Mowing your grass too short is one of the biggest mistakes made in lawn care. Homeowners typically think the shorter their grass is, the more groomed it will look, the less they will have to cut it, and the healthier it will be. But this is flawed thinking and is rooted in a few common misconceptions.
Experts consider 3” the ideal height for your grass. It is also ideal that you cut off no more than 1/3 of your grass blade at a time to avoid stressing your lawn. Of course, different grass species, different weather conditions, different soil types all call for different lawn care, but the universal rule is still 3” minimum. This height is ideal for healthy and thriving lawn. If you’re wondering why, here are a few reasons:
- Prevents scalping
Scalping is the practice of exposing the roots of your grass by cutting the blades too low. Though sometimes done strategically, scalping is never recommended and can be detrimental the health of your lawn. Since grass feeds from photosynthesis, cutting the blades too short limits the amount of energy the grass is able to absorb.
- Encourages deep roots
When you cut your lawn too short, your grass struggles to grow new, healthy blades. The energy used to grow new blades takes from the energy necessary to grow deeper roots. By keeping your blades at 3”, you not only allow your grass to soak up enough energy to grow healthy, lush blades, but to grow deep, strong roots.
- Slows growth
As stated earlier, grass feeds from photosynthesis. When you cut your blades too short, your grass is less able to absorb energy form the sun. To combat this, your grass must use its energy to grow its blades back quickly to survive. So the belief that cutting your grass shorter will allow you to cut your grass less is totally false. The practice has the exact opposite effect.
- Prevents dehydration
If grass is too short, there are no blades to shade the soil from the sun’s heat. This causes dry, brown grass. Though tall grass can bend with weight, prevent proper drying, and allow mold to thrive from excessive moisture, grass kept at around 3” avoids the threat of both thatched grass and dry grass.
- Chokes out weeds
Seeds for weeds are ever-present in any lawn. The benefits of 3” tall grass all combine to the ultimate benefit of preventing the growth of destructive weeds. Weed seeds need sunlight to germinate. With tall blades shielding the soil from the sun, weeds are unable to germinate and grow. And if the seeds do germinate, the deep, strong roots of your grass will choke out the roots of weeds before they can strengthen. A healthy, plush lawn leaves no room for unwanted weeds.