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Avoiding Scalping

Moved into a new build a year ago and it's the first garden I've actually maintained. Done a pretty good job resurrecting the graveyard of a back garden the new build developer provided us with, if I do say so myself (although we'll see how it handles the winter).

I had a quick query, I'm fully aware of the need not to cut grass too short in one sitting, and given the recent weather my grass is longer than I would hope, and cannot be cut to its usual preferred length, so I'll have to get it down to that in stages. 

My query was in regards to time between cuts to avoid scalping. For example, my lawn mower has 5 grades, 1 being shortest and 5 being the longest. I usual cut on 3, but will be cutting on 5. Can I cut on 5 then immediately run back over it on a 3, or should I leave X amount of days between cuts?

My issue at the moment is getting cuts in when I can as the ground is just too wet! And if I get chance I'd like to have it short as who knows when I'll get to cut it again!


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,155
    If you just leave it for a few days, you should be able to cut it on a slightly lower setting without any problem.
    Ideally, you want grass to be dry when cutting, but sometimes, you just have to cut even when conditions are a bit wet.
    It's frequently a timing problem here from April onwards because of rain. As long as the blade's sharp on the mower, it rarely harms it   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,095
    Cutting high and then immediately cutting lower is just the same as cutting it lower to begin with, it just takes twice as long. I'd give it a couple of days between cuts. Although I did once know a chap who cut his lawn every day that it was dry enough. That was an extremely fine-leaved lawn and it looked perfect virtually all the time, but not practical for most of us.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Whilst we had better weather ~a month ago, I had to cut weekly as it was growing so fast. Unfortunately it's still growing at that rate! I managed to get a cut in about 2 weeks ago and the ground was a little bit damp but not too bad. I just hope we get a decent week before the winter kicks in otherwise I'm not sure my garden will hold up!

    Thanks for the advice!
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,095
    The conundrum is, grass grows faster in spring/summer when it gets plenty of rain, and slows down in a prolonged dry spell. Actually I think I'd rather have the rain and a longer lawn at this time of year, but it doesn't happen here. It hasn't rained more than a few spits in a week and there's none in the forecast for the next week. I'd swap you some dry weather for a few days' rain every week if I could!
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737
    Afraid to say that cutting a lawn weekly is about right in the growing season … sometimes twice a week if your lawn is lush. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • shazza 3shazza 3 Posts: 181
    JennyJ, i'd gladly swap our on/off rainy days with you. I haven't been able to do any meaningful gardening for over a week now. Am fed up with cold, misty rain and wind. I'd be more than happy for some nice dry sunny weather, am not looking for a heatwave (that's too hot), just warm enough to potch outside 
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