Are you mowing your lawn often enough?

I had an unexpected, but not unwelcome job to do this Tuesday. I had stepped out, as I usually do, to quickly patrol my lawn to see if any dandelions had come up, so I could pull the flowers to stop them from seeding. To my surprise, the grass blades were up over my ankles! With the rain we just had, added to my regular watering, my lawn was recovering from the recent heat and dry spell and was growing super-fast.

Vigorous growth is a sign the lawn is doing well, so I was glad to see it. But an overgrown lawn attracts insects, blocks water and nutrients, and makes it hard for lawn care professionals to see and treat weeds. Plus, cutting overly-lengthy grass risks hurting the grass.

That evening I raised the mower to cut at four inches, and gave my lawn a trim under the warm, orange evening light. Normally I mow to keep the grass at around 2.5 inches, but to cut it that short from the length it had reached would be like sucker punching it in the gut. I don’t want my lawn to be weak, vulnerable and growing poorly right now. I have a corner lot, and there are still dandelion seed-puffs in the air. I’d just be asking for trouble. Only the top third of a blade of grass is safe to cut. Take off more than that in one go, and the grass will go into shock. Some blades could even die.

I’ll cut it again in four days, and lower the mower a notch. I should have my grass back to an optimum height of 3 inches next week and will be mowing every 5-7 days like my normal routine again.

It has been a hot, dry Spring in the Greater Toronto Area, and even the most carefully watered lawns are feeling it.  That same bright sun we are getting can allow properly watered and fertilized lawns to grow strong and thick, with deep root systems. Stay on the ball with all of your care though, or like me you’ll have to play catch-up with your mowing.