No matter whether we've moved into a new home with an overgrown lawn, or we've been unable to keep up with our lawn care due to the busy lifestyles that so many of us lead these days, occasionally our lawns can get out of control and overgrown.
Mowing an overgrown lawn and restoring it to a manageable height can lead to problems including severe damage from scalping and even the death of the lawn in many areas.
Restoring an overgrown lawn to a pleasing carpet of green doesn't require any extra effort apart from a little planning and understanding before we undertake this lawn transformation.
All lawns and all other plants develop and grow from a part of the plant called a crown. If the crown of a plant or lawn is removed, then that part of the lawn or plant will die.
The crowns of lawns are vitally important and when they are found inside a lawn - there are literally thousands or millions of crowns which live inside the thatch layer of the lawn.
As a lawn increases in height, the thatch layer increases in height, and the crowns of the lawn also rise higher.
If the lawn is mowed to a low level while in this state, then the lawn mowing will remove these crowns and severely damage or kill most lawn types in the process.
Some lawn types such as Couch grass will be far more resilient to this process, partly because it is a highly aggressive grass species, but most importantly because it has underground runners to regenerate from. Other lawn varieties which do not have these rhizomes will not fare as well. Regardless of the lawn type, full care should be taken whenever lowering lawn mowing heights
Mowing and reducing the height of an overgrown lawn can be done very safely and without ever damaging the lawn, scalping it, or killing it in areas.
To do this, the lawn will need to be mowed in stages to slowly reduce the mowing height over a couple of months.
The first cut should be mowed at a very high height. Over subsequent cuts, the lawn mowing height is gradually reduced until the desired height is achieved. The entire process may take around 2 - 3 months to complete.
As mowing heights are reduced, the crowns of the lawn will naturally begin to grow lower inside the thatch layer where it is cooler and shaded.
If at any time the lawn begins to look brown and scalped after lawn mowing, then any further height reduction should be stopped until the lawn greens up and repairs itself again. Once the lawn has restored to health, then gradual height reductions can be resumed.
Regular lawn mowing is the other key to success when safely lowering lawn mowing heights. While undergoing the process of reducing the lawn height, lawn mowing should be undertaken as regularly as possible and within reason. This generally mean mowing every 1 - 2 weeks in Summer and every 2 - 3 weeks in Autumn and Spring.
All lawn repair, including reductions in mowing heights should not be done in Winter as the lawn is in semi dormancy and cannot adapt nor readily repair itself while undergoing any type of repair work.
Of course, once the lawn has been safely reduced in height, the lawn should always be mowed regularly to stay green and healthy all year round.