The Simple Rule That Makes Mowing Your Lawn Easier

Lawn care can often feel like an endless chore that stretches from early spring through late fall. While turf grass is relatively labor intensive, proper mowing practices not only make your life easier, but can also make your grass more resistant to stress and disease. One of the best guidelines to keeping your lawn easier to mow is to avoid removing more than one-third of the grass's height each and every time you mow. 

The advice to avoid mowing more than a third of your lawn's height is based on the fact that removing too much of a plant's height at once can shock the plant and pause its growth while it works to recover. Even though this doesn't usually kill the grass, it can make it more vulnerable to disease and weeds. Another downside to cutting more than a third of your lawn's height at a time is that you may have to then collect the grass clippings to avoid thatch build up instead of letting them break down naturally in the lawn. A build up of thatch (dead organic material) in your lawn can result in even more work for you, as you may then need to dethatch your lawn more often.

The best height to let your grass reach before mowing

While many pieces of advice for lawn care have changed over the years, the one -third guideline has been going strong for over 60 years. One major recommendation that has changed in the recent past is what the right length to mow your lawn at is. While homeowners used to be advised to keep their lawn at a height of around an inch and a half, that is no longer the case. This extremely short height actually makes lawns more vulnerable to weed pressure and causes it to be less tolerant to heat and stress.

The more common recommendation now is to cut your grass to a height of between 2 and 3 ¾ inches. To mow to this height while following the one-third rule, you should mow your lawn when it's between around 3 and 5 ½ inches, depending on whether you want to cut your lawn to the higher or lower end of the recommended range. This should allow your lawn to bounce back quickly from mowing, and in many cases, will create grass clippings you can leave on your lawn, as grass clippings of around an inch or less in size can be allowed to break down on lawns without damaging grass.