A stunning, well-manicured lawn helps set the stage for your property and provides the perfect backdrop that makes all your other yard features pop. It also provides a cool, refreshing cushion for lounging on a blanket under a tree or to just run barefoot through the yard on a hot summer’s day.
Did you know that according to various real estate agents, the lawn quality is one of the first things that buyers notice before entering the property, which can also help increase the value of your home?
Obtaining and maintaining a healthy, lush lawn entails implementing correct mowing habits to help keep weeds, discoloration, bald patches at bay, and your grass looking its best. To answer the question does mowing grass stimulate growth? It does.
Mowing the lawn helps remove any dead grass, which helps reveal the fresher layer of grass underneath, resulting in brighter, greener grass. However, when it comes to how often you should mow your grass to help keep it vibrant, the frequency differs for each lawn, depending on various factors, including:
The Climate or Time of Year
The rate at which your grass grows often depends on the climate in which you live. For instance, individuals who live in warmer climates will most likely have to mow the lawn more frequently than those who live in colder climates because grass grows faster in warmer climates.
The onset of the warmer seasons will also affect when you begin mowing the grass; however, this onset will vary between individuals as the more temperate seasons occur at different times throughout the country and beyond.
The type of grass you have will also affect how often you need to mow the lawn. There are two primary two types of grass: cool-season grass and warm-season grass.
Warm-season grass thrives most in warmer, milder temperatures, which means you will have to mow your lawn more frequently during the hotter seasons, while cool-season grass thrives more during the colder months, which means it will need to be mowed more frequently during the fall.
The season type of your grass will also impact how much you should allow it to grow before you cut it. For instance, warm-season grass should be cut once it grows 2 inches in height, while cool-season grass can grow up to three and a half inches before it must be mowed.
No matter where you live, on average, you will find the rate at which you need to mow the grass will begin to decline as fall approaches and temperatures start to drop. When to stop mowing the lawn in the fall depends on when the grass ceases to grow. You will know the grass growth is declining when how often you need to mow slows from about once a week to once a month.
The Lawn Height
Before mowing your grass, it is important to first ensure that it is at the proper height. If the grass is too short, it can diminish the root system’s ability to efficiently absorb nutrients and water, which can lead to unhealthy, discolored grass. On the other hand, allowing the grass to grow too high before cutting it can make your yard appear unkept and messy and also allow weeds to grow.
Generally, you want to cut your grass when it reaches between 3 1/2 to 3 inches in height; however, it also depends on the grass type, so be sure to research the ideal height for mowing your particular kind of grass for best results.
The 1/3 Rule
The 1/3 rule applies to cutting overgrown grass. When your lawn has become overgrown, it may be tempting to mow it all down at once; however, this can shock the grass and cause it to become brown. When too much of the grass blade is removed at once, it rob’s the grass of essential nutrients, thereby causing the grass to become malnourished, which in turn leads to discoloration.
It can also cause the lower parts of the grass to become weather-beaten, especially if it is the first time you are cutting the grass during the summer. When grass grows very tall, it provides shelter from direct sunlight for the base of the grass; therefore, when you cut the grass, the lower half of the grass isn’t used to the hot sun, which can cause it to become sunburned.
Typically, once you mow the lawn, you can leave the grass clippings sitting on the grass. These clippings will fertilize your grass by providing it with the nitrogen it may be lacking. Then, once the grass clippings disintegrate, they add their rich nutrients back into the soil.
Cutting too much tall grass at once causes excess clippings that can suffocate your lawn and cause clumping. Clumping makes your lawn appear unappealing if not removed. Hence, you should only remove 1/3 of the grass’s height at a time when mowing your lawn to help maintain the health of your grass.
If your lawn is significantly overgrown, cut the grass more often, or about once a week, but only removing 1/3 the height of the grass each time, until the grass is the height that you prefer.
The Rate of Growth
The faster the grass grows, the more often it will need to be cut. Therefore, if you fertilize your lawn more often, especially with a nitrogen fertilizer, the faster the grass will grow, and the more frequently it will need to be mowed.
Watering your grass more frequently, or if you are in a rainier climate, will also cause the grass to grow much faster, which will require it to be cut more often. On the other hand, if you cease or significantly decrease watering the grass, the less the grass will grow, which means the less it will require mowing.
