Most landscape maintenance routines include a regular mowing schedule. If you manage a commercial property of any type this is an important part of keeping your landscape looking well groomed. With that in mind, we’d like you to take a moment and think about a factor that goes into your mowing routine that you may not have given much thought in the past. What is the ideal mowing height?

A common misconception for property managers and landscapers alike is that the shorter you cut the grass, the less you have to mow. This notion is absolutely FALSE. Let us explain.

Grass has an “ideal height” that it is always seeking to be. That height is about 4 inches.

When you cut the grass to 2 inches, it naturally speeds its growth rate until it reaches 4 inches. Once it hits that “ideal height,” it automatically slows its growth down.

SO when you mow grass short frequently, what you’re really doing is forcing the grass to grow faster and promoting shallow roots, which causes an onslaught of issues for your turf. There are 3 big reasons you should raise your mowing height that will positively affect your maintenance routine AND your budget. 

3 reasons to raise your mowing height

1. You won’t have to mow as often

The reality is that grass is a living organism and what are all living things programmed to do? Reproduce. When you cut your grass too short it is constantly working to regrow and when you’re accustomed to a very short look, even slight growth is very noticeable – it’s the 5 o’clock shadow of landscaping. So you’re forced to get back on the mower sooner than later.

2. You will spend less on irrigation water and help avoid disease and weed problems

When grass is so focused on growing up, it loses focus on growing down, resulting in shallow roots. Shallow rooted lawns are prone to disease and weed problems. They are unable to retain water so you’ll find yourself having to irrigate in excess (also very bad for the health of your landscape) in an attempt to get your dried out grass looking green.

3. You will reduce soil compaction, erosion, and runoff

It may seem obvious, but grass serves more than simply an aesthetic purpose. It acts as nature’s canopy for the soil underneath it. When you take away that canopy by mowing it too short, rain and irrigation water have a straight shot to the surface of your soil. With a little time, this inevitably creates soil compaction (hard, coarse soil) and causes erosion and runoff problems.

The ideal mowing height

The ideal strategy with mowing is to grow the turf to 5 inches and cut to 4. This scenario will create the least amount of stress on the grass and soil, while still giving you the clean look of a well groomed landscape. This is the way you can really create a more self-sustaining lawn as you will be able to mow less frequently, use less irrigation water, and avoid hazards like weeds, infection, erosion and runoff.

Happy growing!

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