Such a basic task and yet so many get it wrong – often due to budget and/or ignorance.
At a time when the vigour and density of the grass cover is being encouraged in preparation for the winter season ahead, getting it wrong can lead to a major setback. After the unprecedented rains, grass is growing rapidly and the main failing is to bring down the height too much in a single cut. With the present temperatures this can lead to disaster. The shock can result in severe set-back to the cover – possibly losing cover in parts.
The choice of mower is not as important as the frequency that mowing is undertaken and the need to alter the direction of mowing regularly. The general tendency is to mow weekly or two-weekly. With rapid growth after rains or fertilisation, mowing weekly is just not enough. A single mowing should not remove more than one third of the height of the grass plant and if this is ensured there should not be significant cuttings left after the operation. Generating surplus grass cuttings on the surface can promote fungal disease and die-back leaving troublesome bare patches. Allowing excess cuttings to accumulate and be dispersed by mowing only builds up the organic matter in the surface increasing surface drainage problems and restricting healthy growth.
The cutting height desired varies for different sports. The preferable height for football is now between 25mm and 35mm – the same as desired for cricket. Height for rugby is nearer 40mm to 50mm instead of earlier preferences of 75mm. However, at this time with possibly six weeks of hot weather to come it is wise to raise the height of the cut to overcome the stress arising out of the high temperatures.