Watering Your Garden: 10 Top Tips!

We all know that we need to water our gardens. But how much is too much? And how much is too little?

When is the best time to water? How much water do your plants need? And how often should you water your lawn? It’s all questions, questions, questions, isn’t it!

Luckily, this blog provides the answers to everything you’ll ever need to know about watering your plants. And if you still have a burning question at the end, just get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help.

Because, just like humans, plants need nourishment from the sky and the ground to survive and thrive.

Here are our ten expert watering tips for a beautiful garden.

Tip 1: Identify your soil type

First things first: your soil. Do you understand the water retention properties of the earth in your garden?

Don’t worry – you don’t need a degree in agriculture to identify your soil type – you just need a handful of soil to squeeze.

Yes: squeeze. Water it first, then grab a handful, and squeeze.

Once you’ve squeezed a handful of soil in the palm of your hand, you’ll know (in no uncertain terms) what type of soil you have:

  • if the soil clumps firmly together in a lump, you have a heavy clay soil
  • if the earth falls apart and holds little form, you have a light, sandy soil

Heavy clay soil retains water well (but can quickly become waterlogged). Sandy soil retains moisture poorly (and dries out much more rapidly than clay).

If you have sandy soil, you’ll need to water more regularly. If you have clay soil, you should leave it longer between watering.

For more details about soil conditions, check out our article: How To Improve Your Lawn in a Shaded Garden.

Tip 2: Develop a sprinkling strategy

Water sprinkler in action

You can water your garden by hand, of course. It can be calming and satisfying to sprinkle water using a can, but it’s also time-consuming if you have a large garden. And if you’re watering your lawn, it takes forever with a can.

The most time-effective method of watering, by far, is using a sprinkler or soaker hose system (see Tip 8)..

But before you just set your sprinkler to sprinkle every day, there are some things to consider.

In the wild, very few British plants can expect water every day. Sure, we all moan about the British weather and complain that it rains too much – but, on average, it rains 1-in-3 days in the UK.

If you water your plants every day, their root systems become lazy. Plants are only as healthy as their roots – overwatering encourages roots to spread little and remain shallow in the soil. We want our roots deep into the ground, helping the plant develop greater drought resistance, while absorbing the nutrients to be found in the deeper earth.

So, develop a watering strategy. For a lawn:

Check the weather forecast and make sure there’s no rain ahead.
Water once or twice a week – about 2.5 cm of water, causing the water to penetrate more deeply into the soil. This will make the roots search deeper for water.

Deeper roots keep your lawn greener for longer, even during drought and when hose pipes are banned!

Tip 3: water in the morning

Believe it or not, the time of day you choose to water is significant.

The best time to water is in the morning – but this advice comes with caveats: you don’t want the leaves of whichever plant you are watering to be wet while the sun is at its hottest because it will scorch the leaves.

So, early morning is best when the sun is still low in the sky.

As well as scorching the leaves, full sun will cause the surface water to evaporate (see Tip 8).

If you leave watering until the evening, there’s a higher chance that you’ll encourage mould and vermin – the surface of the soil remains wet and cold all night, and this is the perfect environment for mould.

Saving tip 4: Save rainwater

We might think that running the tap is free, but you’ll quickly discover how expensive it can be to water your plants if you’re on a water meter.

Rainwater, on the other hand, IS free and usually in reasonably plentiful supply in the UK.

Rainwater is rich in minerals and doesn’t contain lime (like tap water), making the water quality soft and perfect for your plants. Additionally, the temperature of rainwater is less likely to shock your plants (it’s more likely to be closer to the air temperature).

Saving tip 5: Collect water in a water butt

We tend to think of drought as the product of a long, hot summer, but drought can occur at any time of year. A drought is a period of unusually low rainfall, but it can also be caused by heavy demand for water supplies.

So, wherever possible, it’s always best to collect rainfall in a water butt. There’s a range of styles and sizes of rainwater harvesting systems, but the simplest are really affordable.

Just think of the savings against your water bill.

Simply attach your water butt to a downspout from your roof guttering, and it will collect rainfall for later use. Keep a lid on the butt to keep the water clean.

Find out everything you need to know about collecting rainwater here.

Saving tip 6: Design your garden smartly

Believe it or not, but the placement of your plants affects how much you need to water them. You can save water by considering how much direct sunlight your garden receives.

Most gardens have sunny spots as well as shaded areas covered by overhanging trees or walls. Some plants are more naturally drought-tolerant than others – arrange your plants by the amount of water they need. Shrubs and bushes tend to be more drought-tolerant than smaller, single-stemmed plants.

