The easy ‘one-third rule’ is all you need to stop weeds growing on your lawn after you mow it

SPRING and summer bring lush green lawns, but also fill your yard with annoying weeds that seem to spread no matter what you do.

Instead of spraying harsh chemicals or spending time pulling and cutting the obnoxious intruders, change the way you mow your lawn, and you can stop weeds before they even become a problem. is the online home of The Old Farmer's Almanac, a trusted resource for gardeners, farmers, and homemakers since 1792.

According to the experts at Almanac, mowing regularly can cut off any weed seeds and keep them from maturing – but you need to do it the right way for the tactic to work and keep your grass intact. 

"Never remove more than one-third of the grass leaf in a single mowing," the experts advise.

If you don't follow the one-third rule, you risk reducing root growth and leaving your lawn sparse.


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The rule is simple to follow and allows you to get into an easy mowing routine.

"If your mower is set at three inches and you follow the one-third rule, you should mow before your lawn is four-and-a-half inches high," the experts explained.

"Typically, this is once a week during the growing season."

That three-inch setting is also imperative to a healthy lawn, and a lot of homeowners don't realize it.

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"Most people mow too short which reduces the grasses’ ability to produce food via photosynthesis and invites weeds to move in," the pros explained.

Mowing with a dull blade can also sabotage your lawn, so make sure to sharpen your blade two or three times a year to keep your grass looking neat.

If you aren't mowing your grass too short and still have a patchy, uneven lawn, you may be overwatering it.

Once again, the solution to that problem actually creates less work for you.

"Make the lawn seek its own source of water, building longer and sturdier roots," the Almanac experts said.

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Your lawn won't need more than one and a half inches of water per week – and make sure you take rainfall into account.

"Avoid short, frequent watering (sips) which promote a weak root system," the experts recommend.

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