Why It’s Bad to Cut Your Grass Too Short

April 8, 2022

Virtually all homeowners want a lawn that is healthy and attractive – that looks cared for. Many enjoy working on their property to keep it looking its best, and even those who don’t enjoy it very much recognize that a certain amount of labor is necessary to keep their lawns in good condition. One characteristic that unites all of these homeowners (and non-homeowners, too) is that we’re all extremely busy and wish we had more time.

One common way that people try to save time is setting the height of their mower blade as close to the ground as possible. Shorter grass blades will take longer to grow to a height at which they’ll need to be cut again. Less mowing means less energy consumption and more free time to devote to other activities, like reading blog posts. 

Unfortunately, this is a false economy. Cutting your grass too short can lead to serious health problems for your grass that can also affect its appearance, and you’ll probably spend more time and money addressing those issues than you saved with infrequent mowing.

Why Does Cutting Height Matter?

Keeping your grass short makes its life more difficult. A smaller surface area permits less exposure to air and sunlight, which means less photosynthesis and less energy. A weakened blade leads to weakened roots, which are more vulnerable to insects and diseases. If damaged grass begins to die off, the resulting space will be hospitable to weeds.

You’ll know you’re cutting too short if brown and tan patches begin to appear on grass blades.

What Height Should Be My Goal?

Once the weather warms up, most types of grass should be kept between two and two and a half inches. It is best to remove no more than 1/3 of a grass blade at a time, so allow your lawn to grow to at least three inches in height between mowings. This will allow the cycle we described above to happen in reverse: A longer blade can absorb more light and produce more nutrition, which will strengthen the roots. That in turn will improve the appearance of the blade visible above ground and the health of the plant overall.

When temperatures start to cool in the fall, the peak growing season is winding down, and you can feel free to lower your blade height a little.

Two extra mowing tips: First, sharpen your mower blade regularly. A dull blade will tear grass blades rather than cutting them cleanly, and their ends are likely to turn brown as a result. Second, that same damage is likely to occur if you cut grass while it’s wet. It’s much better to wait for drier conditions.Southern Lawns provides everything your lawn needs to stay healthy and look great, from fertilization to pest control – except mowing. But we know quite a bit about it, so if you have questions about techniques or problems, or any other aspect of lawn care, please call 334.203.2398 or e-mail us at sales@southernlawns.net.