As a homeowner, you have a lot of areas around the house you need to maintain. None is probably more obvious than your lawn.
And unless you're going for the natural, prairie-grass look, you probably spend a lot of time pushing or riding your lawn mower across your yard.
But millions of homeowners across the country make the same mistake that affects the health of their lawn: they cut their grass too short!
Why Shouldn't I Cut My Grass So Short?
Unlike getting a short haircut in the summertime, keeping your lawn high and tight won't keep it cool and comfortable. Although you might be tempted to cut your lawn short like greens of a golf course, you shouldn't. In fact, cutting your grass too short can damage the soil and the grass itself.
By cutting grass too short, you remove a good portion of the blade. This is where photosynthesis occurs, which produces root and shoot growth. Grass that's too short also struggles to fight and defend against weeds, making your lawn susceptible to overgrowth.
Also, when you cut grass too short, the sun has easier access to the soil. In turn, it dries out the soil faster, making it a less-than-ideal environment for living, growing things.
How High Should I Cut My Grass?
It might not seem as efficient, but you should mow your lawn as close to high as possible. This is typically between 3-3.5 inches. The good news is most newer mowers have easy-to-use variable height adjustments so raising or lowering your blade or deck is simple.
Taller grass has more leaf blade which is crucial for a healthy, resilient lawn. Longer leaf blades means more photosynthesis for the grass. In turn, this makes the grass healthier, and more capable of fighting disease and invasive weeds.
The easiest way to make your lawn healthier and more attractive is to mow the grass higher. As a rule of thumb, never cut more than 1/3 of the grass at once.
Are Sharp Blades Important?
Over time, your lawn mower blades will lose their sharp edges. It doesn't matter if you use a reel mower or a zero turn; you'll eventually have to sharpen or replace your blades to keep them from leaving the tips of your grass blades torn, ragged, and brown.
Sharpening your blades is a recommended part of regular lawn mower maintenance and can be done with a handheld file. Be sure that your blades are balanced after you sharpen them and do not tip heavily toward one side.
However, the easiest solution is to buy a replacement blade. The sharp blade will clip the grass cleanly, rather than tear it, which damages the grass. Even if you prefer to sharpen your blades, having a backup mower blade on hand is handy in case of damage to the blade currently in use.