If your lawn is still in pretty good shape and you’ve fertilized recently, it’s a good idea to mow twice per week for about a month. The more often you mow, the better you grass will look. Plus, frequent mowing will help your lawn be more resilient to drought stress between your watering days.
People who grow grass for a living, like golf course and sports field managers, know that frequent mowing is one of the secret techniques they can use to get promotions.
So how often do you really need to mow?
Dr. Tony Koski, the Extension Turfgrass Specialist at Colorado State University, recommends during a drought never cutting off more than 3/4 of an inch of the grass blades each time you mow. That’s not very much growth between mowing days.
After you fertilize your grass in spring, it grows faster than normal. If you take care of your lawn on a year-round basis and it has suffered minimal drought stress, that could mean you need to mow twice or even three times per week in spring and early summer. I’m mowing my grass about every three days right now after fertilizing on Mother’s Day weekend.
Why does frequent mowing help?
The reason can be summed up in two words: less stress.
A good-looking lawn has a healthy balance between the leaves and the roots. As you may know, the leaves are little food factories for the roots because they photosynthesize. Roots grow best when they have a constant supply of food from the leaves.
Any time you mow, you cut off a portion of the leaves. If you mow often, there’s only a slight dip in the food production for the roots. The roots keep functioning as they normally do because the loss of food is small and doesn’t last very long.
On the other hand, if you let the grass get too long before you mow, there ends up being a drastic shortage of food for the roots. Here’s how.
When the grass is very tall and you mow it, you cut off a large portion of the leaves. After you mow, most the leaves that were supporting the roots are now gone, so the root functions slow way down.
Slowing root function is a bad thing, especially when it’s hot and we can’t water enough due to water restrictions. Roots take up water and nutrients, which are indispensible to the leaves. In addition, the grass also has to expend its energy to regrow the leaves, which makes it less able to deal with other stresses.
Less work after mowing
If you mow often, it’s also easier to clean up after you cut the grass. If you cut it before it’s grown much and recycle your clippings into the lawn, you don’t have to bag clippings or do any raking. Just push the mower back into your garage and your done!
But if you let the grass grow long then cut it, you have either bag the clippings or rake them into a pile. Then you’ve got to throw them away or compost them.
Once the weather warms up consistently in mid-June, the growth will slow down. Then you can go back to mowing once per week.
Try this technique and see how it works for you. I bet you’ll end up with a dense and attractive lawn that looks neat, tidy and uniform. For more basic mowing tips, click here.