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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 27, 2009

From: Suffolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Will not cutting grass make its roots stronger?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live on a lake that has a hill. There is some problem with erosion on the hillside. Our association wants us to not cut the grass to stop the erosion. How does not cutting the grass help the roots get stronger to stop erosion or is this a farce?

ANSWER:

According to Plant-Care.com your homeowner's association is right.   Quoting them: 

"The quantity of leaf surface combined with the sugar making process called photosynthesis helps determine how much food the root system will receive.  More leaf surface help produce a root system that is healthier. ...When grass is cut root growth ceases temporarily."

This advice is echoed by many other lawn care experts (e.g., BetterLiving and Back to Nature Lawn Service).

The stronger and more extensive the root system, the better it can hold the soil in place.

 

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