How short should I cut my grass? This is a frequently asked question and so we thought it would be a great one to blog about!
We all see beautifully manicured golf courses and we want that for our lawn. Right?Unfortunately, really short grass doesn’t work on the types of grasses we have in our lawns. I have seen a lot of skinned lawns in the last few weeks and it can stress a lawn out to be cut too short. There is a myth that keeping your grass short means you won’t have to mow it as often. But grass cut too short cannot naturally choke out weeds, is prone to heat stress and even drought. Here is an example of a Kentucky Bluegrass lawn cut unevenly and too short. In the upper left corner, you can see it is much longer after they adjusted the height of the mower.
Keeping your lawn longer will reduce heat stress which is necessary for Northern Colorado. It also reduces the need to water heavily because when the grass has more length it is able to photosynthesize more efficiently. Spotted Spurge also likes to grow in lawns cut too short. Leaving your lawn a little longer won’t allow the dreaded spurge to grow. Our rule of thumb for length is 3 inches.
Leaving your lawn too long can also be problematic. We have all had it happen to us when we went on vacation or after a rainy week like this one. No one likes to mow a lawn too long–hard work! It is also an ideal location for snakes or voles.
Follow the one-third rule. For a thriving lawn, never cut away more than one-third of the grass blade in any one mowing. If the grass “gets ahead of you” because of wet weather or your busy schedule, move up the cutting height of your mower to the highest possible setting and mow. If clippings are too long and heavy, even at that cutting height, catch them with the bagging unit or clean up after mowing with a leaf rake. Then move the cutting height back to your normal range and cut the lawn again a few days after that first mowing.
Keeping your grass at about 3 inches won’t stress out your lawn and will keep it healthy and strong. Let’s stop skinning our lawns!