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mowing height matters

Chances are you aren’t “that guy” out in his front yard on his hands and knees on a weekend afternoon, clutching scissors and trimming grass blade by blade to make sure it’s even.

But if you’re a homeowner with a manicured landscape, you’re probably at least a little bit concerned with how your lawn looks, how uniform the turf is and even how straight your mower’s lines are across the length of your lawn.

Mowing, in reality, is a lot like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears — particularly when it comes to proper mowing height.

Why is a proper mowing height important?

If you cut your grass too short, you risk creating a shallow root system and turf that lacks density and needs lots of chemicals to prevent weeds, pests and other annoyances that go along with stressed lawns.

If you leave your grass too long, it can look sloppy and become a breeding ground for pests and even small rodents (yuck!). It can also be harder to mow when you do pull the mower out of the shed.

Grass that’s mowed juuuuuuust right is low-maintenance and drought tolerant. In general, you should follow what’s known as the “one-third rule”: Never cut off more than a third of the height of a blade of grass.

How high should I mow my grass?

Cool-season grasses are best suited to New York’s climate and environment, and there are three varieties that are most popular.

  • Kentucky bluegrass: ¾-inch to 3½ inches
  • Perennial ryegrass: ¾-inch to 2½ inches
  • Fine fescue: ½-inch to 3 inches

You’ll notice that each of these types of grass have a proper mowing height range. During hot weather (or any time your lawn is stressed), you should actually keep the grass as long as possible. When it’s healthy and actively growing, you can mow to lower heights in that range.

Overall, though, it’s best to maintain grass at its tallest recommended mowing height. Tall grass has deeper roots and helps shade soil to prevent water loss and pests. Cool-season grass — like those that grow best in New York and Connecticut — grow best at taller heights anyway.

Other tips for mowing

Keep your blades sharp. Not only will it make your job of mowing easier; it’s all-around better for your lawn. The same goes for moisture: Always mow when your grass is dry. Mowing a wet lawn will create a big mess.

And to protect your lawn mower, as well as the environment, do your mowing in the cooler part of the day.

Finally: Those crisscrossed mower lines are not just pretty to look at; they’re also better for your lawn! Mowing in alternating patterns and directions actually help you avoid ruts and compacted soil that are detrimental to the health of your landscape.

If you’re planning a fresh start with a new landscape or need a little help maintaining your existing landscape, contact the professionals at Neave Group. Call us at (845) 463-0592, or fill out the web form on this page to have someone on our staff contact you.

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