So:

Place your drought-tolerant plants in the areas that get the most sunlight and your more thirsty plants in the less sunny spots.

Of course, most plants need lots of sun to thrive, so always read the plant’s label when you buy it from a garden centre (or the seed packet if you’re growing from seed)..

Saving tip 7: Mulch – covering your soil

Mulch around a new seedling

Mulching helps save water by minimising evaporation and suppressing moisture-stealing weeds. Mulch also improves the appearance of the soil around your plants.

A good layer of well-rotted mulch helps warm up the earth in the spring, retain moisture during the summer, and encourage greater water penetration in the winter.

You can cover your ground with biodegradable mulch, such as garden compost, leaf mould, well-rotted manure, straw, or wood chippings. These organic mulches contribute nutrients to the soil, but they’ll need regular topping up.

Non-biodegradable soil coverings such as slate, pebbles, gravel, or stone chippings can be a better longer-term mulch, but they don’t break down and provide nutrients. Any dark-coloured mulch will warm the soil up in the sun, whereas lighter-coloured mulch keeps the ground cool.

Alternatively, you can choose a sheet (or woven) mulch for longer-term coverage.

Saving tip 8: Use a Drip

A soaker (or drip) hose is a porous hosepipe, designed to leak. It ensures that whatever water you provide gets to the plant’s roots.

One of the problems with watering from a can (or a traditional hosepipe) is that the water doesn’t always penetrate deeply into the soil before the sun evaporates it. And some plants (like courgettes) dislike getting their leaves wet, so a soaker hose is an ideal solution and uses 70% less water than traditional watering, providing continuous watering at a slow dripping rate.

Connect your soaker hose to the garden tap or your water butt.
Keep the water pressure low (use a regulator if you’re unsure).
Make sure the water butt is suitably elevated so that there’s enough water pressure!

A drip hose prevents overwatering and makes excellent use of your water butt.

Summer tip 9: Prevent Legionella

Always drain residual water from your garden hose, especially during the summer months.

If you leave your garden hose in full sun, the water that sits in the pipe heats up, creating the perfect environment for the Legionella bacteria to develop.

You probably know that Legionella (more commonly known as Legionnaires Disease) is a potentially life-threatening respiratory condition – effectively a severe form of pneumonia. If the water sitting in your hose is contaminated, you can inhale some of that bacteria while you spray.

Err on the side of caution: rinse your hose before use.
Remove the nozzle and hang the end into a bucket filled with water.
Leave the tap running for a couple of minutes with the end of the hose submerged in the bucket to prevent spray.

Winter tip 10: drain your garden hose

Man spraying water from a hose

You probably don’t use your hose during the winter months (unless you’re washing the car), so ensure that you drain it thoroughly before putting it away for the winter.

Any water that remains in the hose can freeze when the temperatures plummet.

We’ve probably all left a bottle of wine in the freezer before (or is that just me?). If you forget about it and the wine freezes completely, the liquid expands as it freezes and breaks the bottle. This can happen with your hosepipe.

So, drain your hose entirely so that you’re not rushing off to the DIY store in the spring.

Leave some comments!

There you are! 10 Tips on watering your garden.

Do you have more water tips? Leave them in the comments.

Thanks for reading. Happy watering, everyone.

Is Your Grass Type Right for your Garden?

If you want the perfect lawn, you need to choose the grass type for your garden. But all grass looks the same, right?

Wrong.

This article will help you identify the predominant grass species you have in your existing lawn. And we’ll explore which species is more likely to thrive in your garden based on climate and soil type.

So, get comfy. We’re about to learn all about grass species.

 

Identifying your hardiness zone

Now, we’re suddenly going all American for a moment, because we don’t tend to consider the UK to have different climate zones like they do in the US. In the United States, they have three principal climate zones for grass (or Plant Hardiness Zones):

Warm Season grasses grow better in the south
Cool Season grasses grow better in the north
And across the middle of the mainland, there’s the Transition Zone (where you choose between Warm and Cool grasses depending on your proximity).

The US is MUCH bigger geographically than the UK, of course, and we don’t really have the same degree of climate variation across our island. However, the north of the UK is noticeably cooler than the south (in both temperature and edginess!).

For the most part, our climate is most similar to the US Cool Season grass zone.

 

USDA Plant Hardiness

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) define the Warm/Transition/Cool zones and, although this is a North American standard, it has been largely adopted worldwide to help gardeners understand the land they cultivate.

