You may have heard the axiom, WIIFM, or “What’s In It For Me”. In regards to mowing your lawn, what is in it for your lawn that dictates the need to mow high? If mowed short, it doesn’t need to be mowed as often, right?
Lawns are not a natural system. They were created by people, so they need to be maintained by people. Sure, the grass will still grow if it is not maintained, but in order to get the most out of your lawn, extra steps should be taken. An attractive healthy growing system needs supplemental feeding, proper mowing and watering and thatch control.
The most misunderstood practice is mowing. If there is a “key” to having a great lawn, it is proper mowing.
4 reasons to keep the length of your lawn longer
- The grass blade is the food producing part of the grass plant. This is where photosynthesis takes place and where the plant produces the necessary food for good root and shoot growth. The shorter it is, the less food that will be produced by the plant.
- A longer grass blade will shade the ground underneath, keeping it cooler, meaning it won’t dry our as quickly as when the lawn is mowed short. In other words, the lawn does not have to receive as much supplemental water.
- Reduces weed growth. There are 100s of weed seeds in every lawn, just waiting for the right conditions to germinate. One of those conditions is having enough sunlight to warm the seed to help it germinate. If the sun cannot get down to the seed, it will be much less likely to germinate. Mowing high is one of the best weed control methods.
- Finally, when the grass plant is mowed short, the plant has no choice but to do whatever it takes to grow a new leaf blade. In order to do so, the plant uses its food reserves to produce new shoots. These reserves are often stored in the roots, so by forcing the grass plant to always grow new shoots reduces the food storage capacity of the plant. When the lawn is mowed high, there are plenty of leaf surfaces available to keep the plant healthy. This allows the grass to build up its food reserves and grow better roots, which means that the lawn will be greener and healthier.
As I have told countless customers over the last 38 years, the most important aspect in order to have a nice lawn is to mow high. Your lawn will be greener, healthier and less weed-ridden.
Here are the recommended mowing heights for the most common turfgrasses in the US: