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When to Carry out the First Cut after Renovations

by TurfCareBlog

When to carry out the first cut after renovations, is a blog on some key considerations and timings on when to carry out that first cut with the some practical examples l have found helpful.

When to Carry out the First Cut

Cricket squares can be cut 2-4 weeks after the seed has germinated, once the new grass plant root has anchored into the surface . Rather than setting a time frame thought, cutting in good conditions is more important.

How to Test If its Ready to be Cut

To test this if the new grass plants is anchored in and ready for its first cut is as simple as, a pull of the leaf. If the plant is rooted in it will should snap mid leaf when you pull at it, if it instead pulls out by the root the plant/s isn’t ready for its first cut.

The leaf will be 30-40mm in height, the aim is to gradually bring that down over a number of cuts over the weeks to around 20-25mm and maintain this through winter.

Possibly wait for the three leaf stage then cut and cut as often as you can but only take small amounts off never cut more than a third of the leaf. The more often you can cut the pitch the better the plant will thicken out tiller and improve the surface canopy.. Try and keep the leaf longer in the grow in as it will help the roots drive down and more leaf will aid in photosynthesis and drought!.

If you can keep to around 40mm and gradually decrease the cut for matches.

Adam Witchell – Harlequins Rugby HG

Football/winter sports pitches 2-4 weeks sometime a bit longer till the new plant (especially high wear areas) is anchored in and the sward is around 40-50mm (rough guide), for more details on winter sports aftercare take a look at this blog –  https://turfcareblog.com/4-ways-to-maintain-a-renovated-football-pitch/

New Seed
New Seed, almost ready for a first cut

Community Poll

Soil/Grass Plant Conditions

Part of renovations is topdressing and loam topdressing needs rain/weathering to break it down and incorporate it into the surface. While the loam breaks down, ideally you need to cut the new seed when the loam is dry (later in the day). This will ensure the mower’s roller or wheels don’t pick the loam and disturb the topdressing levels.

Rotary or Cylinder Mower

New grass can have a soft lush leaf with a shallow root system, so for some they would always prefer the cut of a rotary for at least the first few cuts which may be the ideal. I have used a rotary and cylinder for my first cuts and both are fine, whatever option you go with to ensure the soil and plant is dry and whatever you cut with the blades are sharp and on cut and the plant is well rooted.

To test if the new seed is rooted enough. When you pull at the leaf it should snap mid leaf when you pull at it, if it instead pulls out by the root the plant isn’t ready for its first cut.

How Often

Cutting once every 7-10 days all the time the plant is growing back, this will help thicken up the sward aiming for a densely grassed area, which will in turn lead to less weeds, moss and stalky grasses.

Key Elements and Why

·         Whether rotary or cylinder ensure the blades are cutting perfectly, to ensure a good clean cut which will help prevent disease and give an even quality of cut.

·         Brush off the leaf of any moisture, which will help give you a cleaner cut and also help the plant stay upright. Ensure the soil is dry and not sticky or wet, which can lead to topdressing picking up on the mower wheels or rollers which you don’t want.

·         Don’t stress the new grass plant, remove no more than a third of a leaf in any one cutting session

This blog is based on my many years as a groundsperson, do you have any top tips to also share within the comments section below.

Brian on behalf of the TurfCareBlog community.

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Chris Johnson October 10, 2022 - 7:54 am

Really useful and helpful blog once again. Only thing I’d add is to make sure any worm casts are swish sticked before cutting.

TurfCareBlog October 10, 2022 - 7:57 am

Greta tip there Chris

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