Grass getting long? When to worry

Chad Frey
The Kansan

It's on the honey-do list for Saturday morning — mow the yard. But what if it rains almost every day, and Saturday morning, making it impossible to get the chore done?

If the grass grows to more than 12 inches in length, it is a violation of city environmental code. 

When should you worry the grass is getting too long?

The answer is hopefully your neighbors will be patient, in the same boat or both. 

"The rule is generally enforced on a complaint-driven basis, meaning a neighbor or other resident submits a complaint to the environmental control officer," said Erin McDaniel, director of public information for the city of Newton. 

McDaniel siad the environmental control office  "generally will work with them to get the violation resolved, including a reasonable degree of leniency."

The neighbor who complained is likely seeking a solution fairly quickly. 

Kansas State University horticultural expert Ward Upham said it’s important to remember that you should not take off more than one-third of the grass blade at one time. So as the grass grows taller, set the mower blade as high as possible and bring it down in steps. 

“If more than one-third is taken off, the plant reacts by using stored energy reserves to quickly send up new growth,” Upham said. “This reduces the amount of energy available for plants to deal with stress or damage done by insects or disease.” 

Upham acknowledged it is not always possible to obey the “one-third rule.” 

“In such cases, cut as high as possible, even though you may be taking 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.”