Is It Possible To Cut My Grass Too Short?

Short answer? Yes.

You can forget any lawn-mowing myth that you’ve ever been told about, “the shorter you mow grass, the less often you’ll have to cut it.” That concept will do nothing but leave you prone to a problem-filled lawn. It doesn’t matter what side of the globe you’re on, every type of grass has an ideal mowing height. Maintaining your lawn at the ideal height is one of the surest ways you can expect to later be rewarded with a lush and healthy looking lawn, free of weeds, drought and disease.

What Is the Ideal Length to Cut My Grass?

Grass length varies between grass species, but you can expect the ideal minimum mowing height for most lawns to be between 2 1/2 to 3 inches. As a general lawn rule, no more than a third of the grass blade should be removed during a single mowing. When you mow your lawn, you’re also removing a portion of the leaf surface and roots where all the stored energy is stored; the same place that is also responsible for the plant’s food production. If you remove too much of the leaf surface on your grass, it can potentially impact root growth and starve the grass.

There’s nothing wrong with letting your grass grow in between cuttings. Now, letting it grow too long can put your lawn at the risk of creating a good habitat for insects and critters and cutting it too short can leave brown or bare spots on your lawn. Ultimately, your mowing frequency should depend on your lawn’s ideal height as mentioned above.

Fear you might be cutting your lawn too short? Don’t worry.

Applying a nitrogen or balanced fertilizer to a too-short area of grass can reinforce weak or vulnerable grass, but any routine of fertilizer application should be postponed until the lawn recovers. Occasionally watering your grass after you mow or whenever rainfall is inadequate is also another way you can help promote healthy growth and recovery.

Start New Lawn Habits Today

Start a new lawn habit by raising the mowing height and gradually reducing the height over time to prevent scalping. If the grass is repeatedly cut too short, it can deplete the grass’s energy reserves and even weaken or kill the grass, leaving it susceptible to weed invasion. Don’t forget about your lawn mower, though. Sharp mower blades are able to cleanly cut through grass blades, while dull blades can tear grass, leaving behind a frayed cut and brownish blade edge, vulnerable to disease.

In the early-spring and early-fall, you can expect your grass to grow quickly so don’t be alarmed if you suddenly find yourself mowing your lawn rather frequently. Grass can actually withstand a lower mowing height during these times, but don’t forget to adjust the mowing height during the summer when the growth starts to slow. A general rule of thumb, you can live by is to never mow more than one-third of your lawn’s total grass blade length in a single cutting.