The hardiness zones are defined by the ten-year average in weather conditions, so – in a country as meteorologically diverse as the UK, there’s a little more to it than a horizontal slice between the north and south.

What are the USDA Zones in the UK?

Depending on which source you use, the UK’s hardiness zones are defined as between 6 and 9, although The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) defines the entire UK as Zone 7.

However, we must remember that we’re an island – and coastal weather is different from inland.

Map of the UK's USDA hardiness zones

Here, you’ll see the weather climate zones, from 7 to 9 (with a few 10s on the coast of the Republic of Ireland). Our climate is defined by cool (but not fierce) winters and warm (but bearable) summers, with a frost-free season between early spring and late autumn.

Essentially, the lower the zone number, the lower the average temperature. These zones are used to identify how well any plant will withstand the colder temperatures during the winter.

So, take note of your zone as you read on. (If this all sounds a bit over-complicated, don’t worry: MOOWY offer seed mixes that proliferate throughout the UK, regardless of the zone. More about that later).

OK, all the geeky weather stuff out of the way; onto your existing lawn!

 

What type of grass do I have in my garden?

Most of us inherit a lawn. That’s not to say it gets left in someone’s will, of course – we just mean that you inherit a lawn when you move into a property. So, most of us don’t have a great deal of control over the TYPE of grass we currently have.

But this article is all about finding the correct type of grass for your garden, so if you’re dissatisfied with the quality of your grass, there’s a high chance that’s it’s not thriving because it doesn’t suit the conditions.

A rule of thumb for the best quality lawn: seed mixes are best because they have the most significant level of resistance and robustness.

Perennial Ryegrass

Most lawns in the UK are mainly perennial ryegrass, a hard-wearing species that can tolerate warm sun and minor drought conditions. It germinates quickly and handles the frosty snap of British winters.

However:

Ryegrass alone might become clumpy and patchy if you don’t look after it. And – after a while – these lawns begin to thin out and develop bald spots.

The principal features of perennial ryegrass are:

  • Perfect for cool-season regions – that’s mild winters (as in the UK) and warmish Summers.
  • Fast germination (so good for overseeding)
  • Withstands minor shady spots
  • Minimal maintenance (other than fertilising)
  • Tolerant to heavy use

Perennial ryegrass has poor disease resistance and is a slow spreader. Once damaged, it’s reluctant to bounce back, so a seed mix (like one of MOOWY’s mixes) will help to boost your lawn’s resistance.

What does it look like?

Perennial ryegrass, long and unmown

Perennial ryegrass thrives in USDA zones 2 to 8 and has medium- to dark leaves, with a fine-leafed texture. It grows densely and tends to maintain its good looks after heavy use.

To maintain the health of perennial ryegrass, it’s important to fertilise your soil regularly.

Red Fescue

Red fescue thrives in USDA zones 8-10, so it works well in warmer parts of the UK. With a deep root system, red fescue is particularly resistant to heavy use and drought conditions (once established).

Red fescue struggles with intense heat, but – unfortunately – we don’t get a lot of that in the UK. It goes brown and dormant in high temperatures or heavy humidity, but it will rebound once the conditions are more suitable.

Red fescue grows quickly and spreads well, and is remarkably tolerant of sandy soil.

The principal features of red fescue are:

  • Very deep roots, making it resistant to drought
  • Particularly pest-resistant
  • Copes well in moderate heat – perfect for warmer parts of the UK, particularly zones 8 onward

What does red fescue look like?

Red fescue with a single red poppy

Red fescue is characterised by its very fine blades and a deep, attractive emerald green colour. This species spreads quickly via rhizomes (underground stems) which helps the grass recover from damage.

Red fescue can be cut shorter than perennial ryegrass, so it is particularly recommended for ornamental lawns but is commonly found on golf courses and recreation fields.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Much like red fescue is not red, Kentucky Bluegrass is not blue. And despite its name, Kentucky Bluegrass is native to Europe and North Africa.

So, that’s confusing, isn’t it?

Kentucky Bluegrass (KBG) has what is described as a broad, “boat-shaped” leaf and has a rich, deep, dark green colour. It’s tolerant of heavy use and goes dormant during periods of drought. It turns dry and brown in the summer unless you water it.

This is your cooler climate grass type and does well in USDA zone 7, so it grows most vigorously during the spring and autumn. Because it favours moderate heat and can withstand British winters, KBG is particularly recommended for northerly UK climes.

Kentucky Bluegrass needs quite a high level of maintenance to keeps its healthy look.

What does it look like?

