If you have a lawn, it has to be mowed. And if you have a lawn, you also have to decide how to mow: how frequently, and what height to cut the grass. According to experts, though, there’s no need for guesswork in deciding how to mow. They agree that frequent mowings are best, and that grass should be left fairly tall (over 3 inches).
Taller is Better Because…
Lawn grass that isn’t cut excessively short tends to be healthier grass. Not surprisingly, lopping off a significant chunk of any plant can be traumatic to the plant, and cause stress. And that’s certainly true of lawn grass. Setting the height of the mower so that the grass is cut no shorter than 3 inches will help to minimize that stress.
Taller grass also offers the advantage of keeping the soil of your lawn shaded better. That helps to keep your grass more comfortable and less stressed during the brutally hot days of summer. More shade also helps to prevent the germination of weed seeds.
If your grass happens to be taller than usual – maybe because you’ve been away on vacation – don’t take your grass back to its normal height with a single mowing. Instead, raise the height setting of your mower, and gradually lower it back to normal over the course of several mowings. That way, you’ll significantly lower the stress on your lawn.
A general rule of thumb to use when setting the height on your mower: try to avoid removing more than a third of the total height of your grass with a single mowing.
Mowing Frequency is Also Important
Mowing frequently will help you to avoid taking too much off each blade of grass with a single mowing. And that will help to minimize the stress of mowing. But there are a couple of additional reasons for mowing more rather than less often.
Frequent mowing means that the volume of grass clippings will be lower with each mowing than if you were mowing less often. Most experts now recommend that you leave your clippings on the lawn to decompose and replenish the soil with nutrients and organic material. And the shorter clippings that result from more frequent mowing will decompose faster, making those nutrients available to your grass more readily.
Mowing frequently will also help to keep fast-growing weeds in check by preventing them from going to seed.
Remember That More is Better
If you find yourself trying to remember the recommendations for grass height and frequency of mowing, just remember the word ‘more.’ Mow more often rather than less, and leave more height.
Follow those rules of thumb, and the ‘more’ word will come into play in one other way: your lawn will look way ‘more’ better!