Volume XVII, Issue 20 # May 14 - May 20, 2009

The Bay Gardener

by Dr. Frank Gouin


The Continuing Battle of the Sexes

On tall lawns, the husband is willing but the wife resists

At a recent lecture, several ladies informed me that they don’t like having their lawns cut tall. Several husbands present also told me that their wives oppose having them cut the grass tall, as I repeatedly urge. A friend of mine who has adopted the slogan Cut it tall and let it fall is constantly fussed at by his wife for cutting the grass tall.

When I ask the reason why they object to having the grass cut tall, all I get back is that it doesn’t look right. I have been in some homes where the pile of the living room rug is so thick that you sink up to your ankles. I can only assume that a deep pile shag rug is appropriate for the home but that the lawn has to be short and smooth as a putting green.

When I give the argument to these ladies that cutting the grass short invites weeds to grow and makes the lawn more susceptible to drought, that does not seem to bother them. However, the husbands inform me that their wives do not like the dandelions flowering in the lawn.

A well-mowed lawn cut to a height of three and a half to four inches and taller is equally as attractive as a lawn that is cut short. A lawn that is cut tall does not reach its peak of perfection until after it has been mowed at least twice. The first mowing in the spring will not cut all of the blades of grass growing because not all grass plants initiate growth at the same time. This gives the lawn a sort of rough appearance. Generally after the second mowing, all of the blades of grass have been mowed to a uniform height and the lawn takes on the appearance of a carpet.

Lawns that are cut tall also maintain a more uniform appearance for several days after mowing than lawns cut short, where the more vigorous grasses try to dominate space. Weeds like to dominate, and they tend to grow faster than grasses.

Men, if you are having difficulty convincing your wife that lawns cut tall are as attractive as those that are cut short, raise the cutting height of your lawn mower one-half inch each week until you have reached three and a half to four inches. If that does not work, give your wife the responsibility of caring for the lawn. It is easy to fuss, but it is harder to mow, especially if you insist on having a weed-free lawn without using weed killers.


Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly.
Please include your name and address.