Well mown Kentucky Bluegrass lawn

The leaf is described as “boat-shaped” – however, think canoe rather than cross-channel ferry. It just means that the species is broad-leafed.

Kentucky Bluegrass is winter-hardy, but it’s not a fan of drought, so it will require watering during the summer to maintain its beautiful dark green colour.

So, what type of grass should I choose?

The Weather

Think about your weather first. Perhaps what characterises the British climate more than anything is its unpredictability.

But:

We could consider some cliches as rules of thumb:

  • The warmest part of the country is the South Coast.
  • The wettest part of the country is NOT Manchester, contrary to popular belief. Swansea and Plymouth are the wettest cities in the UK; Manchester is the 17th!
  • Coastal towns are windier than inland towns and cities.

Check your weather conditions here.

Your soil type

Soil types are different all around the country. In fact, soil conditions can change from street to street.

When you consider your soil, think about its density. Heavy clay holds onto water and doesn’t drain quickly. Sandy soils dry out very easily (regardless of the amount of local rain you experience).

Choose a grass type that tolerates drought well if you have sandy soil. If you have a heavy clay soil, think about giving it a hand with drainage. Find out how here.

Consider a grass seed mix

Ultimately, like a pedigree dog, mixing species offers greater resistance to disease (and drought). But never allow a dog to experience drought!

Seed mixes offer the best of all worlds, but getting the mix right for yourself can be tricky.

Luckily, you don’t really need to worry because you can get premium seed mixes from MOOWY. We’ve expertly blended grass species that accommodate the entire UK climate.

 

Power Lawn

MOOWY’s Power Lawn mix has a high percentage of perennial ryegrass (80%), mixed with red fescue to improve resistance. This seed mix is suitable for all UK climate zones and produces a Premier-League quality turf.

As the name suggests, Power Lawn grass seed proliferates and keeps going regardless of the pounding you might give it throughout the year. The 20% mix of red fescue provides hardiness to heavy use.

Premium Lawn

Our Premium Lawn grass seed is a high percentage mix of red fescue (75%), which tolerates shorter mowing. So, if it’s that classic, manicured look you’re hoping for, Premium Lawn is your mix of choice. The other 25% is a mix of perennial ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass, making this mix hardy and perfect for all UK climates and soil types.

Remember, red fescue does best in moderate heat, so if you’re in the hottest parts of the UK, it might get scorched. However, the mix with perennial ryegrass and KBG gives it more resistance, and it should cope in even the warmest regions.

Quick Repair

As the name suggests, MOOWY’s Quick Repair grass seed is especially recommended for overseeding and replenishing the bald spots that appear in high-percentage perennial ryegrass.

With an 80% mix of perennial ryegrass, Quick Repair germinates and establishes quickly. But it’s the 20% mix of red fescue that offers greater structure, density, and resistance to drought and disease.

Designed for overseeding, this seed mix does well in all UK climate zones. It’s also recommended for starting new lawns from scratch.

Shade & Sun

One of the big problems with many British gardens is the lack of sun we experience – or (perhaps, more precisely) the inconsistency of sunlight.

Even if your lawn is south-facing and open, sunshine often struggles to penetrate rain clouds, even during the summer.

So, Shade & Sun grass seed has been developed to thrive in both full sun and shaded areas.

The high percentage of red fescue gives this seed mix its shade tolerance, while the perennial ryegrass (40%) offers speedy growth and Kentucky Bluegrass (10%) provides structure and strength.

Again, this seed mix is perfect for all UK zones but does particularly well in cooler, northern climes.

Sport & Fun

Our Sport & Fun grass seed is a mix of perennial ryegrass (60%), red fescue (35%), and Kentucky Bluegrass (5%).

This is our most robust seed mix, offering the best all-round results regardless of soil type, climate, and region.

If your lawn experiences high levels of use, then consider Sport & Fun the perfectly balanced mix of grasses to maintain beauty, colour, and texture, regardless of the service it provides.

All Grasses Require Feeding

If you want a beautiful lawn, it doesn’t matter what type of seed you choose unless you commit to a regular feeding routine.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to sowing grass seed for the best results.

Keep a lookout for our expert’s guide to fertilising your lawn. Coming soon!

Get in touch

Hopefully, you feel better informed about your grass type, but if you have more questions, we’d be very happy to help.

If you have any questions, email us at hello@moowy.co.uk. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Harvesting and recycling rainwater to feed your lawn

Are you worried about the environmental impacts of watering your lawn? If you use a water meter, perhaps you’re concerned about the costs of pouring gallons of water onto your soil?

