Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Mowing: Never More Than 1/3 at a Time

août 4When you mow the lawn, never remove more than one third of its length at a time. Cutting it back too severely will weaken it. Typically, if you want to maintain turf at a healthy height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches (6.5 to 8 cm), mow when grass is 4 or 5 inches tall.

If you’ve gotten a bit lazy or were away on vacation and your grass reaches 6 inches (15 cm) in height or more, it’s not a good idea to immediately mow it back to 3 inches (8 cm). Instead, stick to the one-third rule: cut the grass to two thirds of its height, wait 2 or 3 days, then mow again at the desired height. If the grass is very high, 8 inches (20 cm) or more, you may need mow the lawn 3 or even 4 times, gradually lowering the height each time.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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