Don’t Close-Crop Your Lawn

long grass

Forget trying to make your lawn look like a golf putting green, and keep your grass longer.

Longer blades discourage weeds and pest insects, which means you are under less pressure to apply toxic pesticides and herbicides. Longer grass also shades the roots more, and helps prevent the soil from drying out. It tends to lead to healthier roots, so your green carpet will be hardier, and should require less water in the long run.

Experts agree that it’s better to mow regularly, and to remove no more than one-third of the blade length at a time. That way, stress on the grass will be minimized.

Different types of grass have different optimum heights, so it’s not a bad idea to consult gardening books or speak with the staff at your local nursery to determine what’s best for your yard, and then aim for the upper range. However, Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual ($13.50 at, points out that cutting grass to three- or four-inches-tall can reduce evaporation by 70% to 80%. Don’t forget to keep cutting blades sharp, as that prevents the tearing that is hard on plant tissue.

Related: 21 Organic Lawn Care Tips from Paul Tukey

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