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K-State Research and Extension News

When It’s Too Wet to Mow the Lawn

May 27, 2015

mowing lawnMANHATTAN, Kan. – A series of weather systems that dumped rain across the heartland this spring have posed a dilemma for homeowners – what to do when the lawn hasn’t been cut in awhile because of wet weather?

“It’s best to set your mower as high as possible and bring it down in steps,” said Ward Upham, coordinator of Kansas State University’s horticulture rapid response center. “It is always best never to take more than one third of the grass blade off at any one time.”

If more is taken off, the plant reacts by using stored energy reserves to quickly send up new growth, he said. This reduces the amount of energy available for the plant to deal with stress or insect or disease damage.

“Sometimes, however, it is just not possible to keep the ‘one-third rule.’ In such cases, cut as high as
possible even though it may mean you are cutting off more than one third of the blade,” he said. “Bring the height down gradually by cutting more often and at progressively lower heights until you reach the target height.”

Upham is also coordinator of the K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener program. More information is available at Lawn and Garden.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension News

Ward Upham - wupham@k-state.edu or 785-532-1438