Lawn Care Tip:

Save yourself a lot of raking, blowing and picking up leaves this fall. Leaves are a very valuable source of organic matter to improve the soil in a lawn and garden. Leaves that fall onto the lawn can be shredded with a lawnmower and left to decompose naturally on the lawn. These mulched leaves can be left in place if they don’t exceed 1 inch in depth. However, deep piles of leaves that are not removed for several days may smother and kill the lawn. If you don’t want to mulch them in place on your lawn use a grass catcher to collect leaves and then use them in the compost pile or to winter-mulch beds.

Sign up for the Sustainable Landscape Network's "Mow Right" Field Study here. For information about the study - click here.

For more lawn care tips, click here.

MOW RIGHT - Mowing Height Field Study

“Mow Right” Field Study

Your participation is needed in a University research project.  The purpose of this study is to measure the adoption of a single lawn care practice: correct mowing height (3 inches or highest setting).  This is the single most critical practice that homeowners need to do correctly to have a healthy lawn. All lawn best management practices hinge on proper mowing.  Many university studies have shown that mowing at 3 inches prevents weed problems, puts less stress on the grass, contributes to a healthy root system, drought resistance, better resistance to insects and diseases, and helps prevent run-off off of soil, fertilizers, chemicals, and pollutants.

This study is a regional effort among participants from University of Maryland Extension, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Penn State Extension, Audubon International and its members, and large and small lawn care companies. It is our goal to achieve widespread adoption of the 3 inch mowing height across the region.

Why mow at 3 inches or higher?

  • It has been widely documented that at least three inches is the ideal mowing height for residential turf across the country. 
  • Low and infrequent mowing may be the major cause of lawn deterioration.
  • It is best to remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow.
  • Mowing to the proper height can reduce weed problems by as much as 50 to 80%.
  • Sharpen or replace mower blades at least once a year or more frequently if needed.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn. It is a way to recycle nutrients.

Sign Up for Study

Participants will be asked to measure their mowing height and participate in two brief surveys to document results.

After mowing your lawn, use your mowing guide or a ruler to measure your current height of cut, then click here to register. Contact information will be kept confidential.

Your participation in the study will result in a sustainable lawn that will contribute to a healthier community.


For Further Information

For more information on mowing, click here.


Thank you for your participation. We will be contacting you with a follow up survey later in the season.


Downloadable PDFFact Sheets, Guidelines, and Scorecards

Download Posters

For Your Next Event


View lawn care
YouTube videos!

Have a Question?

Just ask the experts!

Pet Tips

Ideas for having a dog

and a lawn.