The 5 Benefits of Cutting Your Lawn at 3 Inches
It’s that time of year again! Sunshine and warmer temperatures are back in full swing, and we’re all starting to get ready for cookouts and kids playing in the yard. A beautiful and healthy lawn is a big part of that. Grass has to be cut regularly, but not too short – or it gets stiff, dry, and uncomfortable to be in. That brings us to a common question: what height should you cut the grass when you mow?
As a general rule of thumb, the best height for most of the cool-season grasses we have in the Midwest is about 3 inches or less. Each time you mow, you should also limit the amount you cut to the top third of the grass blade. So if you are shooting for 3 inches, it’s good to mow when your grass reaches about 4 inches. Below, you’ll find a few more guidelines to keep in mind when cutting your grass. They’ll save you time and energy and give you a healthier lawn!
- Tall grass (around 3 inches) grows more slowly and needs cut less frequently.
This is due to photosynthesis, which allows plants to convert light energy into chemical energy that can later be used as fuel. At three inches, every blade has plenty of surface area to collect the energy it needs from the sun, so it doesn’t have to grow as fast as when it’s short and needs more fuel.
- Longer grass reduces the amount of weeds.
The extra shade given off by long blades of grass helps prevent light from reaching weeds and crabgrass. Without light, the unwanted weeds can’t germinate, and you won’t have to put up with them taking root in your beautiful lawn.
- Taller grass reduces the need for watering.
Grass kept around three inches has the ability to grow blades and roots at the same time, very efficiently. These deep roots help your grass handle hot and dry summers because they have access to water stored deep within the soil. Tall grass blades also shade the soil, which reduces moisture evaporation while simultaneously cooling the crowns of the grass.
- Keeping your grass longer reduces disease and insect problems.
Long grass is healthy grass, and healthy grass resists diseases and insect issues. It can also serve as a sort of habitat for beneficial types of insects that minimize the amount of pest insects in the area.
- Cutting your grass too short can make it more likely to develop several diseases, due to less food reserves in the plant which make it hard to recover from stress and injury.
- Beneficial lawn insects include ants and spiders, and taller grasses keep them protected from predators.
- Tall grass reduces the amount of fertilizer your lawn needs.
Increasing grass height by even 1/8 of an inch can add about 300 square feet of surface area that your grass uses to collect energy. That number multiplies for each additional 1,000 square feet of lawn. More surface area on each grass blades equals an increased ability to produce food. This, in turn, reduces the need to fertilize your lawn.
Cutting your grass at 3 inches will help promote a lush and healthy lawn that is easy to maintain. It may even make you the envy of the neighborhood! When fall comes, you can always go back to a shorter height if you prefer it. For more help on maintaining a lush green lawn, stop in and talk with the experts at Snappy’s!