Coming back from vacation with 6" high grass. Using the one third rule, I need to mow three times to get down to 2" (my lawn maintenance service recommends 2" high cut at this time of year in the Northeast w/ leaves/pine needles falling).

First time at 4", second time at 3", last time at 2". Most advice I've seen recommends go back to cut again in 2-3 days. Why not cut in successive days rather than waiting for 2-3 days?

  • Why not just cut to 2" in one go? Pretty much the same logic.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 19, 2015 at 18:15
  • Because you might not be cutting much, but rather just pushing everything down. If you push it down it might not come back up and stay laid over. Cut the tops, rest, cut tops down a little more...rest repeat. You could do it all in the same day if you have a collection bag, if not you need to let the freshly cut crass clippings to dry somewhat so they don't add to the clumpage around the blades.
    – Escoce
    Oct 19, 2015 at 18:39
  • @Escoce I'm not suggesting cutting to 2" in one go. I am suggesting that the reason you give it a few days is the same as the reason you don't cut in one go. Though if you had a tiny sickle-bar mower, a tiny tedder, a tiny hayrake and tiny baler you could go out and make tiny haybales from 4" hay just in time for the fall decorating season, when tiny haybales can be sold for good money...
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 20, 2015 at 1:06
  • Well I have grass that will lay down before it cuts if you let it grow too long. With the draught we've had here, I haven't mowed in 2 months, but the north side of the house grew lushly if not super tall, the mower this weekend just pushed the grass down more than cutting it.
    – Escoce
    Oct 20, 2015 at 1:28
  • This doesn't directly address your question, but IMHO you shouldn't ever cut your lawn lower than 2.5-3" except for the first and last cuts of the season. At those times, the clippings should be collected to reduce the growth of disease as you put the lawn to bed for the winter and wake it up in the spring.
    – That Idiot
    Oct 23, 2015 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


It's not so much about what to do with the clippings (although that affects things) but about root support. Longer grass will have a more extensive root system. If you greatly reduce the photosynthesizing part of the plant, the roots will be overly stressed. If you reduce the photosynthesizing gradually, the roots will have time to accommodate this.

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