Grass going to Seed
You get back from your annual family vacation to Wally World. There is Capri Sun and Cheetos debris covering the mini van. It smells like feet and possibly a dead rodent. If you hear another line from the movie Despicable Me you may ninja roll out the door. You pull up to your lovely home to see the lawn looking a little strange. Oh great! It looks like some fluffy flower is popping up a little higher than your grass and you worry…is that a weed? If so, it has taken over! Relax. Breath. It is not a weed. It is grass going to seed. I can hear the gears in your brain clicking. Well, if that grass is going to seed, I should let it drop to the soil and it will be a free seeding of the lawn. If only it was that easy. Unfortunately your frugal mind will not land you on the show Cheapskates anytime soon. That idea to save money on grass seed by allowing it to go to seed doesn’t work. You will actually be thinning out the lawn in the process of allowing your backyard to develop into a habitat fit for several jungle animals.
How am I hurting my lawn by letting it go to seed?
Not Following the 1/3 Rule: If you are allowing the grass to reach excessively high levels (over 6 inches) that means when you mow the lawn you will not be following the 1/3 rule. The 1/3 Rule is DO NOT cut off more than 1/3 of your grass blade during a mowing session. For example, you should be letting your grass grow to 4 inches and mowing it down to 3 inches right now. During the Summer I would raise the cutting height up at least 1/2 inch after cut. Allowing your lawn to pop up to 6 inches and then mowing it down to 2-3 inches will stunt the root growth of your grass. This leaves you with a weaker lawn more prone to unwanted things such as drought stress, insect or fungus damage, and weeds.
Not Allowing the Grass to Repair Itself: Many times in the Spring we get lots of growth. Yes I know you hate mowing every 3 days, but sometimes during the Spring you should. That growth is vertical shoots of grass, but there is also root growth happening and horizontal growth. Grasses like Kentucky bluegrass grow through rhizomes (horizontal roots under the soil). Rhizomes produce new plants near the original grass plant. Bluegrass is good about repairing itself. If you are letting your bluegrass go to seed it will stop producing rhizomes and repairing itself and start putting all its energy into flowering. So cut that lawn when it is needed and it will help fill in bare spots in your lawn for free. There you go. You just saved some money on grass seed.
You are Promoting Weeds: Here is a natural weed control tip. Mow high and mow often. Mowing high helps the grass crowd out the weeds with a thicker lawn. Mowing often will cut the dandelions and other weeds. The more you cut them the less energy they will have to grow back. If you let the jungle appear in the backyard, then you are allowing the weeds to grow larger. You are not constantly forcing them to use their energy to regrow, so they are now stronger than ever.
So make your neighbors happy and stick to mowing the lawn every 3-7 days at the proper height of 3-4 inches after being cut. You will have healthier lawn with less weeds and deeper roots. Now get your shop vacuum out and clean up that explosion of Goldfish Crackers that somehow reached that tiny crevice in the DVD player.