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Mow High To Keep Your Lawn Healthy

Imagine the trauma that your lawn suffers every time it’s mowed. Every time it starts to grow, the new growth is cut off. Actually, turfgrass takes these frequent mowings in stride, if they are done properly.

Properly means starting with a good, sharp blade. If you have ever tried shaving with a less than sharp blade, you can sympathize with many lawns that are subjected to this treatment week after week.

Second, mow high. There is a myth that, if you mow low, you won’t have to mow as often. This is strictly a myth. Unless you plan to putt on your lawn, there is no reason to cut it short. It is unhealthy and it requires more care. People with crew cuts or similar short haircuts need to go to the barber more often than those with longer hair. This is because the crew cut stands up straight and some hairs grow faster than others. The same is true for grass plants.

Aesthetics aside, it’s healthier for the grass to mow it three inches high in the summer. Then lower the mower to two inches or two-and-a-half inches for the last mowing of the season. Higher grass is thicker, which reduces the amount of space for weeds to sprout up between the blades of grass. Long, healthy blades of grass also discourage grubs. Like most landscape pests, these insects are adventitious. They seek out the weak, stressed and unhealthy plants. As a result, mowing high can reduce the need for weed and grub control.

I recommend the shorter cut on the last mowing of the season because the shorter blades of grass have less surface for turfgrass diseases that can attack lawns in the winter. See our  “Check Your Lawn For Winter Damage” blog for more on winter turf diseases.

Do you always mow your lawn in the same direction? It’s easy to get into that habit, but it isn’t good for the grass. If you usually mow from the house to the street, try mowing across the yard. Then mow on a diagonal. Notice the interesting patterns on natural turf baseball fields. Groundskeepers vary the direction from mowing to mowing. Sure, it adds interest to the fans, but it is also healthier for the grass.

Remember, your lawn is a living carpet. As such, it requires a different type of care than the carpet in your house. Follow these guidelines and you will have an attractive, healthy lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood.

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