Depending on where you live in Ontario, and what the weather’s been like lately, this may already be a concern you’re entertaining. Or, if you look outside and still see a blanket of snow, not something you need to put on the “to do” list just yet. But when things warm up, your lawn is going to spring back to life.
At first, that just means you’re going to regain that lush, vibrant green colour that makes lawns so attractive in the first place. But, given just a few weeks, some rain and decent temperatures, that grass is going to grow. At some point, homeowners will have to break out the lawnmower and start cutting it down to size, but what’s actually the appropriate size? First, let’s take a look at what’s too much and not enough.
When It’s Too Short
Yes, it actually is possible to cut a lawn to a height that is too short for healthy growth and development. But how can the height of the grass be bad? For one thing, it leaves the grass vulnerable. Grass that is too short means that some weeds can flourish, since there’s less competition for sunlight. Grass that is too short also doesn’t retain as much moisture, meaning that it is more prone to drought, and may need more watering in order to keep it healthy, driving up your water bills.
This damage is magnified if you’re not using quality lawnmowers. New or well-maintained blades retain their sharpness and cut cleanly. However, if you’re using older blades that have dulled through years of use, these may not cut as finely, and, in fact, pull out or churn up grass at such a low height, rather than cut it.
When It’s Too High
And what happens if you decide to let your grass grow to longer lengths? The first and most obvious disadvantage to this is that you’re providing a haven for insects. Plenty of insects, including the dreaded Deer Tick that transmits Lyme disease, rely on long grass for protection and even to find victims. Even larger, more complex wildlife like voles and snakes find the safari like nature of tall grass to their liking, so be prepared to have a lot of small wildlife to go with your tall grass.
The Ideal Height
Now that you’re convinced of the merits of regularly mowing your lawn to keep it an optimal height, this begs the question; just what is the optimal height anyway? A good rule of thumb is that cutting your grass by no more than a third of its height—assuming regular mowing—is a good gauge.
However, the best way to estimate the ideal height is to know what kind of grass you actually have. Yes, we tend to look at all grass as if it’s just some spongy, green carpet that happens to grow and need water. However, there are different types of grass, and they have individual “ideal ranges.” A good rule of thumb is to let it grow between 4 and 6.5 inches, but you don’t need to bring a ruler along to make sure you stay at the optimal height!