Lawn Care Tips: Lawn Care Equipment & The One-Third Rule

Several helpful lawn care tips can help you achieve the lawn of your dreams. Each tip is essential to achieving a healthy lawn that can resist weather extremes, fungus, and pests. One of the most crucial is the grass-cutting one-third rule — no complex calculations required!

What Is The One-Third Rule?

The grass-cutting one-third rule is to cut no more than the top one-third of the grass blades. So, for three-inch grass, you want to mow when it grows to approximately 4.5 inches tall (3/4.5 = 0.667). For most purposes, we recommend a three-inch grass lawn. However, if your household includes dogs, a four-inch pet-friendly lawn[1]  will suit you better. You would cut four-inch grass when it is six inches tall (4/6 = 0.667). This lawn care tip ensures the health and vitality of the grass, promotes deeper root development, improves photosynthesis, helps suppress weeds, and makes the grass more resistant to pests and disease.

The Science Behind the One-Third Rule

How can using the grass-cutting one-third rule possibly have so many health benefits for your lawn? Because nature is really that cool. Let’s dig into the science behind this critical lawn care tip.

Every blade of grass in your lawn is part of a larger, breathing plant that makes its own food through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis occurs when the sun shines on the green leaves of a plant and is converted into energy for the plant’s use. Every sunny day, your lawn is busy with photosynthesis for healthy growth and disease resistance.

When you mow the lawn, you cut part of the grass blades responsible for photosynthesis. You remove part of the surface area devoted to manufacturing food, causing the grass stress. When you cut too much of the grass leaves’ length, the remaining surface area of the leaves is no longer enough to support the remaining lawn with sufficient food and energy.

By following the one-third rule for grass-cutting, you leave sufficient foliage to overcome the stress caused by cutting and to power the lawn’s healthy growth via photosynthesis.

Benefits of Adhering to the Rule

The grass-cutting one-third rule affords many benefits:

  • Your lawn remains capable of producing its own food, reducing the need for fertilizer treatments.
  • Limiting the stress on the lawn enhances its resilience, enabling it to better withstand adverse weather and disease.
  • The longer grass blades stimulate more vigorous root development.
  • Three-inch and longer grass creates a thick lawn with little space for weeds to grow.
  • The one-third rule is an easy lawn care tip to remember.

Impact on Grass Health and Resilience

Everything you want from your lawn, from the rich green color to the lush, thick look and feel, stems from the health of the grass. By minimizing stress and maximizing photosynthesis, you bolster the lawn’s health and vitality. Deeper roots also support the lawn’s ability to resist pests and disease. Longer grass blades help to resist weed development by crowding them out and giving them no space to root.

The Right Lawn Equipment - The Right Technique

It’s important for homeowners and lawn lovers to remember that the one-third rule lawn care tip needs quality equipment and practices to be effective.

The Importance of Mower Blade Sharpness

A dull mower blade leaves behind ragged, damaged grass edges that can sicken and weaken the plant. Plan to sharpen your mower blades twice a season or after using them for 25 hours. If you hit rocks when mowing, you must sharpen or replace the blades.

How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?

At Lawn Pride®, we get asked all the time about how often folks should mow their yards. One of our philosophies is “mow tall, mow often.” Typically, this means about once a week during the growing season. Just how often you mow depends on several factors, such as your particular type of grass, how much water and sunlight it receives, whether or not you fertilize, and so forth. Mowing tall and mowing often means grass roots can grow deeper, which will help sustain them in times of drought. Taller grass also provides more shade cover to those vulnerable roots while also preserving moisture in the ground. The grass-cutting one-third rule is straightforward and easy to remember, and following it helps ensure a healthy, attractive, resilient lawn.

Growth Rates and Grass Types

If you abide by the one-third rule of grass cutting, how often you mow depends a great deal on how fast your grass grows. Some grass types, like the warm-season Bermudagrass and St. Augustine, as well as the cool-season Kentucky Bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, are fast growers. These may need mowing twice a week. Other grasses, like Zoysia and Fine Fescue, have much slower growth rates.

Seasonal and Weather Considerations

Mow your lawn when it is actively growing. The timing will vary with your climate; however, an essential lawn care tip is to never mow when it’s wet outside. Wet grass is harder to cut, and your push or riding mower can damage roots and soil when the ground is moist. You also should not risk slipping and other personal injuries when mowing your lawn.

Mowing Path Matters

Also, how efficient is your mowing path? Mow your yard in rows or spirals to minimize turns and backtracking, and remember to switch the direction with each cutting. This lawn care tip will help your grass blades stand up straight and strong.

Want to learn more about your lawn and become a better mower? Talk to us at Lawn Pride. Our turf experts rely on science and utilize the best technologies to deliver lawn care solutions that truly work.

Get Healthy Lawn Care Right Every Time with Lawn Pride

At Lawn Pride, we’re happy to help homeowners learn the lawn care tips and tricks we use to produce healthy, beautiful lawns for our clients. When you want to retire your mower and turn to our lawn care services, we’re here to make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

You can count on the quality of our lawn care because the Neighborly Done Right PromiseTM backs everything we do.

Contact your local Lawn Pride and request a free quote. Prepare to fall in love with your lawn again!