With Spring well and truly here, we have been thrown back into the weekly lawn mowing regime here at Chartwell recently. Grass becomes dormant over Winter and so doesn’t need cutting, but with the advent of Springtime sun and moisture, the individual grass blades begin to grow again. Because grass plants have their growing point at the base of the plant and not at the growing tips like so many ornamental plants, they can be cut down repeatedly without damage. In fact, regular lawn mowing helps to stimulate a thick healthy sward that looks lush and green. However, it is best to take off small amounts quite often, rather than large amounts less frequently as this will put the grass under stress. At this time of year, early in the season, we aim to keep the grass cut to approximately 6 cm in length, but this might decrease to as low as 2 or 3 cm during the height of Summer.
Today I was tasked with mowing the Rose Garden and the Old Croquet Lawn, as seen in the pictures above. For these and also for our other more formal areas, such as the front of the house, we use petrol-driven pedestrian roller mowers. These give the striping effect you can see above. However, if we wanted an even finer cut, or an even more formal appearance, we might use a cylinder mower instead perhaps. But as Chartwell is intended to be viewed as an informal family garden, the roller mowers are perfectly suitable for us. The grass clippings are collected and added to our composts heaps down in the yard. If the grass clippings were left on the lawns they would over time create a thick layer of thatch that would restrict water and nutrient movement down into the soil as well as creating conditions that fungal diseases thrive in.
For our larger areas of turf, such as the Parkland or the Orchard, we use ride on mowers instead. We have a larger model with a wide front deck and a mid-size mid deck version too. These obviously allow us to cut large areas of grass reasonably quickly but they don’t have rollers and so don’t give any striping or fine cut appearance. We’ll try not to run you over with them the next time you come and visit us!