Gardeners’ World: Monty Don’s ‘important’ grass cutting advice – ‘encourage lush regrowth’

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Gardening expert Monty Don has shared his top gardening tips for the month of August. In his most recent blog, he reveals the top things that avid gardeners should do this month, including cutting the lawn.

Keeping the lawn maintained throughout the year is important in encouraging regrowth.

However, it needs a lot of attention and if neglected, can lead to bald patches as well as becoming infested with weeds.

It should also be cut at certain times in the year, carried out mainly between March and October.

In the blog for August, Monty recommended cutting areas of long grass.

He said: “If you have areas of long grass – especially if they are planted with bulbs like daffodils or crocus, they should have been left uncut to at least the beginning of last month to allow flowers to set seed and bulb foliage to die back.

“But August is a good month to cut a flowering meadow as short as possible.

“The aim is to expose areas of bare soil so that fallen flower seeds can make contact and germinate.

“This might mean hiring a powerful cutter or using a trimmer – although a scythe does the job as well as anything.

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“Once the grass is cut it should all be raked up and put onto the compost heap (making sure that it is thoroughly dampened with a hose unless it is a very small amount.

“It is important to remove all cut grass as otherwise it feeds the soil as it decomposes and this will encourage lush regrowth at the expense of the wild flowers and bulbs.

“However, as long as the grass cuttings are collected, it may be kept mown short right up until winter.”

According to the expert, keeping the lawn short helps “transform meadows” as well as being an “essential part of encouraging wild flowers”.

The Royal Horticultural Society explained: “On average for a conventional lawn, mow twice weekly, dropping to once a week or longer during periods of drought.

“Flower-rich lawns can be mown every four to six weeks.

“Long grassed lawns are best cut once or twice in the summer, usually not before June.”

Ways to keep the lawn healthy include weed eradication, feeding the lawn as well as watering it. 

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Monty also explained that “it is now safe to trim hedges in the knowledge that the vast majority of nesting birds have fledged”.

He added: “Summer pruning results in slower, less vigorous regrowth than a winter trim so clip hedges to the height and shape that you wish them to remain for the rest of the year.

“Start with the sides, making sure that you have a slight ‘batter’ or outward slope from the top to the bottom.

“This ensures that the lower section is not shaded by the top growth – which is always more bushy as it gets more light – and the hedge remains fully ‘furnished’ right down to the ground.

“Finally, cut the top, using a string strung between canes as a guide. Deciduous hedge trimmers can be mown and added to the compost heap and evergreen ones taken to the council green waste.”

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