A healthy, well-manicured lawn is essential for a beautiful property and a pleasant outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy. But maintaining a healthy lawn requires more than just watering and fertilizing! Mowing and trimming are two essential practices that play a critical role in promoting a lush and vibrant lawn, and they do much more than simply keep up appearances.
We’ll cover how to mow and trim the lawn to the proper height, how often to mow and trim, why it’s important to remove grass clippings, how mowing and trimming the lawn makes it healthier, and finally, how to simplify maintenance—so you can focus on getting it just right.
How to Mow and Trim the Lawn to the Proper Height
In order to achieve (and maintain!) a beautiful, lush lawn, it’s essential to mow and trim it to the proper height. It’s just a basic prerequisite for proper growth and overall health.
The recommended cutting height for cool-season grass is 2.5-3 inches and 3-4 inches for warm-season grass. But be wary if this is much lower than you expected! If your grass is much longer, it might take a few passes to get it down to its proper height. That’s because it’s important to never remove more than 1/3 of the blade height in one mowing session. For example, if recommendations call for a 2” mowing height, the grass should be mowed when it gets to 3” in height.
Also, be sure to be wary of over-mowing. It’s important to always leave as much leaf surface as possible, so that photosynthesis can occur at the optimal rate, particularly in a grass that’s subject to environmental stresses. Mowing below the recommended height can also cause long-term damage and make the grass more susceptible to other stress factors such as drought, disease, and insects.
Since precision is clearly key, be sure to mow using the right equipment, such as a sharp mower blade and trimmer with a clean edge. The right tools make all the difference.
How Often to Mow and Trim the Lawn
Just like cutting height, mowing frequency also determines the health and appearance of your lawn’s grass. During the growing season, it is advised to mow at least once a week, while during the dormant season, mowing frequency can be reduced.
But not so fast. That once-a-week recommendation is subject to change based on a few factors, including the growth rate and utilization of the grass.
A grass’s growth rate is influenced by various factors such as species, season, weather conditions, and level of management. In some regions, grass may require year-round mowing, while in others, mowing is only required during the spring, summer, and fall.
The utilization of grass refers to how the grass is used. Grass that is subjected to athletic use, for example, will require more frequent mowing to prevent potential injuries and to improve playing conditions, whereas low-use lawns would need less frequent mowing.
Don’t Forget to Clean Up that Cleaned Up Lawn!
Mowed down to the right grass height, at the right frequency? Great job, but you’re not done quite yet. One step that is often forgotten is removing grass clippings after mowing and trimming, and this step is absolutely essential to preventing something called thatch.
How Does Mowing and Trimming Contribute to a Healthy Lawn?
The benefits of mowing and trimming your lawn properly go deep, including strengthening roots, enhancing appearance, preventing weeds and pests, addressing erosion, and getting the most out of maintenance.
A Good Trim Resonates Down to the Roots
By properly mowing and trimming your lawn, you’re promoting strong root growth and a lush appearance. That’s because this process allows the grass to receive the necessary nutrients and sunlight for optimal root growth.
Mowing at a proper height allows the grass to retain more of its leaf blade, providing a greater surface area for photosynthesis and energy production. A deeper root system also develops in response to higher mowing heights, providing greater tolerance to stressors such as drought, insects, disease, and temperature fluctuations.
The result is a perfect balance between the growth of leaves and roots, and ultimately a stronger, more resilient lawn.
Appearances Aren’t Deceiving
Trimming the edges of the lawn helps create a clean and well-defined appearance. Staying on top of this process helps maintain the desired shape and size of the lawn, preventing it from growing into surrounding areas such as walkways or gardens.
In addition to ensuring that the lawn has a well-manicured appearance, regular trimming also eliminates any overgrown, uneven, or even dead grass blades.
The neat look that properly mowing and trimming your lawn can achieve might even help keep you on good terms with your neighbors, as homeowner’s associations often set regulations regarding lawn maintenance and grass height. And having happy neighbors is no small perk!
Disease and Pests Beware!
Because regular mowing and trimming helps keep the grass healthy and strong, it also helps to prevent the spread of diseases and pests. As we’ve covered, strong root growth makes grass more resilient against these stressors. But what might be surprising to learn is that maintaining a proper mowing routine also allows for early detection of diseases or insect infestations.
Spotting signs of lawn diseases, such as brown patches and fungal diseases, and insect infestations, such as chinch bugs, white grubs, or simply evidence of dug-up areas, is easier with regular mowing and inspection. And this is important, as these issues can quickly spread and, if left untreated, cause significant damage to the lawn. For example, those white grubs can rapidly destroy your yard by attacking your grass at the roots, and fungal diseases can spread and suffocate your lawn.
When it comes to diseases and pests, early intervention is everything. Proper mowing and trimming keeps you tuned in.
Soil Erosion? No Problem.
Get this: properly mowing and trimming your lawn actually prevents against soil erosion, too. Here’s how it works. When grass is mowed at the appropriate height and frequency, it encourages the roots to grow deep into the soil, anchoring the plant and preventing it from being easily uprooted by wind and water. This, in turn, helps to prevent soil erosion by keeping the soil intact and reducing runoff.
By maintaining a healthy, dense lawn, mowing and trimming also help to reduce the amount of bare soil exposed to wind and water, which further reduces the risk of erosion. Healthy soil, healthy grass.
Mow to Make the Most Out of Maintenance!
Mowing and trimming properly also helps make the most out of maintenance. This is because it allows for better penetration of water and nutrients to your lawn’s root system. By keeping the grass blades at the appropriate length, they are less likely to overlap and shade the ground, which can reduce the amount of light, moisture, and nutrients that reach the soil and roots, and promotes better growth.
Want an Even Healthier Lawn? Take Maintenance One Step Further.
Now you know that mowing and trimming are essential practices for maintaining a healthy lawn. But while this is currently non-negotiable labor (even robot lawn mowers aren’t quite there yet!), you can simplify your maintenance in other tech-forward ways.
The OtO device is a cost-saving, ultra-convenient, and versatile lawn care treatment system that works automatically to provide a hassle-free lawn care experience. Using a combination of irrigation and nutrients to promote healthy lawn growth, this device can be programmed to adjust treatment according to the changing needs of the lawn and weather conditions. The device is also environmentally friendly and non-toxic, making it a safe choice for families and pets.
By using the OtO device, you can know most of the lawn maintenance is taken care of, and get more time to focus on the more physical work: properly mowing and trimming your lawn. The result? A healthy and attractive lawn, sure to thrive for years to come.