I'm going to be honest here. Before I married Kyle, I didn't even know that I could change the height on my lawn mower. I thought that lawns came in two lengths: Mowed and Not-Mowed. I also had the world's worst looking lawn.
It turns out, the length you cut your grass actually has a lot to do with the health of your lawn, which is why the number one piece of advice we give to homeowners is to cut your grass long. Our recommended length is 3 1/2 to 4 inches. This is important and people so often get it wrong. Personally, if I didn't know any better, I would just cut it as low as I possibly could, thinking that I wouldn't have to mow as often. Then again, I'm the girl who runs her gas tank down to fumes, because that means I won't have to fill it as often. Right?
Cutting your grass to at least 3 1/2 inches makes for a healthier, better-looking lawn, and believe it or not, it is a totally natural way to control pests and weeds. So, what does it do, and why does it work?
It just looks better. The tops of the grass blades are the healthiest and greenest. Keeping the grass long will cover up the yellower sections on the bottom, and also help disguise any patches where the grass is thinning. Think of it like a combover for your lawn, but like, way classier.
Avoid scalping. A lawn gets "scalped" when it's cut too short, often on uneven ground, causing damage to the turf. In mild cases the grass turns brown for a while and then eventually heals itself. If the scalping is bad enough though, it may require a full lawn repair or rehab to get it to come back.
Water retention. Longer grass helps to keep the water in the soil for longer without evaporating. That means watering less often, which is great for the environment (and your water bill).
Stronger root system. We all learned in biology (thanks, Mr. Reinke) that photosynthesis happens in the green parts of the plants. That means that the more green stuff is showing, the more food the plant can make. When the grass is getting plenty of sunlight up top, it can focus its energy on growing its root system instead of trying to grow more grass blades. Healthier roots means more durable turf, and...
Pest tolerance. A more robust root system means that it can stand up to pests and fungus a lot better. All lawns have grubs in them. Lawns with more root mass will not brown nearly as quickly due to grub damage, and need to be treated far less.
Weed control. One of the biggest benefits to raising your mower blades is that the longer grass shades the earth and lowers the soil temperature. A shaded soil surface prevents weeds like crabgrass, clover, and dandelions from germinating. Plus the stronger root system will crowd out any weeds making it difficult for them to take over.
Want proof? Check out this side-by-side comparison of two lawns. Literally the only difference between the two is how they are mowed. Click it, you won't be disappointed.
That's a lot of reasons to mow your grass high! It makes the lawn look awesome, and it is a totally natural weed and pest control, which means fewer pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides used on your lawn. That's great for the earth, and your wallet!