However, on average, mowing your lawn at least once weekly during the growing season should be enough to keep your grass healthy. Otherwise, cut the grass every two weeks or so to help keep it vibrant.
The Amount of Sunlight
If you have a large yard with lots of grass, some of it may be shielded from the sun by your house or various trees, which means the grass may not grow as rapidly in those areas and less mowing will be required. However, the portion of the lawn that is in direct sunlight may need to be cut more often because sunlight causes grass to grow quicker.
The Type of Grass
The type of grass you have will also determine how often you cut your grass.
For instance, some people like their lawn mowed extremely low for that clean, golf course look; however, this requires a specific variety of grass with a short root system. It also requires more watering in addition to fertilizer to maintain, which means it will need to be cut more often.
On the other hand, some people prefer taller grasses, which allow wildflowers to grow. They also save more time and energy because they don’t need to be mowed as often. All you need to mow is an edge or a single path through the grass for easy entry. Most taller grasses also require just 4 inches to allow many flower species to grow, including daisies and more.
For the most part, the most common types of grass, including their ideal mowing height, are as follows:
- Bermuda grass: 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches
- Bermuda grass (hybrid): 1/2 to 1 inch
- Kentucky bluegrass: 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches
- Centipede grass: 1 to 2 inches
- Buffalo grass: 2 to 3 inches
- Bentgrass: 1/4 to 1 inch
- Blue grama grass: 2 to 3 inches
- Fescue (tall grass): 2 to 3 inches
- Fescue (fine grass): 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches
- Bahiagrass: 2 to 3 inches
- St. Augustine grass: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches
- Zoysia grass: 1 to 2 inches
- Ryegrass (perennial): 1 1/2 to 2 inches
- Ryegrass (annual): 1 1/2 to 2 inches
For best results, allow the grass to grow approximately 1/3 higher than the recommended mowing height before cutting it. For instance, if it is recommended that you cut your grass to 1 inch high, you should allow the grass to grow at least 2 inches in height before mowing it.
More Tips for a Beautiful, Healthy Lawn
Mowing New Grass
New grass is extremely vulnerable, which means it can easily be destroyed if mowed incorrectly. Hence, it should be cut differently than the rest of your lawn. You should even avoid cutting the new grass until it has reached at least 3 inches high, and mow it less often than the rest of your grass. You should also avoid any activity in the area as much as possible until the new grass has been allowed to grow a safe height.
Mowing the Lawn in Extreme Temperatures
Intense hot or cold weather slows the growth of grass. Therefore, during extreme temperatures, you should hold off on cutting the grass and instead allow it to remain high to protect the roots and lower parts of the grass.
In fact, during extreme heat, taller grass helps shield the lower parts of grass from the sun’s intense heat, which also helps trap moisture for the grass to thrive on. Meanwhile, allowing the grass to remain tall during the colder months helps retain warmth in the soil, which helps prevent frost from accumulating as well as helps prevent moss growth.
During extreme heat, the grass may also turn yellow, which is just a sign that it is trying to sustain itself, so you should also avoid cutting the grass during these times, as well. Instead, try watering your lawn before the sun rises to allow the moisture to penetrate and quench the soil.
Watering the grass while the sun is out can cause the water to evaporate, which wastes water. Furthermore, the water can intensify the heat similar to a magnifying glass, which can cause the grass to burn, thereby weakening it, which can make it more vulnerable to various grass diseases.
When cutting the grass during the colder months, it is essential to wait until the ground conditions are favorable before mowing the lawn to prevent destroying your lawn as well as your mower. The ground should always be dry before cutting, and you should avoid mowing the grass while it is damp.
Mowing the Lawn While Using Fertilizer
Fertilizer, along with plenty of water and sunlight, helps keep your lawn in its best condition. However, when applying fertilizer, it is best to do so once the lawn has been mowed to allow it plenty of time to absorb before the next cutting.
So, there you have it. Does mowing grass stimulate growth? Yes. However, keeping your grass cut at an ideal height and making sure you don’t remove too much are the keys to maintaining a plush, bright lawn. Because grass grows differently depending on the season, the height of the grass should vary throughout the year.
During the warmer months, cut grass every two weeks for optimal health, while as the weather changes and temperatures begin to drop, you may only have to mow the lawn once a month. This will also indicate when to stop mowing the lawn in the fall because there will be a decline in grass growth.