Great Reasons To Mow Higher

Michelle Wood, District Program Administrator

May 18, 2018

Some people love to mow, but I can think of lots of other things I’d rather do. Oh, I get that the lawn needs mowed periodically, but I certainly don’t do it recreationally. Our house is at the end of a long driveway and isn’t visible from the road. I wait until the side yard is knee high before I mow, and dodge the violets and spring beauties this time of year.  Plus I think moss is cool. My guess is that my idea of an acceptable lawn is different than most normal people.

But get this, mowing your lawn can be considered a conservation practice if you mow it higher. Plus, you will save time and money as a bonus.

A common myth is that mowing often and short results in a healthy lawn that grows back slower, when the opposite is true. When grass blades are mowed too short, the plants will not have enough energy stored to keep the entire plant healthy.

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The plants will try to build stronger energy reserves by putting all their effort into growing grass blades. This can lead to an increase in frequency of mowing because the grass blades are growing faster than the roots. A lawn maintained at a height of 3 to 4 inches provides many important benefits.

Tall grass blades allow the plant to have plenty of area to capture the sunlight. Sunlight provides part of the energy required to develop strong, tough plants and deep roots.

Tall grass blades also develop deeper roots which allow the lawn to withstand longer periods of heat and drought because the roots are able to find water and nutrients in deeper layers of the soil. The soil surface will not dry out as fast because it is supplied with constant shade from the grass blades. Deep roots extend far into soil allowing the water to flow laterally through the soil and are better able to absorb and filter water. This can reduce the amount of storm water runoff from your property compared to a lawn with thin and shallow grass roots.

A healthy, deep rooting system improves soil quality. As roots grow, they break up the soil, and improve the ability of the soil to absorb water.

Spend the extra time you aren’t mowing to sip a beverage of choice and congratulate yourself for adopting this easy conservation practice in your backyard.

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Michelle Wood, District Program Administrator

Michelle Wood, District Program Administrator

Michelle Wood oversees the day to day operations of the district and the diverse activities offered to promote clean water and healthy soil. With a lifelong passion for the outdoors and a background in communications, she appreciates the conservation district grassroots model which enables the local board and staff to create programs that meet the conservation needs of Holmes County.  Michelle is a member of several state and national committees.  Contact Michelle at 330-674-2811 or at mwood@co.holmes.oh.us