Mowing Height: How High Should My Grass Grow?
One of the most common tasks every homeowner faces is mowing their lawn. Tacking this chore to the end of your Saturday chore list has become common practice all across North America. As soon as your lawn starts to look a little overgrown, you whip out your lawn mower and get to work. If you are like most homeowners, you likely pay little to no attention to your mowing height. This, however, is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when completing yard work. Determining and maintaining the proper mowing height is essential to encouraging healthy, full lawn growth.
What is the Right Mowing Height?
Ideal mowing height varies slightly depending on the variety of grass. For instance, Kentucky Bluegrass, a cold-season grass, grows best when kept between 1.5 and 3 inches tall. On the other hand, warm-season grasses like Bermuda thrive at a mowing height as short as 0.5 to 1.5 inches. For more information on the optimal mowing height for different grass varieties, check out the DIY Network. The amount of shade exposure is also extremely important to the mowing height of your grass. If much of your lawn is shaded for a large chunk of time throughout the day, you will want to keep the blades closer to the higher end of the spectrum. Allowing the blades to grow slightly longer will help provide sufficient access to the limited sunlight.
The Importance of the Perfect Mowing Height
Getting the mowing height just right is extremely important. Cutting your grass too short is called scalping. This causes your grass plants to focus more nutrients on growing leaves instead of the roots that help it survive periods of drought. It also causes your lawn unnecessary stress and can make it more susceptible to diseases. Scalping your lawn can also create more room for weeds to grow. Alternatively, allowing your grass to grow too long can cause the blades to fall over, become more difficult to mow, and actually smother themselves. In addition, long grass blades often mean long grass clippings which take more time to decompose. These extra long clippings need to be raked and collected before they damage your lawn.
Rule of a Third
While cutting your grass at the proper mowing height is a great start, there is more to cutting a healthy lawn. It is imperative to only cut off up to a third of your grass’ height at one time. Cutting off more than one third of the blade of grass can cause your grass unnecessary stress. This can cause it to thin out and become more susceptible to diseases and more intolerant to drought.
Pay Attention to Your Lawn’s Growth
Let your lawn be your guide! Check your lawn frequently to see how much it has grown and mow accordingly. This will allow you to maintain an extremely healthy lawn. Plus, it might also save you some time mowing. During the dryer parts of the season, your grass will grow less rapidly. This may give you a week, or even two, free of mowing!
A regular mowing schedule can be tempting, however, it can be destructive to the health of your lawn. Rather, pay close attention to your mowing height and the rate of growth of your lawn. Mowing your lawn at the correct height will result in the healthiest lawn you’ve ever seen!