5 Good Reasons Not to Mow the Lawn This Weekend
Grass can’t read a calendar, so why should you mow on a schedule?
The summer lawn-mowing ritual has been part of our culture for the better part of two centuries. In the old days, our forebears would simply let the sheep and rabbits take care of mowing and fertilization, and they were happy with whatever happened to grow. Gradually, we moved away from the agrarian approach and began to view grass as something akin to carpet that must be meticulously groomed. We give it lots of attention, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re tired of the grind and wonder why you mow so regularly, you are in luck. Choosing the right time to skip mowing can do the lawn quite a bit of good. Following are five great reasons not to mow.
The Grass has Not Grown
As a rule of thumb, never mow off more than one-third of the grass’s height. If you strive to maintain your grass at 2 inches, you don’t need to mow until it reaches closer to 3 inches. During hot, dry weather grass might hardly grow at all. If so, you might be able to skip mowing for two or three weeks.
You Want to Grow the Lawn Out
Raise the mower blade from 2 inches to 3 inches to extend the time between mowings. Following the one-third rule, the grass can now add 1.33 inches of growth before you have to cut it. Taller grass needs to add proportionally more growth between cuts, and it does so at a slower rate.
An extra inch of height provides 2,400 additional square feet of photosynthesizing leaf surface area per 1,000 square feet of lawn. So, the grass doesn’t need to grow as fast to feed itself.
You Want to Help Conserve Water
When allowed to grow taller, the grass blades act as living mulch that shades the soil surface and the crown of the grass plants. The soil loses less moisture to evaporation and the grass loses less to transpiration. At the same time, the grass roots grow deeper and gain access to a larger reserve of soil moisture. Plus, since the taller grass grows more slowly, it doesn’t need as much water for new growth.
To Help Pollinators with Taller Grass
“No Mow May” started in the United Kingdom as a way to educate and promote backyard pollinator habitat. When you stop mowing, all sorts of wildlife take note—and take advantage. Pollinators like bees and butterflies happily feast on the weeds you allow to flower. Birds enjoy the ripe seedheads. Simply mowing every two weeks instead of weekly has proven to boost pollinator species diversity, as well as abundance, in pesticide-free lawns.
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You Support Energy Savings and Cleaner Air
Gas-powered lawn mowers emit air pollutants. Electric mowers contribute to power plant emissions further away. Solar-charged, battery-powered mowers rely on mined resources produced by pollution-emitting machinery. Then, there’s old battery recycling and disposal to consider. Any time you skip mowing, you conserve resources and avoid adding things to the air that you wouldn’t want to breathe.