Should You Mow Your Lawn Before Seeding?

Should You Mow Your Lawn Before Seeding?
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If you’re getting ready to seed or reseed your lawn but the grass hasn’t been cut in a while, you may wonder if you need to cut it before you do anything else. 

Should you mow your lawn before seeding? 

Mowing the lawn before seeding is useful. The seeds are better able to penetrate the soil when the grass is at the proper height. If the grass blades are too long, the seedlings won’t get inserted deep enough to allow the grass to grow.

Some Basics

If your hair is short and you want it to grow out some, the first thing a good hairdresser will tell you is to get it trimmed regularly. This may sound counterproductive, but it actually works because regular trimming will remove split ends which tend to stop hair from growing as quickly. This is very similar to cutting your grass.

Mowing the lawn before spreading new seed will remove some of the height of the grass. Also, if you bag the clippings as soon as you’re finished mowing, the seeds will not just sit on top of the grass. Instead, they will penetrate into the soil quicker and allow the lawn to thrive and flourish.

Simply put, if the grass is too long, your seeds will likely never reach the soil.

Of course, you have to get rid of the clippings after you mow because old grass blades that sit on top of the grass may hinder the seeds and make them not as productive.

Moreover, if the grass is too short, it can also be a detriment…

The elements, people walking on the lawn and even pets can displace the seeds more easily and prevent them from becoming implanted in the soil.

That being said, you’ll want to go ahead and mow the lawn as you usually do without cutting it too short. Also don’t forget to collect the clippings as you go along so you don’t leave them on top of the newly cut grass.

How Low Should You Mow?

I’d recommend cutting down to a 1.5 to 2-inch height. You can cut down lower if you want but I wouldn’t recommend going any higher than this.

How Long to Wait Before You Mow Again

After you mow your lawn and get the grass nice and short (but not too short!), you might wonder what to do next.

The best practice is simple. In fact, here is a basic plan that you can use when you’re planting new seeds – often called overseeding your lawn.

  • Day 1: After you cut the grass down to a 1.5- to 2-inch height, go ahead and spread your seedlings so that the growing process can begin.
  • Days 1-3: Make sure you water your lawn a lot. For these days, you’ll want to water once or twice a day. You’ll also want to make sure you get 1/4 inch of the top soil completely wet every time. After three days, you can go back to your regular watering schedule and it should suffice.
  • Days 7-10: Mow your lawn. You should wait a minimum of one week to cut your grass because you’ll want to give the seeds a chance to settle into their new home so that they can grow. Some experts suggest waiting longer than 7 to 10 days but it’s really up to you. Just make sure you wait a minimum of seven days before you mow your lawn. When you do take out your lawn mower, make sure it’s on the highest height level.

As you can see, when you want to plant new grass, you don’t just go out to your yard and start spreading seeds. You need to mow, seed and water more than usual to obtain the best results. Keep in mind these tips and suggestions to be more successful at seeding your lawn. It’s more simple than you think!

Do I Need to Aerate My Lawn First?

Aerating involves poking holes in or removing small plugs from the soil so that the water and seeds can get down into the roots to produce better results. Some people aerate before they seed or overseed, while others don’t.

If you’re wondering whether to aerate yourself, below are the situations where you might want to do so:

  • If your yard gets a lot of use or has a lot of foot traffic.
  • If your yard dries out quickly, has an excessive thatch problem or feels a bit spongy when you walk on it.
  • Your yard started via sod, or you have sod layers still there.
  • Your home was brand-new construction. This usually means the soil is extra-compacted since so many construction workers continuously walked on it.

The more compacted your soil is, the more likely you’ll need it to be aerated and there are two different tools you can use to get the job done.

One of these tools pokes small holes in the soil and the other type actually removes small plugs of soil. Either option is good and both are easy to do but a lot of people prefer the type that removes small plugs of soil. With this type of aerator, the holes are so small that they can plug back up and not allow any water to get through to the soil.

In Summary

Adding seed to your lawn can be done any time you want a thicker and more attractive yard. Mowing your lawn before seeding is a great start when you’re interested in overseeding your yard. A lush, green lawn is certainly not out of reach even for people with no green thumb, so it behooves you to do a little research to know what to do before you get out there and start seeding.

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