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Best Summer Cut For Your Lawn – Long or Short?

If you get your hair cut short during the summer to beat the heat, don’t assume your lawn wants to be cut short too. Lawns actually fare the heat of the summer better when they are mowed no shorter than 3-4 inches. To many, seeing it that long is a culture shock, but the lawn will be healthier, and in the long run, it will save you time and money.

Having longer leaves provides more photosynthetic surface, allowing increased food production. In addition, longer leaves result in more robust clippings which will decompose and provide a natural fertilizer. This will reduce the need to apply chemical fertilizer, thus eliminating the expense of buying it and saving you time having to apply it.

Longer grass also encourages thicker turf, which discourages weeds. Weeds are lazy, opportunistic plants. If the grass is thin or there’s a bare spot, weeds will pick those areas to take root. That means you’ll have to take the time and/or spend the money to remove them. This may take the form of physically removing the weeds by pulling them, buying weed killer and applying it, or retaining our lawn care professionals to rid your lawn of weeds.

Thin turf or lawns with bare spots also attract insects like grubs and sod webworms. They know the thin grass won’t resist their attack as well as thick, healthy grass. When this occurs, more time and money is needed to control the insects and repair the damage.

Finally, going back to the hair analogy, it’s easier to keep longer grass looking nice than it is shorter grass. If you wear your hair short (in a brush, crew or buzz cut), for instance, you know that you have to go to the barber or stylist more often than if you wear it longer. With a shorter cut it is much more noticeable, when a few hairs grow faster than the rest. With longer hair you hardly notice. Likewise, when a lawn is mowed putting green short, all it takes is a couple of fast-growing blades of grass to make things looks raggedy and in need of another cut. In a lawn allowed to grow to 3 or 4 inches you won’t even notice those errant blades. If you don’t get a chance to mow it on time, nobody will know but you.

If you take my advice and mow long during the growing season, be sure to lower the mower to 2 or 2 ½ inches the last few times you mow it for the season. This will decrease the amount of leaf surface susceptible to the fungal diseases that attack lawns in winter.

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