Lawn Maintenance: How Low Should You Cut Your Grass?

Posted by: on April 21st, 2012 | One Comment
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With spring upon us, depending on where you live, you could be facing two full seasons of regular lawn maintenance. So how often should you trim your lawn? A better question, it turns out, is not how often, but how low.

Lawn maintenance experts recommend that you trim no more than a third off the total leaf length of your grass. The reason is thatch.

The upper portion of a blade of grass is largely composed of water. When clipped, it rapidly breaks down in your yard. Cutting below the upper third lets tough stems and sheaths fall to the base of the grass where they eventually form a dense woven mat of dead plant matter called thatch. Over time, thatch can build to levels that damage your lawn and let disease take hold.

This is where thatch forms. Photo by SidewaysSarah.


To avoid problems with thatch, mow your yard when grass is no more than a third taller than you want it. This means that for a lush but contained carpet of two-inch grass, you’ll want to mow when the grass stands three inches. Regular raking with a thatch rake can help break up thatch before it gets out of hand.

The desire to save time and effort by cutting your lawn shorter can actually be counterproductive. A grass plant needs blades for photosynthesis, the process that converts sunlight into energy. Grass that’s clipped too close to the stem may end up replenishing its blades more quickly to make up for the loss. At the end of the day, that means you work harder only to mow just as frequently as you would have had you let your lawn grow to a more attractive height.

When you’re ready to start mowing, check out The Home Depot’s Outdoor Power Equipment for the latest riding and walk-behind mowers. For more lawn maintenance tips from the experts and exclusive Home Depot discounts, join our Garden Club. It’s free!

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  1. Fernando Sanchez says:

    I would like to know which one is the best and convenient Comercial lawn mower> for a small lanscaping business