Does Cutting Grass Make It Spread?

Every lawn owner wants a lush and thick loan, and why not? It is attractive, it fights against the weeds on its own, and cuts down on your lawn maintenance and cost. Even so, achieving this can be a daunting task even for the most experienced lawn guru.

If you are on the hunt for the best way to fill in some bald patches on your lawn, you must be wondering; does cutting grass make it spread? 

Does Cutting Grass Make It Spread?

The answer is “Yes” Cutting grass is one of the easiest ways to increase lateral growth. A rule of thumb; the more you cut the grass, the better it will thrive laterally. Indeed, cutting off the grass blades stimulates the development of thicker roots which helps in the absorption of water and plant nutrients.

Cutting grass encourages it to spread and thicken at the same time. Nevertheless, the speed at which your grass spreads depend on the type of your grass. Some grass species may send out runners and spread out quicker than other types.

So, if you want to make your grass spread after cutting it, you should try out grass species with runners, they will give you the best chance.

Generally, these grass species include, those with below-ground runners, above-ground runners, and those that send out both. Apart from the runners, some grass types utilize tillering. The good thing is that proper cutting of the blades helps the grass spread out in either case. 

Like any other plant, grasses make food through the process of photosynthesis. Generally, this process takes place in the leaves, and blades of the grass for this matter.

When you are cutting the grass, the part that you cut is the blades, as such, the plant has a reduced surface area to absorb sufficient sunlight. The response of the grass is to create more room for photosynthesis by increasing the surface area of the blades. 

Notably, you should cut your grass to about 2 inches for optimal growth of the runner and blades. On the other hand, cutting the grass too short leads to a weak root system since all the plant’s energy is focused on regrowing the blades.

Also Read: Can I Mow My Lawn Every Day?

How Do You Make Grass Spread?

If you want your grass to spread, you have to add a few tips to your lawn care maintenance practice. First, you need to ensure that your lawn soil is. As much as you can try every strategy to grow thicker grass, if your soil is lacking, then all your efforts will be in vain.

Secondly, you need to water your lawn. A thirsty lawn will always be a struggling lawn! A dehydrated lawn tends to get yellow patches here and there. Set a watering schedule, if not, try installing an efficient irrigation system.

After laying the above foundations for healthy grass, you can further make it spread with the following lawn care tips:

  • Mow The Grass Regularly (In Different Directions)

As detailed before, cutting the grass blades is a sure way to encourage lateral growth. Sometimes mowing can be monotonous to the point where you mow the entire lawn in the same direction. If you do so, you train the grass to grow in that specific direction. On the contrary, ensure that you mow in different directions to encourage the blades to grow straight up leaving space for new ones to shoot.

  • Cut Your Grass at An Ideal Length (About 2 Inches)

Ensure that you don’t cut the grass too short. You’ll need to raise the mower blades so that you do not cut beyond 2 inches of the grass. If you cut shorter than this, the lawn will focus all its energy on restoring the grass blades instead of spreading. 

  • Water Your Lawn After Mowing

If your goal is to have your grass spread after cutting, you should water the grass after mowing. This provides it with enough water. As for the nutrients, you can also consider using either a liquid or a granular lawn fertilizer at the same time.

  • Remove Weeds

Weeds act like parasites in your grass. They not only compete with the grass for water and nutrients but also for space. You should remove those competitors and allow the grass to spread out and fill in the empty spaces. Better still, when the grass is thick enough, you won’t have to battle with weeds again.

  • Dethatching

All the dead grass roots, shoots, and any other form of organic matter that forms on the base of your lawn is thatch. To promote thicker grass growth, you should dethatch your lawn regularly.

To remove the thatch layer, you can either rake your grass or use a dethatching tool. Removing this layer allows proper aeration of your grass, as well as better nutrients and water penetration into the soil. Most importantly, dethatching creates more space for the grass shoots thus making your lawn thicker and healthier.

Also Read: Use Autumn Lawn Feed in Spring

Will Grass Spread if You Don’t Cut it?

The answer here is that when you don’t cut grass, it grows taller and untidy instead of spreading. When you don’t cut your grass, it focuses all its energy on growing up and stops supporting the growth of new shoots. As a result, the grass becomes patchier and unattractive.

What’s more, maintaining longer grass requires much more nutrients and this brings about competition. Your lawn is made up of numerous individual plants, some of which might die – its survival of the fittest. So, your grass will end up becoming thinner with time.

If you don’t cut the grass., you’ll also be giving a chance for weeds to grow. Unlike the grass, the taller the weed grows, the more it thrives. As such, an overgrown lawn can easily turn into an untidy yard with unwanted weeds, pesky mushrooms, and different types of blooming flowers.

As there are no benefits to leaving your grass without cutting for extremely long periods, you should more your lawn regularly.

How Often Should I Cut My Grass?

There is no specific time range to cut the grass. How often you cut your grass mostly depends on the grass species. Even then, to promote a thicker lawn, you definitely do not want to cut the blades below two inches as mentioned earlier. If you have Bermuda grass, you can set your mower to the two-inch mark.

For grass like St. Augustine and Centipede, you need to set your mower to cut the grass to about three inches. This promotes runner growth and enhances the spreading of your grass.

After cutting the grass, ensure you water and fertilize your lawn to encourage growth. Mowing is stressful for the grass and thus it needs time to recover. As such, you need to let the grass recover but do not let it grow past 4 inches. Upon reaching this height again, the grass thatch thickens and prevents lawn aeration. Of course, the grass at this stage will start thinning out.

Does Mowing Make Grass Spread?

Yes, frequently mowing your grass makes it spread. In addition to making your lawn thicker, the mowing also encourages a healthy lawn. Although this may be true, you need to ensure that you do not cut more than 1/3 of the blades. When you mow your lawn, all the grass energy is redirected to shooting more blades and this causes the grass to spread. 

Alternatively, you can promote a thicker lawn by mowing in different directions. As we stated earlier, mowing your grass in a monotonous direction train the grass blades to grow that way. Mowing in different directions however encourages the leaves to stand up. As a result, more space is created for the new shoots, so your lawn spreads.

Ways that Grass Spreads on its Own

Other than having to cut, some grass species do spread quite well on their own. These include warm-climate grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St Augustine. Cool-climate grasses on the other hand tend to spread less effectively. In detail, there are several ways that grass spread on its own including:

  • Tillering

This method of spreading is used by bunchgrasses. Tillers are areas of new steam that will grow grass blades. read more

  • Seeding

Seeding happens when the grass plant matures enough to produce seeds. For most grass types to produce seeds, they need to grow to a length that is extremely long for lawns. This mostly happens when the grass is left for a long time without moving. However, some grass hybrids can grow seeds as low as the soil level.

  • Stolons

With this method, a runner shoots from the mother plant and goes for either short or long distances until they find a bare spot to start a whole new grass plant. Notably, above-the-ground runners can form multiple new plants along their path.

  • Rhizomes

This method is most common with underground runner shoots. The runner shoots from a mother plant and travels underground to find a bare spot and start a whole new plant. 


While mowing your lawn regularly will keep it healthy and looking its best, if you want to control the spread of weeds, you may need to cut it less often. Depending on the type of weed, how well-established it is, and the climate in your area, you may be able to get away with cutting every other week or even once a month.

Victoria Peterson

I am a passionate gardener who wants to help you create and maintain your dream yard. I know that it can be daunting to take on a project like this, but I am here to help. I have been gardening for years and have learned a lot along the way. I want to share my knowledge with you and help you create the perfect yard for your home.

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