Mowing Matters: How your mowing practices may be causing problems with your lawn

One of the most important things you can do to help keep your grass thicker and greener while minimizing weeds and fungal diseases during the stress of summer is to mow it at its proper height. The proper height for Fescue is 3″-3.5″. The only times we recommend cutting it lower is the first time you mow in late winter and just before your fall renovation. A little shorter in the spring and fall when temperatures are consistently below 80 degrees is probably ok, but not too low or you may be compromising root growth during critical periods when your turf needs to build its strength. When daytime temperatures start flirting with the 80 degree mark, it is time to raise up the mower deck.

Keeping Fescue grasses long has several benefits.
  • It shades the soil from the sun, which keeps your grass’s roots moist longer. 
  • The shaded soil also prevents some weed seeds from germinating and sprouting. In our experience, homeowners who mow their lawns lower than 3 inches usually have more weed problems. 
  • Cutting Fescue higher reduces the stress on the turfgrass plant, which makes it less susceptible to fungal disease and drought stress.
  • Keeping the grass higher, allows the turfgrass plant to focus its energy on growing deeper, stronger roots rather than on recovering from close cutting. 

While some people have a preference for a shorter lawn, in our experience Fescue lawns that are mowed higher stay nicer through the growing season than those mowed lower, which tend to suffer more damage from heat, drought, and disease during the summer. If you mow your own lawn, set your mower at 3″-3.5″. If a lawn service is cutting your grass too low, ask them to cut it higher.

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