When summer is here, you probably want to be out enjoying your lawn as much as possible. However, it can be hard to enjoy your grass when it is not lush, green, and looking its best.
If you like your grass cut short, or just want to keep on top of lawn maintenance, you might be wondering, “can I mow my lawn every day”?
Most lawns do not grow quickly enough to support everyday mowing. The average time required between lawns for most homeowners is 3-7 days. The answer to how often you should mow your lawn is based more on how long the grass is rather than how long ago you last cut it. How fast your grass grows will depend on how much water, sun, and nutrients it receives.
How often you cut your grass will depend on the environmental factors, how long you like your lawn to be, and how well developed the root system currently is.
A New Lawn
If you are in the process of starting a new lawn, whether from seed or sod, you need to let the root system develop.
There are some grass basics you should know when it comes to cutting a new lawn. Most importantly: to establish a healthy lawn that can weather the coming season, it will need a healthy root system.
There are two parts of the grass plant that come into the equation when talking about mowing the grass: the root and the blade. This applies when mowing a new lawn as well as an established one.
The blade is the leaf of the grass plant. The leaf is the part of the plant primarily responsible for photosynthesis. The blade of the grass is how the lawn makes its food from the building blocks of nutrients and sunlight.
When you cut the blades of grass in your lawn, the plants go into crisis mode to regrow the leaf. They focus most or all (more on this later) of their resources on growing the blade so that they can produce enough food with the nutrients they gather from the soil, atmosphere, and sunlight.
Focusing their growth on the blade of the plant structure means that the plants have taken resources away from growing their root system. On a lawn with a highly developed root system, this is a manageable shift. However, a new lawn may not have enough of a root structure to provide the nutrients needed to regrow the cut blades of grass.
The roots are responsible for gathering water and nutrients from the soil, which the grass will use to survive and grow. If you cut a new lawn too soon, it may not have a root system that is developed enough to support the stress of being cut.
Let a new lawn grow to at least 3 ½ or 4 inches in height before you cut it for the first time. At this height, the grass should have a well-developed root system that can support the lawn during the stress of being mowed.
It can take up to 8 weeks or more, depending on the climate, for a new lawn to reach this height.
You also do not want to cut the grass too short on this mow. A new lawn needs the ability to make a lot of food so that it can grow and be healthy. If you cut the blade too short, it will not have enough surface area for photosynthesis, and you will deprive the plant of the much-needed fuel for growth. Do not cut more than one-third of the blade off at a time.
An Established Lawn
A well-established lawn with a thriving root system and can handle being cut more often. Cutting the grass once per week is the average amount of time needed between mows. Some lawns that grow quicker will require more frequent cutting, while those that grow slower will require less frequent cutting.
There is no definitive answer to how often you should mow your lawn because the actual solution has to do with the height of the grass rather than how long ago you mowed it.
For most homeowners, the healthiest lawn, you should cut your grass once it has reached a height of 2.5 to 4.5 inches (depending on your preferences and grass type). Again, do not cut off more than one-third of the blade length. If the result is longer than you would prefer, you can cut it when it has reached a shorter height initially, but you still should not cut off more than one-third of the total length.
Cutting more than a third of the grass height off will cause the plant to focus all of its growth on the blade taking much-needed resources away from the rest of the plant structure—such as the roots—which are required to have a thriving lawn capable of handling variable weather.
While a week is the average amount of time it takes the grass to grow and recover, the ultimate determiners are the grass species and its access to nutrients, water, and sunlight. A lawn growing in a nutrient-rich soil that receives a lot of water and light from the sun will grow quicker than one that has limited access to any of these. Keep an eye on your grass height and weather forecast to best plan out your mowing schedule.
Now you need to decide on your preferred grass length. Some people like the visually appealing short cut lawn while others like the feel of a long luscious blade.
Short grass has less blade surface area for photosynthesis, which results in reduced food production within the grass plant.
The grass will also need to be cut more often, every 2 to 3 days, so that you can keep it short while cutting only a third of the blade height.
A combination of less food production and more stress leads to the need for more care. To keep the grass short, you need to follow a much stricter watering and fertilizing schedule to ensure your lawn has the nutrients it needs to stay alive.
You might want to consider using a plant growth regulator, which will help the plant focus growth away from the blade, even when being cut frequently.
A short lawn will require more work to keep it healthy!
This video can help you maintain a healthy, short lawn.
There are several benefits to keeping your grass at the height of about 2-½ to 4 inches long:
- It requires less maintenance to keep the lawn healthy.
- Your lawn will be able to focus more of its resources on maintaining the root system and other plant structures to stay healthy.
- Weeds are less likely to take over your lawn. Longer grass blades result in less light reaching the soil, so weeds will have less of an opportunity to begin growing.
- It is easier to catch up from a missed mow. This comes down to the one-third rule again. You cannot cut 4 inches of grass down to 1 inch without hurting the lawn. You can cut it down to 2 ½ inches, though.
- Longer grass is more comfortable for lounging and play. Short grass blades bend less and poke you more, which is less comfortable for walking, laying, and playing.
The First & Last Mow of the Season
Now let’s talk about the beginning and end of the season. At the beginning of the season, you are looking to get your lawn off to a healthy start. At the end, you want to ensure your yard is in an excellent position to weather the fall and winter months.
Once the growing season has started before the grass turns green, you want to give your lawn a gentle mow; you do not want to cut very much of the blade off. The goal is to only cut the dead tips off of the end of the grass, which will give it the cue to begin growing.
At the end of the growing season, you want to cut the grass short. Over the winter, long grass can become matted, which contributes to winter kill.
Let it Grow
For a healthy, stress-resistant lawn, you do not want to cut your grass every day. Decide on your preferred lawn length, never cut-off more than a third of the blade length, and make sure your lawn is getting enough water and nutrients.