Scalping your lawn to reduce the number of times you have to mow is a mistake. It damages your grass and soil, encourages weed growth, damages the environment and you’ll still have to mow just as frequently. Mowing your grass a little higher is a smart way to conserve energy and resources and keep your grass healthy and vibrant throughout the summer. So how high you cut your grass can determine the health and look of your lawn.
There are several popular types of grass that make up most lawns. The Northern grasses are bluegrass, fescue and rye which grow quite high. The Southern grasses are Bermuda and zoysia which spread as runners. Northern grasses should typically be cut to a height of about 3 inches, while Southern grasses should be cut to about 2 inches. Never remove more than about a third of the length of the grass at once as this stresses the plant.
The 2-3 inches concept is a guideline, not a rule. If you have very hot, dry summers (as is common in many places) it may be smarter to keep your grass at 4 inches high through the summer. Keeping your grass taller will help cool and shade the soil and hold moisture in. This will help your grass stay alive and green through the summer while keeping your yard cool and inviting.
Slightly taller, healthy grass resists weed growth and needs less mowing and less water. You may also wish to replace some areas of lawn with drought resistant plants and/or ornamental grasses. These are all smart ways to conserve energy and resources and create an attractive, healthy lawn and landscape.