If you want a gorgeous, lush lawn, you need to water your grass. But prolonged periods of drought are becoming more frequent in the UK, and they often lead to hosepipe bans, forcing us to sacrifice our beautiful lawns for the good of the community.

But there is a way to get a lush, well-watered lawn all year round:

Rainwater recycling.

This blog is all about harvesting rainwater, exploring the pros and cons of this environmentally friendly way of keeping your lawn looking lush and green.

Without the existential guilt.

How to recycle rainwater

There are two main ways to harvest and recycle rainwater.

A water butt is the most inexpensive solution; essentially, a simple network of guttering that channels rainwater into a ground-level storage tank.

Water butts typically hold up to two hundred litres of rainwater. You just pour the collected water through a spout at the bottom of the tank and use this to water your garden.

A water butt will go some way to keeping your lawn lush, but it’s worth considering a Rainwater Harvesting System (RHS) for maximum storage capacity.

Rainwater Barrel

What is a Rainwater Harvesting System?

Rainwater Harvesting Systems can filter and store as much as 6,500 litres of rainwater. With capacities like this, you’ll also have enough excess water to flush your loo and wash your clothes.

In fact, an RHS helps you reduce your household water consumption by up to 40% each year.

How much are we talking?

An RHS will cost you considerably more than a water butt. Water butt systems start from around £25 for entry-level systems, which hold about 100 litres of water, and up to around £500 for systems with higher capacities.

And while 100 litres doesn’t sound like a lot, every drop of water saved helps the environment.

Tim Robertson of Save Water Save Money claims that if each British household were to collect just one water butt’s worth of water each year (around 160 litres), the UK would collectively save 4 billion litres of freshwater every year.

How does a Rainwater Harvesting System work?

An RHS works in precisely the same way as a water butt, collecting rainwater from the gutters on your roof – just on a grander scale. Most RHS systems include high-powered pumps, filters, and a storage container that’s usually buried underground in the garden.

An average domestic RHS usually costs around £2500, so the initial cost is higher. Still, the savings over time add up (especially if you use a water meter to calculate your bills).

What are the benefits of rainwater?

When we switch on the taps in our homes, we receive high-quality water that’s safe for human consumption; made safe with chemical treatments executed at your local treatment plant. This makes our tap water safe to drink, but the chemical makeup of tap water isn’t always perfect for our plants.

Rainwater is naturally softer than tap water and is usually a more suitable pH level for your soil.

How much does it cost to water your lawn?

Sprinkler systems offer a popular method for easy, regular lawn irrigation. But have you ever wondered how much water you use when you set off your sprinkler?

You’d better sit down!

According to Save Water Save Money, using a hose pipe or a sprinkler for an hour can use as much as 1000 litres of water.

And if you use a water meter, that’s going to cost a lot of money.

According to United Utilities:

  • 1 litre of water costs 1p
  • while a cubic metre of water costs £3.08.

1000 litres of water is one cubic metre, so an hour of sprinkling will set you back £3.08. And, while this might not necessarily sound like a massive amount in isolation, if you run your sprinkler twice a week, over a year, it will cost you £320.32.

And to put it into a more relatable context: 1000 litres of water is equivalent to 28 showers or 13 baths.

So, watering your garden uses a LOT of water. And, from a purely financial perspective, collecting rainwater to water your garden is a no-brainer.

Can I use a hosepipe with a water butt?

Water butts are great for filling watering cans, but they don’t produce enough pressure to run a hose.

But there is a solution: an electric water butt pump – which you can buy for around £50 – provides enough pressure to water your lawn with a hose.

This model can deliver 5200 litres in an hour and comes with standard hose pipe connectors.

Find out more about Rainwater Harvesting Systems

If we’ve whetted your appetite (excuse the dad pun!), there’s plenty of resources online that help you explore the possibilities of installing your own Rainwater Harvesting System. For more info, look here.

Happy watering!

 

So, how often SHOULD you mow your lawn, exactly?

If you want to neaten your lawn, you should mow. But too often stresses the plant and too rarely leaves your grass looking a mess. And how short you cut can make a big difference to
the longevity of your lawn.

And there’s a good argument for leaving your lawn to the wild.

So, from sharpening your cutting blades and choosing when in the springtime is best to start mowing to selecting the correct type of grass, this article is going to blow apart the myths!

Ready?

When can I start cutting my lawn?

The short answer is: don’t cut your lawn until March. In fact, Flymo suggests that “First Cut Sunday” is Sunday 28th March in 2021.

