There are lots of reasons why lawns are left to become overgrown, the property may have been left vacant for a long time period, the property may be rented and the gardens not cared about by either the owner or the tenant, a busy lifestyle might just push our yard care routines so low to the bottom of our list of priorities that we realize one day we have a real problem with an unsightly overgrown yard that now needs to be dealt with.
No matter the reason why our turf might have become overgrown, it is now time to manage the problem and to bring our yards back into full health and control once more. However, mowing an overgrown lawn may bring risk of harm to the lawn if we are not careful in how we go about cutting back the surplus growth, as mowing an overgrown lawn can actually result in severely damaging the lawn or perhaps even killing the lawn if the mowing is not done correctly.
Why Mowing An Overgrown Lawn Can Cause Damage
All growth of lawns comes from a portion of the bud called a crown. It is from these crowns that spring forth new runners in warm season grasses, in addition to new yard leaf material in most grasses. If these crowns are damaged or removed during lawn mowing then it becomes impossible for new lawn growth to happen in any way, which in turn can kill the grass in any affected turf areas where this happens.
But for some warm season grasses such as Zoysia and Bermuda grasses, these yard types also have underground runners which could repair a yard where the above surface yard was murdered or had its crowns removed with lawn mowing. Though it is not a guarantee that warm season lawns will fix when they’re severely damaged.
The problem we have with overgrown turf is that these crowns can raise far higher above the soil level whenever the yard becomes overgrown. Then if we mow the overgrown lawn at our regular lawn mowing heightswe can actually be removing the currently raised crowns in the lawn mowing process, thus severely damaging or even killing the lawn in the affected area where this has occurred.
We therefore must correct our mowing practice whenever we are tackling an overgrown yard to bring it back into an orderly state.
If we will begin to mow our yards more often from now on, then the best solution for all of us in handling an overgrown grass is to gradually reduce yard mowing heights over time. Not taking too much leaf material off in the first lawn mowing, then perhaps slowly reducing lawn mowing heights at every third service, until gradually we get our yards back to their optimal mowing heights.
This approach is the safest of all, and while it does take some time to bring our lawns back to their best appearance, it will never risk damaging the turf. What is going on in this process is two-fold: firstly we’re never removing these crowns while lawn mowing, so the grass doesn’t die off; second, as the turf is gradually being lowered over time, the turf will adjust itself to this new growing environment by continuously growing all of its fresh crowns in the lower heights that we have introduced. Gradually, over time, we’ve safely lowered the lawn height and safely trained the lawn to cultivate new crowns lower and nearer to the soil level where they belong.
Mowing An Overgrown Lawn in One Lawn Mowing
As already discussed, this will be safer to do with a warm season lawn than with a cool season lawn, so the results and risk of this stay with the yard owner or whomever is mowing the overgrown lawn.
If this is a single yard mowing supposed to quickly tidy up an overgrown lawn, then it would also be expected that we wouldn’t need to kill the yard in the procedure. Therefore the ideal approach to mowing an overgrown lawn that isn’t likely to be regularly mowed afterward is to mow the lawn at the highest height potential which is acceptable to the yard owner.
By mowing at this higher height we are doing our very best not to be damaging or removing a lot of grass crowns during the lawn mowing process, so this will give us our best result to maintain a yard which remains alive and in the best possible health following this lawn mowing. While the lawn won’t look at its best, it is the safest possible option for us in this situation and to ensure the ongoing survival of the yard.
Final Notes About Mowing Long Grass
Such objects could become dangerous if struck with lawn mower blades, creating a projectile which risks damage to people or property. Therefore all long grass areas should be carefully checked prior to any yard mowing taking place.
Finally, whenever we eliminate plenty of grass leaf material using a single mowing, we’re going to be cutting to the brown thatch layer of the turf, and the longer the lawn becomes, so too will the thatch layer increase in elevation also. Therefore we should expect a browning off on the grass wherever lots of green leaf has been removed simultaneously. Provided that the yard is properly watered and cared for after the lawn mowing, this thatch layer should decrease over a short period of time and new green leaf grown by the yard.