Mow High – I mean really high!!!!

No, this is not an endorsement for certain recreational activities, but rather a little encouragement as mowing season gets underway. I feel so strongly about this topic, I’m going to reiterate last month’s blog about mowing, especially now that lawns are actually growing.

My wife and I had a bet going the other week while watching our various neighbors (not that we watch our neighbors as a habit mind you), to see who would be the first Lawn Rancher out the gate this spring, intent on bending each leaf of grass under the mower’s blade. It feels great, does it not? It feels like you are really doing something, mowing the lawn. Getting at it early. We do not want the neighbors to think ill of us, do we now? Inevitably every spring, with the snows barely receded, one of our neighbors is out mowing their perfect green, crush-resistant carpet, clipping it nice and short, and often-as if Tiger Woods might be tempted to stop and practice putting on their front yard.

Here is a thought: wait. There are many good sound, beneficial reasons to allow your suburban pasture to grow taller before you go at it. Not only will raising your mower deck to three-and-half to four inches promote healthier, more disease and drought resistant grass, but it puts greater pressure on broadleaf “weeds” and those nasty grubs.

Taller mowing heights may save some cash, too. Taller grass means potentially fewer number of times you DIY or pay someone to lay down the pesticide law. You might not even need to turn those sprinklers on as often. I love those people who have a putting green for a front yard and then are fertilizing and sprinkling constantly because the grass is overfed and overstressed. Then they are calling on the dude with the tank truck and long hose to come fix their disease issues. I know when I am overfed and overstressed (think the Monday morning after Thanksgiving!), I am in a weakened state and more prone to bodily issues myself. The best gardening practices, however, should promote promote a healthy strong plant as the best defense against pest and disease.

There is a great quote from the Michigan State article linked above I will close with:

“The weed and grub control provided by mowing high means you can use less pesticide on your lawn. In fact, if you combine mowing high with modest applications of fertilizer (1 to 4 lbs N per year, depending on how green you want your lawn), and watering during dry periods, you may not need to use any pesticides – herbicide for weeds or insecticide for grubs – on your lawn.”

Who knew, right?

Josh Steffen
Horticulture and Facilities Manager


  1. The neighborhood will probably think ill of me, but I’m hoping for all the dandelions, plantain and purple deadnettle I can cram into our yard. I have a Russian Tortoise. I’m planning to harvest many of his Spring, Summer and Fall meals right at home. I’ve always thought mowing heights of at least 3 inches were the way to go, though. 👍🏼

    • Way to go Marsha I too do not like to see yards get down so close! I feel some do it just so they do not have to mow so often 😔 Wrong Please let it get some height and you will see how plush and green it will stay especially during a long hot dry spell. Thank you for addressing this issue
      Happy Spring to all those yard lovers out there 💐

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