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How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?

mowing_lawnWhen it comes to mowing, many homeowners just pick a time frame, like once a week, and go with it. But is that right for your grass? Mowing your lawn too much or too little can ruin your lawn and waste all the time, money and effort you put into it.

Follow the One-Third Rule

The short answer is to mow when your lawn needs it, and to never cut more than one-third of the length off of the grass blades. So, if you want to cut your lawn down to a 3-inch height, you should let the grass grow to 4 - 4.5 inches before you mow. If your grass grows quickly, you’ll have to mow more often; less mowing is required when the grass is dormant or slow-growing.

These factors can affect how quickly your grass grows, and often to mow your lawn:

1. Weather and Seasons

Here in Kansas, warm-season grasses are common. They grow faster in the summer than the rest of the year. Cool-season grass grows faster in the spring or fall seasons. When your lawn grows fast, you may have to mow every 3 - 5 days, but you could stretch that out to about once every 7 - 10 days during periods of slower growth. You should be able to stop mowing for a few weeks or months during the winter.

2. Watering and Rainfall

Grass grows faster when it’s watered more, and many homeowners unknowingly over-water their lawns. Using the correct watering frequency and amount will encourage deep root growth, conserve water, help your grass withstand drought and allow you to mow less frequently. When it rains you will likely need to mow more often. Just be sure to wait for the grass to dry out before you mow, to prevent damage to your mower and your lawn.

3. Fertilization

Fertilizing your lawn will lead to faster growing grass, so plan to mow more often after using fertilizer.

4. Desired Length of Grass

When you need to mow and how often is also dependent on how long your grass should be. Cutting your grass too short can “scalp” your lawn and cause brown spots. Different types of grass have different ideal lengths, usually ranging from 1 to 3 inches. Research the ideal length for your grass type, then use the one-third rule to decide when to mow.

For lawn care information specific to Wichita and the surrounding area, the Sedgwick County Extension Office offers classes and online articles that are full of valuable tips and resources.