People often ask, “What height should I cut my lawn?” But they don’t always like the answer because it clashes with the way they’ve traditionally done things. We now know much more about what’s healthy, and we know, especially in the summer, mowing your lawn too short can cause a lot of damage. 

Longer is generally better

The short answer is that a longer lawn is better than a short lawn (when looking at the 1.5 to 4 inch range that is common), especially during the summer. People often prefer the look of a short lawn, because it has a fresh, clean look about it. But it can harm your lawn in multiple ways. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Weeds are given a window: When grass is short, the sun can more easily reach the ground. Seeds from other plants, like weeds, will then have a chance of receiving the sunlight they need. Don’t give it to them. 
  2. You have to cut more often: Grass that has been allowed to grow to a healthy length has more surface area to perform photosynthesis, and it can get the energy it needs from the sun. So, longer grass doesn’t feel the need to grow as quickly, but shorter grass is constantly trying to grow to expand its surface area. 
  3. Water is dried up by sun: Lawns with short grass also have trouble keeping the ground moist. With the sun able to beat through, the dirt’s moisture is quickly eliminated and then can’t be used by the grass. 
  4. Shorter roots: With all the effort made to growing upwards, after being constantly cut short, the grass will not be able to focus energy as much on growing deeper. This, coupled with the dry ground, will make short lawns unable to get the moisture they need. 

Don’t stress your lawn; keep it long

All the things listed above lead to a dry, weak, unhealthy, weed-prone lawn. While there is no magic number for all lawns (because it varies by season, grass-variety and region), you generally shouldn’t cut your grass shorter than 3 inches. This is double the old 1.5 inch recommendation that was common before we knew better. 

Also, if the grass hasn’t been cut in a long time, don’t bring it down all at once. It’s recommended to take no more than one third of total length off the grass at any given mowing. Doing more than this can be a shock to the grass and harm the lawn. 

Anthony’s is Bloomington’s lawn care expert

As we said, 3 inches is just a general benchmark. Summer lawns should be allowed to stay a little longer, certain varieties can be left shorter, and many other factors come into play as well. If you need a local Bloomington, Indiana, expert to give a professional opinion on how long your lawn should be mowed, give us a call at (812) 929-9463, and we’ll be happy to take a look.