When people see a big expanse of healthy green lawn, they see a great-looking, well-maintained property.
Plant all the colorful flowers you want, but if your lawn is scraggly, weedy or overgrown, everything looks bad.
Maybe you’re thinking now about the need for plenty of water, just the right amount of fertilizer and great tricks like aeration.
Here at Level Green Landscaping, we love all those things.
But the height your lawn is mowed is key to your turf health.
That's right. The simple act of how tall or short your grass is mowed makes a huge difference.
Level Green branch manager, Joey Schneider explains it all.
Different Grasses Have Different Needs
Level Green Landscaping crews mow at a height between 3.5 and 4 inches, Schneider says.
The height is tailored to the type of grass in this area — tall fescue.
“When a customer says their grass isn’t cut short enough, I ask them where they’re from,” Schneider says. “If they’re from Atlanta, where they have warm season grasses, they’re used to mowing it to two inches. Once I explain the different needs of our cool season grass, they understand.”
That One-Third Rule — And Why It Matters
You might have heard the rule that you shouldn’t mow more than one-third off the top of your grass at any one time. What’s the big deal?
Cutting more than a third of the blade causes your grass to put all its energy into growing more grass instead of toward the roots, Schneider says. The stronger the roots, the healthier the grass, making it more able to resist pests and diseases.
This is especially important in the spring, as newly awakened grass needs to deepen its roots in preparation for summer.
While some landscaping companies mow at a lower height so they don’t need to mow as often, Level Green crews stick to the 3.5 to 4-inch height for the healthiest grass. If you request a lower height, we’ll fill you in on the risks of mowing too low.
No Weeds, Please
“When you have taller grass, it’s harder for weeds to grow,” Schneider says. Taller grass provides shade, and weeds hate shade. They need sun to sprout and thrive, so keeping grass taller helps keep your turf weed free.
Taller grass develops a deeper, healthier root system, which means your lawn will need less watering.
Please Don’t Starve The Grass
Mowing removes the top growth of your grass, and that’s where photosynthesis — your lawn’s food production — takes place. Cut too much off, and the rest of your grass will be hungry. Food from the roots will be diverted to feed the hungry blades of grass, making for a weaker, more shallow root system.
No Scalping Allowed
No ground is perfectly level, Schneider says. Mow too short, and there's more of a chance of scalping the grass — cutting your grass so low that you expose the stems of your grass blades, weakening the lawn.
On cold spring mornings, mower tires lose some air pressure, he says, putting the mower blade closer to the ground. That can damage grass if you’re mowing it too short.
All the more reason to mow at a higher height.
In the summer, some people are tempted to lower the height of the mower in order to see clear mowing lines. They like the look of recently mowed grass. Cutting too low is especially harmful in the dry heat of summer. Resist temptation!
The One Exception
Level Green crews do mow at a shorter height for the last mowing of the season in autumn. It helps to chop up any remaining leaves, which provide nourishment and protection for the turf over the winter. This also keeps properties looking nice and tidy for the winter months.
But Don’t Let It Get Too Tall
Too short is bad. Too tall isn’t great, either. Think Goldilocks — you want your grass height just right.
If you wait until the grass is too tall before mowing, Schneider says, you get clumps of dead grass that will smother and kill the grass underneath.
If grass is too tall, Level Green crews will make two passes with the mower, he says, so not too much is taken off in one mowing.
Trust Your Turf Height To Level Green
Maybe you didn’t realize mowing height was so tricky — and so important.
We’ve got you covered. Our crews are mowing pros, and we time your property’s mowing for the healthiest, happiest lawns.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.
Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC, and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We’d love to hear from you.