General Question

DaphneT's avatar

Why is it necessary to mow a lawn?

Asked by DaphneT (5728points) July 10th, 2012

And if the lawn is planted to all one grass, why is it still considered unattractive when it grows beyond the 3–4 inch height?

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32 Answers

Bill1939's avatar

The risk of fire is one reason for keeping grass short. Also, because grass grows unevenly, the aesthetics of a smooth lawn is another reason to mow.

cookieman's avatar

Suburban expectations of beauty.

elbanditoroso's avatar

High grass is a great environment for snakes.

dabbler's avatar

Necessary? Hmm, if you are going to play croquet then it is necessary !
Either that or you must have a mighty swing.

marinelife's avatar

It is a preference for neatness and not having all of the things that live in meadows in your front yard.

SpatzieLover's avatar

In the country or a rural setting lawn can be the height it desires. In a burb or city, you’ll need to conform to the standard set by the Jonses or whomever is setting the standard near you.

Trillian's avatar

Yep. Snakes.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Grass grows thicker when it is mowed regularly, this will help keep undesired weeds out of the area.

Kardamom's avatar

In my neighborhood, if you don’t cut it, you’ll be fined by the HOA.

Also, it looks scraggly if you don’t cut it regularly.

LostInParadise's avatar

To keep lions away. Seriously, well semi-seriously. The attraction to lawns is universal. It has been conjectured to be related to our common origin running around on savannas. Shorter grasses are safer, because they do not provide hiding places for large predators.

Coloma's avatar

If you do not mow weeds will take over as well. Nature always strives to return to it’s natural bio-diversity. I have a big lawn up here in the mountains and with all the wild life and birds it is impossible to have a suburban lawn. My lawn is green but it also has plentiful weeds and gopher holes. As long as it is mowed though it remains green and the weeds blend in.

When you have hundreds of wild turkeys, deer, squirrels and other critters pooping seeds all over you get a combo plate of natural fertilizer and botanical diversity. lol

wildpotato's avatar

Keeps the bugs down, looks nice, required by neighborhood association, and I think I remember hearing it is actually good for the grass plants.

YARNLADY's avatar

If you must have a lawn, you generally want to keep it looking neat. If you don’t mow it, and I speak from personal experience, it soon looks like a yard full of weeds.

Ponderer983's avatar

You can get fined in my town (and most) for having an overgrown lawn/yard.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s easier to find the dog turds in short grass.

Brian1946's avatar

@LostInParadise Shorter grasses are safer, because they do not provide hiding places for large predators. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. A tiger hiding in my front lawn killed some members of the Westboro Baptist Church, before they got to my front door. ;-)

DaphneT's avatar

Thanks for the info, I hadn’t thought of most of those reasons. I do live rural, so I’m my own HOA. The snakes will do it for me, I will be mowing more regularly with that in mind.

Coloma's avatar

@DaphneT My cat survived a rattlesnake bite 12 days ago. The woods across the road from my yard are thigh high in grass right now. Snakes in the grass. Eeee!

LostInParadise's avatar

Douglas Tallany hates lawns and thinks they should be replaced by native plants. I have not read his book Bringing Nature Home, but I attended a lecture that he gave. You can get the basic idea by going through some of the reviews. I have not worked up the initiative to cover my yard with native plants, but I feel guilty about it every time I mow the lawn.

JSpeer's avatar

why is it “necessary” to get your hair cut?

Beauty, neatness, cleanliness, and practicality

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JSpeer Lawns are a man-made concept. Hair is not.

JSpeer's avatar


no lawns are natural, we just decided to groom them, trim them, make sure theyre healthy, etc. Just like hair. Its just the way we decided to “style” already natural things

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JSpeer Grass is natural. Tallgrass is natural. Lawn, expansive grass with no flowers, weeds or saplings is not natural.

YARNLADY's avatar

@SpatzieLover I fail to see how a grass that grows from a seed into a plant is not natural. Maybe you are thinking about an “original” plant, such as the Cambrian era flora such as algae, or Pre Cambrian fungi as being natural. However, if you eat corn on the cob, you eating plants that have been altered from the original maize over the centuries, and yet are still natural.

The only grass that I know of that is not natural is the Astro Turf type plastic grass.

JSpeer's avatar


im sorry but i dont understand how your missing this.

grass is natural, then people thought: hey, lets shape this section of grass into a square around my house, and trim it down short for practicality.

the same as hair. It grows forever, but for daily living extremely long hair is usually impractical and hard to manage – so people cut it and re-shape it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@YARNLADY I live in a farming state. If you leave a meadow or prairie alone to manage itself, there is not even close to 100% grass per acre, the mix is closer to about 60%. A lawn, depending on how one manages it is 85 to 95% grass. A sodded lawn is 100% grass for a few years.

Most grass seed in the USA, found at your local hardware store is GMO.

So, IMO, lawn is no where near natural. At least not the lawns in my region. If it’s different in your locale, so be it. I travel. I see no difference.

Oh look, Monsanto will now own lawns across America. <—-More unnatural lawns (again, my opinion)

YARNLADY's avatar

@SpatzieLover It is not possible for anything that is not natural to exist. The only thing on earth that is unnatural is the fictional stories about vampires and unicorns.

I think you are confusing genetically original with natural. And BTW, there is nothing growing today that has not been genetically modified over the eons.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Greater amounts of chemical fertilizer and pesticides are used per acre of lawn than on an equivalent acre of cultivated farmland,[22] and the continued use of these products has been associated with environmental pollution, disturbance in the lawn ecosystem, and increased health risks to the local human population.[23]


I will be ending following this, as it is clear I have a very different definition for the word natural @YARNLADY.

dabbler's avatar

If you use an anthropogenic definition of “natural” as being something that would occur without human intervention, then it’s quite fair to say a lawn in unnatural. And while humans are technically a part of nature, our capacity to affect the global ecosystem is unprecedented among all the species about which we have any solid info, and that kinda skews claiming that all human activity is “natural”.

Personally I think a lawn is unnatural. But I like ‘em, in moderation. We have to use those bocce balls someplace, and you’re don’t want to set up your slip and slide on unprepared terrain.

Killthagirl's avatar

snakes and rats

Nullo's avatar

Chiggers! I get the itches just thinking about those things.

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