How High Should I Cut My Grass?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask with regard to your lawn.  It’s natural to assume that you should cut it short every time you mow it, regardless of what length it is to start with.  This is particularly tempting to do if your lawn is long and straggly, and you long to have a decent bit of grass to walk on and relax on.

But this is the worst thing you can do.  Grass can easily go into shock and if you cut it too much this is exactly what will happen.  So instead, make sure you take a look at the current length before you actually think about mowing it.

Some people think long grass is a bad thing, and only a tight short lawn will do.  But interestingly enough, if your grass is longer the roots will grow longer as well.  The deeper the roots go the stronger they will be, and that in turn leads to good grass.  There are other things involved too of course, such as good aeration to allow water to permeate the lawn, but this is one of the basics.  If you don’t have a good root system you won’t have a very good lawn.

So if in doubt, make sure you cut your lawn higher than you would like to.  You’ll find also that you get fewer weeds by doing this as they won’t have as much room to grow.  Your lawn will also benefit from being slightly spongier thanks to the longer blades of grass.  This makes it more appealing to sit on, lie on and have the kids playing on as well.

A good rule of thumb to follow is the ‘one third’ rule.  No matter how long or short your grass is, never remove more than a third of it at a time.  If you remove more you will put the lawn at risk of being baked during the summer, as it won’t be able to withstand the higher temperatures.  Keeping the lawn cut to this ratio also means you don’t have to worry about the grass going into shock.

No matter when you cut your lawn or how much you take off, you should always rake your lawn after you have cut it.  If you don’t, you will end up with a higher chance of developing thatch.  This is basically a build up of dead stuff and grass cuttings that bed down and get caught up in the grass.  You don’t need anything on your lawn except for actual, real, growing grass.  Anything else should be removed.

You will have to keep a closer eye out for thatch forming if you do decide to keep the length of your grass higher all year round.  Because it is longer, thatch is more able to form easily without you seeing it, so make sure you don’t let it build up.

Whatever you do, don’t forget the one third rule. This is the best piece of advice to give anyone who is about to mow their lawn.

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