmer.  Alternatively, hire someone with a commercial mower.  These machines are much more powerful than a traditional mower and will get the job done.  Expect to pay a few dollars and don’t expect an instant perfect lawn.  You will need to cut the grass three or four times in order to achieve a fie textured, lush green lawn.