The slightly more detailed answer is, it really depends on where you live. If you live all the way up in the Highlands of Scotland, you should add at least two weeks to the advice the sun lovers on the South Coast of England might need to follow.

Your grass remains dormant until the soil temperature has reached 10ºC; it’s unwise to mow until it starts growing again. So, it’s the ambient temperature that’s the vital indicator here.

Look for new growth

Remember: the soil takes longer to warm up than the air. So you might be on short-sleeve order for a couple of weeks before the ground begins to warm.

You could use a soil thermometer if you want to be all scientific about it, or you could just wait for the signs of new growth before you consider mowing your lawn.

New growth indicates that the soil has reached the right temperature. If you can, let the grass grow for a little while before you jump in with the mower.

What happens if I cut my grass too early in the year?

The grass needs to be dry before you mow. So, if you cut too early in the year, the soil will be soggy, and the grass blades are likely to be wet.

Early mowing usually results in compacted grass, and there’s always the risk of damaging the roots.

Ultimately, cutting too early in the year causes patchy growth and dry, dying blades.

And no one wants that.

Cutting grass

Should I cut ALL of my lawn?

If you live in a suburban or urban area, you might think about leaving the first cutting of the year a little later or even preserving a section of your lawn to grow wild.

Chris Packham (of BBC’s Spring/Autumn Watch) suggests leaving a corner of your lawn unmowed to provide food for butterflies and insects, as well as shelter for animals such as hedgehogs.

You might want your lawn to be a lovely, neat carpet of green adorning your beautiful garden, but we share our space with a plethora of wildlife. And in built-up areas, our valuable wildlife needs all the help it can get.

Why should we care about insects?

Some of us consider insects a pest – they might bite us or eat our plants and crops. But it’s helpful to consider the bigger picture.

Insects are pollinators, and we need pollinators to contribute to the food chain. If you have a fruit tree or a veg patch, you definitely need pollinators to transform those pretty springtime flowers into fruit.

Without pollinators, the human race wouldn’t survive very long, after all, so we should learn to love our insect friends and live in harmony with them.

And your lawn is their home.

So, leaving a section of your lawn unmown makes a safe home for the insects and animals we rely upon and need to protect.

Have a pre-tidy before mowing

Over the winter, leaves and branches are likely to have landed on your lawn, and – if your grass is long – you might not spot them until they have blunted your lawnmower blades.

Tidying through the grass before mowing gives you an opportunity to remove stones that may have rolled out of flowerbeds and any other debris like old crisp packets and carrier bags that the wind may have carried into your garden.

During this pre-tidy, check for nesting animals who may still be hibernating. Hedgehogs, for example, are often to be found in piles of leaves or grass. If you do find a tiny home, please think about mowing around it.

Prepare your mower

It’s wise to carry out a maintenance check on your mower before you start using it each year; looking out – specifically – for blunt cutting blades.

Cutting your grass is a destructive act for the plant. Sharp cutting blades cut cleanly through the grass blade; blunt blades rip the grass.

A clean-cut heals quickly (and encourages the grass plant to release growth hormone), whereas a rip causes more significant surface area damage. And the larger the wound on the grass blade, the longer it takes for the plant to heal itself.

Wounded grass goes yellow or brown after cutting.
If you find that your grass looks sad and unhealthy after cutting, consider having your cutting blades sharpened.

Lawn mower maintenance

How short can I cut my grass?

If you enjoy a round of golf, you’ll notice that parts of the course are cut super-short. But, the potential minimum length of your grass depends on the grass species.

Most domestic grass isn’t suitable for super-short cutting. But if you do want a lawn like a bowling green, there is a way. Read on.

The rule of thumb – especially for the first cutting of the year is:

Never cut more than a third of the blade’s length.

The Rule of Thirds

As you mow throughout the year, you can gradually go shorter, but avoid “scalping” your lawn as it can lead to weed infestations and disease.

And those will cause the grass plants to die.

So, never cut more than a third of the blades’ existing length – even if you’ve
left it till the grass is knee height!

Don’t cut your grass too short

Each blade of grass is a leaf – and one of the principal purposes of leaves is to help the plant photosynthesise and create food for the plant from the sun.

So, if you cut the grass too short, there’s less leaf surface to photosynthesise, and – ultimately – your plant effectively starves and dies.

Tempting as it might be, don’t cut it too short.

But I want super-short grass!

OK!

We hear you.

Most domestic grass isn’t biologically built for really short mowing. The lower the blade, the more likely you are to damage the crown of the plant, making it vulnerable to disease and drought.

