There are lots of reasons why lawns are left to become overgrown, the property may have been left empty for a long time period, the property may be rented and the gardens not cared about by either the owner or the renter, a busy lifestyle may just push our yard maintenance 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 lawn that now needs to be taken care of.
Whatever the reason why our turf might have become overgrown, it is now time to manage the problem and to bring our lawns into full health and control once more. But mowing an overgrown lawn can bring risk of harm to the lawn if we’re not careful in how we go about cutting back the surplus growth, as mowing an overgrown lawn can actually result in severely damaging the yard or perhaps even killing the yard if the mowing isn’t done correctly.
Why Mowing An Overgrown Lawn Can Cause Damage
All growth of lawns comes from a part of the bud called a crown. It is from these crowns that spring forth new runners in warm season grasses, as well as 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 at all, which in turn can kill the grass in any affected turf areas where this happens.
However for some warm season grasses like Zoysia and Bermuda grasses, these yard types have underground runners which could repair a yard where the above surface lawn has been murdered or had its own crowns removed with lawn mowing. Though it’s not a guarantee that warm season lawns will fix when they are severely damaged.
The problem we have with overgrown turf is that these crowns may raise far higher above the soil level whenever the lawn gets overgrown. Then if we mow the overgrown lawn at our regular lawn mowing heights, we could actually be removing the now raised crowns in the lawn mowing process, thus severely damaging or even killing the yard in the affected region where this has occurred.
We therefore must correct our mowing practice whenever we’re tackling an overgrown lawn to bring it back into an orderly state.
Mowing An Overgrown Lawn Safely
If we will begin to mow our lawns more often from now on, then the best solution for us in managing an overgrown grass is to slowly reduce yard mowing heights over time. Not taking an excessive amount of foliage material off in the first lawn mowing, then maybe slowly reducing lawn mowing heights at each third service, until slowly we get our yards back to their best mowing heights.
This approach is the safest of all, and while it will take a while to bring our lawns back to their very best appearance, it won’t ever risk damaging the turf. What is going on in this approach 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 slowly being lowered over time, the turf will adjust itself to this new growing environment by continuously expanding all its new crowns in the lower heights that we’ve introduced. Gradually, over time, we have safely lowered the lawn height and safely trained the lawn to grow all 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 perform with a warm season lawn than with a cool season lawn, so the risk and results of this stay with the yard owner or whomever is mowing the overgrown lawn.
If this is one lawn mowing meant to quickly tidy up an overgrown lawn, then it would also be anticipated that we would not want to kill the yard in the procedure. Therefore the best approach to mowing an overgrown lawn that isn’t likely to be regularly mowed thereafter is to mow the lawn at the maximum height possible which is acceptable to the lawn owner.
By mowing at this higher height we’re doing our very best to not be damaging or removing too many grass crowns during the yard mowing process, so this will give us our best result to maintain a yard that stays alive and in the best possible health following this lawn mowing. While the lawn won’t appear at its best, it is the safest possible option for us in this situation and to ensure the continuing survival of the yard.
Such items could become dangerous if hit with lawn mower blades, creating a projectile which risks damage to property or people. Therefore all long grass areas should be carefully assessed prior to any yard mowing taking place.
Finally, whenever we eliminate a lot of grass leaf material with one mowing, we are going to be cutting into 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 anticipate a slough off on the grass wherever a lot of green leaf was removed simultaneously. As long as the yard is properly watered and cared for after the lawn mowing, this thatch layer should decrease over a brief time period and new green leaf grown by the lawn.