Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Taller Grass, Healthier Lawn

août 13When I started gardening years ago, we were told the ideal mowing height for a cool-climate lawn was 2 inches (5 cm). This would, we were told, give you the effect of a golf green and who wouldn't like that? The problem was low-mown lawns also had huge health problems. They tended to dry out in the summer and fill up with weeds.

We now know that was bad advice. A taller lawn shades the ground and protects its own roots from the burning sun. Also, the root length is roughly proportional to the height of the turf. So short grass has short roots that can't reach additional water underground in times of drought while a high mown lawn has long roots that can find deep water if necessary. Finally, weed seeds have great difficulty germinating in a high turf: sun, essential for their germination, simply does not reach the ground. So for cold climate grasses at least, a mowing height of 3 inches (8 cm) is ideal.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

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