But, if you want neatly clipped, manicured grass like you might see on the golf course, you need to choose the correct type of ornamental grass seed.

Premium Lawn Grass Seed

Luckily, one of MOOWY’s founders, Louis Hooft, learnt his expertise at the Golf Academy in the United States, and he discovered the secrets of golf-course-standard lawns. And he used that learned expertise into our Premium Lawn Seed mix.

Our Premium Lawn Grass Seed contains a high percentage of red fescue for thickness, along with perennial ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass for structure and strength. This particular seed mix is tolerant of short mowing and – most importantly – thrives in the unpredictable UK climate.

The outstanding ornamental qualities of Premium Lawn Grass Seed produces a beautiful, slow-growing lawn that looks great when cut short.

Which brings us to the central question at hand:

Sowing grass seed with spreader

How often should I mow my lawn, exactly?

Mowing neatens your lawn, but – more significantly – it encourages healthy growth.

Wait until the grass is dry, as wet grass is more likely to tear, regardless of the sharpness of your cutting blade. And make your first cut at the end of March, moving into April.

Make sure that the cutting blades are at their highest setting for the first cutting of the year, and then – over the coming weeks – you can progressively move the blades lower each time; ensuring that you adhere to the Rule of Thirds.

Your grass will grow more rapidly in the summer and slow down again in the autumn. The Royal Horticultural Society recommends that you mow twice a week in summer but should minimise that to once a week during drought periods. During the spring and autumn, you can cut once a week unless growth remains particularly vigorous.

There’s usually no need to mow at all during the winter as the temperature falls below 10ºC.

If, however, we’re having an unusually mild winter and the grass continues growing, you can mow occasionally, with the blades at their highest setting.

Avoid cutting if the grass or the ground is wet, soft, or frozen.

You might find that shady areas of your lawn grow more slowly than areas in full sun, so you may need to mow those sections less frequently.

 

Ask MOOWY!

We love to be helpful at MOOWY, so if you have any questions that we haven’t covered in this article, please don’t hesitate to email us at hello@moowy.co.uk. We’ll get back to you in no time!

Thanks for reading. And happy mowing!

Lawn care doesn’t have to be difficult

Fertilisation

Your lawn needs food, just like us.

Fertilising your lawn three times a year helps provide all the nutrients your grass plant needs – not just to survive, but to thrive.

You can fertilise a 500-square-metre lawn in half an hour. So, for just 90 minutes of work each year, you can enjoy a beautiful, robust, and hardy lawn that requires very little else.

Fertilising nourishes the roots of the plant and promotes a vibrant green colour. Offer the nutrients your grass needs, and enjoy a hardy, moss- and weed-free lawn all year round.

 

Overseeding

Golf courses and football fields are regularly overseeded, and that’s what gives them that flawless look. So, if you’re looking for pitch-perfect grass, you need to overseed. 

Overseeding is nothing more than just throwing grass seed over your existing lawn. This helps replenish bald spots and keeps the lawn lush and full. 

Old grass plants grow slowly, while newer plants grow steadily and evenly. New grass plants establish themselves each time you overseed which helps inhibit weed- and moss growth. It also increases your lawn’s reproduction capacity, giving you a stunning, thick lawn all year round. 

 

Renovate by scarifying

Scarifying? 

It sounds like something you might do at Hallowe’en, doesn’t it? 

But, this process will rejuvenate your lawn like no other. 

Fertilising and overseeding brings great results, but – eventually – your entire lawn will need renovating (removing old, dead grass and wild growth, and replacing it with robust, newer grass plants). 

Scarifying is one of the more challenging lawn-maintenance jobs – and it can be a little – well, scary. 

At first, it will look like you’ve totally wrecked your lawn. But give it a week or two, and your lawn springs to life: stronger and more vibrant than ever before. 

You could scarify a 500-square-metre patch in a morning, but you’ll need the right tools, fertilisers, and grass seeds

 

What can you do now?

First things first: assess your lawn. If there are bald patches and lots of moss or weeds, then you could consider scarifying. Otherwise, just fertilise three times a year, and overseed once a year. 

Scarification, fertilisation AND overseeding takes less than a day’s work (spread over a year). But it’s time well spent: just think of the fantastic lawn you’ll have in return.

 

Why mow your lawn?

It’s vital to mow your lawn correctly.

I see mowing as my favourite pastime: I’m a grass fanatic.

Mowing is my meditation: I don’t think about anything else for a while, and just live in the moment. I put on my favourite music and make the most beautiful, straight lines.

