Expert Advice

Earth Science Smart Lawn Care – An Overview

Authored by:

Allen Pyle

Earth Science smart lawn care allows people to spend less time maintaining their lawns and more time enjoying them, while minimizing potential negative environmental impacts.

Keys to Mowing

There are two keys to proper mowing:

  1. the height of the grass after mowing
  2. the length of the leaf blades removed when mowing.

All types of lawns should be mowed so that no more than one third of the total leaf blade length is removed in a single mowing. Cool season grass lawns are best mowed to a height of 2 ½ to 3 inches minimum. Warm season grass heights after mowing should generally be 2 to 2 ½ inches tall.

Managing Clippings

  • Clippings from properly mowed lawns break down rapidly, improving soil and returning nutrients to the lawn


  • Provide an inch of water per week to lawns, if rainfall falls short of this amount
  • Water once or twice, deeply, instead of more frequent, shallower irrigation


  • Fall is most important time to fertilize for cool season lawns
  • Late spring to early summer, when growth resumes, is most important time to fertilize warm season lawns
  • Use slow release forms of nitrogen, and apply a maximum of 0.8 pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet of lawn