That really is my thing.

And the smell of freshly cut grass?! There’s nothing better.

Each time you mow, you encourage new growth. And over time, regular mowing fills out the lawn and makes it look neater.

Mowing promotes hardiness: each time you mow, you damage the grass, forcing the plant to repair itself. The cutting blade’s damage triggers a hormone within the grass plant that encourages growth and healing, creating a deeper green colour and more vigorous growth.

Mow with sharp blades, and only once a week; that’s more than enough. If you skip a week now and then, don’t mow shorter than you did before – that can be very stressful for the grass.

If growth has gone too far, do a little renovation: fertilise well and restart the regular mowing regime.

 

Three secrets for a beautifully lush lawn

Does your garden lawn look more like a 1970s football pitch than those pristine examples you see in the modern Premier League?

Muddy, thinning grass that lacks colour and resilience is avoidable. And we’re about to share the secrets with you right now.

Secret #1

Most of us don’t even look at our lawn-mower blades, but the health and vitality of your grass relies heavily on your mower blades.

Think about it: cutting with a blunt blade results in a tear. And a tear produces a larger surface area on the grass blade, creating a breeding ground for diseases and bacteria that give the grass’s tips that familiar brown tinge.

Our first #TopTip is to mow with sharp blades only – that way, damage to the lawn is minimised.

It’s possible to sharpen your existing blades. Or you could buy a new blade; you don’t need to replace the entire mower.

Either way, for Premier League lawns, use decent, sharp mowing blades.

Secret #2

Eventually, most of us end up with bald spots. But thankfully, a balding lawn is easier to solve than a balding head.

Maybe you have high-traffic areas on your lawn that seem to thin out by the end of the summer? Perhaps you notice little paths worn into the grass from your pets who seem to favour the same journey to the end of the garden?

The solution?

Overseeding – a process that replenishes the bald spots and helps your grass remain young, healthy, and hardy.

Overseeding gives your lawn a much higher reproductive capacity, helping those bald spots grow more densely.

And overseeding is super-easy:

Simply mow your lawn, then sprinkle grass seed over the top. That’s it!

If your lawn suffers from shady areas, overseed with our Shade & Sun grass seed for the best results. If you have soggy patches, try our aerating sandals to improve drainage.

Secret #3

Most people think that rain and sunshine are enough to nourish a lawn. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

For a beautifully lush and resistant lawn, you should fertilise the grass THREE TIMES each year.

Many of us fertilise the lawn in the spring, but that’s not really enough.

Our slow-release fertilisers usually last for around 90 days (that’s three months). So, for a stunning year-round lawn, fertilise with a high-quality granulated fertiliser at the beginning of the spring, during the summer, and in the autumn.

The autumn feed is probably the most important: it helps strengthen the grass for its winter dormancy. A weakened lawn develops weeds and moss over the winter, while a well-fed lawn is more resistant.

Fertilise three times a year with our slow-release fertilisers and you’ll maintain a beautiful, lush green lawn all year round.

How to repair your lawn after the winter

What happens to the lawn during winter?

The amount of sunlight decreases dramatically during the winter months. And when buildings, trees, and hedges restrict sunlight, shaded areas remain damp for months at a time. As a result, the individual grass plants begin to die off, causing bald patches that considerably thin out your lawn.

However, a mild winter can do as much damage to your lawn as a harsh, cold winter. Moss loves a cold, humid, shady climate, especially where temperatures are between 2- and 10-degrees.

A cold but dry winter offers your lawn the greatest chance of survival.

 

In 5 steps, you will enjoy a beautiful lawn again this spring:

  1. Start by removing leaves, branches, and any moss; a fertiliser with iron works wonders
  2. Aerate the turf by combing or scarifying the grass
  3. Sow new grass to fill in the gaps and keep weeds out
  4. Fertilise with a spring fertiliser with high nitrogen content
  5. Keep the grass seed moist for 3 weeks. New grass should germinate within 10 days.

 

Which grass seed do you use?

The choice of grass seed depends on your type of lawn.

 

Timing is of the essence when sowing seeds!

The optimal time for sowing seed very much depends upon the conditions in your garden.

If hedges or buildings throw shade on parts of your lawn for most of the year, the soil’s temperature will be lower than in the rest of the garden. Therefore, you should avoid sowing too early in the year. Wait until the ground has reached at least 10-degrees before you start sowing!

Grass that grows around trees is best sown as soon as the temperature permits. That way, the lawn has enough time to establish itself before the trees’ foliage becomes dense, limiting the available light.