Save the Planet! Don’t Cut Your Grass

July 4, 2009 | By | Comments (31)

I hate watering plants. The way I see it, if any plant can’t naturally survive 6 weeks without rain, it shouldn’t be here to begin with. Survival of the fittest, baby.

And of all the things I hate to water, watering the grass is numero uno and for very logical and well-considered reasons. (This is standard for the Grump.)

1. Unless you are filling a swimming pool or hosing down a pod of beaches whales (curiously enough, this happens to me all the time), watering the lawn takes more water than anything else in your yard.

2. You almost cannot buy a new house today that doesn’t come with in-ground sprinklers. Nothing encourages more waste of water than sprinkler systems. From my unimpeachable observations, many people don’t even know if their systems are doing the job. They have them come on automatically, whether it’s raining or not, at 4 AM every morning to water for 20 minutes. This is so stupid. For one thing, it turns otherwise self-sufficient lawns into water junkies that go through withdrawal unless they get their daily water fix. Watering the grass frequently at night makes it more susceptible to disease. And lots of people don’t know if their systems even work properly. I can’t tell you how many sprinklers I’ve seen spraying water only on the street.

Here in Birmingham, Alabama, we usually get plenty of rain (54 inches a year average, although a lot of that comes in tropical storms and hurricanes). Each year, my goal is to never have to water my Bermuda grass lawn even once. I made it last year. But this year, after a very rainy spring, it hasn’t rained a drop in more than three stinkin’ weeks. Things are turning brown.

No Water Secret Revealed!

So how does the Grump avoid loathsome lawn watering when it just won’t rain? Simple. I refuse to cut the grass until it rains two days in a row.



How come? Because if I cut it in the summer heat, it immediately turns brown. This means my wife yells at me about the ugly lawn, so I have to water it to turn it green again. Then it needs mowing, so I mow it and it turns brown, and the whole cycle repeats ad nauseum, just like Oprah’s dieting.

A Necessary Sacrifice

There are, of course, consequences of such a radical course. The most obvious is that the unmown grass, though lush and green, grows very tall. So far, I have lost several family members in the front lawn. They went out to get the mail and never returned.

But if it means saving the planet and conserving our natural resources, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

How about you?




  1. stan

    Hi do you cut the grass after it rains two days in a row or before you know it will rain two days in a row?

    June 7, 2016 at 2:58 pm
  2. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    I’m not sure what kind of naturally short grass Marie is referring to. There is a dwarf Bermuda grass called ‘SunTurf’ that is supposed to stay short. My point is, when it’s hot and dry and the grass isn’t growing, it makes no sense to cut it. That just makes it turn brown.

    May 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm
  3. William Carpenter

    In my neighborhood, an inspector comes around at least once a month. If your grass isn’t cut, there’s a fine imposed. Interested in knowing about that, “naturally short grass” that was found by…marie, posted on April 26, 2010.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:00 am
  4. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    Yep, artificial grass is great, except that you can’t walk on it barefoot in summer because it heats up to 140 degrees. Real grass lowers the air temperature. Artificial grass raises it.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:43 am
  5. artificial grass

    If you want to have a lawn with pretty green grass and you don’t want to cut it then try to use artificial grass instead. You have the entire year with beautiful grass without the trouble of maintaining its growth. Just a sort of advice though.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:22 am
  6. irrigation systems

    Same Here Man ! I also hate watering the plant. I have very big farm and it is quite tough to give water to whole farm so I have build Irrigation system in my farm and I found it is very useful for me.

    June 29, 2010 at 6:35 am
  7. Grumpy Gardener (His Grace)

    Wow, Marie, what kind of grass is that?

    April 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm
  8. marie

    Right On Grumpy -HAVING the lawn isn’t stupid – its a great place for running the pets or kids. It’s all the chemicals we put on it that makes it “bad”.
    I found a naturally short grass (no mow grass) and they said – if you don’t mow it during the summer – you don’t need as much water either. That works for me!

    April 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm
  9. Grumpy Gardener (aka His Excellency)

    Ooops….sounds like someone has a sprinkler system! Sorry we’ve offended you. Go ahead and kill the Earth.

    November 17, 2009 at 4:48 pm
  10. omg

    I can’t believe how stupid you people sound. I don’t think having a lawn is ruining the earth! Are plants not good? You don’t have to water your lawn every day! Once a week works good for us! Maybe you should stop showering and bathing then? I think that would make more sense. There are other things in the world that are more harmful like people using garbage bags instaed of inventing biodegradable bags. How about you guys waste your time makeing something useful for the enviroment instead of complaing about watering your grass? Crunchy brown grass. Sounds attractive. You must live in a dump.

    November 16, 2009 at 11:25 am
  11. Grumpy Gardener

    The sad fact is that if you just put down sod, you HAVE to water regularly if you want it to live. Whether you want to put in an expensive sprinkler system now is up to you. What I would do is buy a hose and inexpensive sprinkler and water that way. Give sod an inch of water every time you water it. You can measure this by placing an empty tuna can on the grass and waiting for it to fill up to an inch.

    July 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm
  12. lauren

    Relocated to NC Crystal Coast,everyone waters their lawn with well water/sprinklers.Don’t have either and trying to save builder sod.Am I doomed to spend the money sprinkler system and new sod next year?Any suggestions?

    July 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm
  13. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Plus, he can’t be buried within 500 feet of a child.

    July 15, 2009 at 4:40 pm
  14. Aunty Matter

    There’s a problem with the actual burial of Michael Jackson.
    The family is having trouble getting a Clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency.

    July 15, 2009 at 9:17 am
  15. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    I like your attitude, Jim. No sense in dulling the grass.

    July 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm
  16. Jim Long

    YES! I heartily agree. My method is to take the blades off the mower to “sharpen” them. Since I put that off easily, every afternoon when someone suggests, “The grass is getting kinda tall, isn’t it?” I can just say that as soon as I get the blades sharpened I can mow again but I just don’t feel up to crawling under the mower today. Works really well.

    July 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm
  17. Lynn

    Last summer we were in a drought in Georgia. We had to ration water. Then the water prices sky rocketed because the water companies were making no money with no water being used. So, we learned that moderation in all things. You can’t do without water and you can ration a little, but too much is ridiculous and stupid to even ask people to do.
    If you don’t cut your grass, it adds more weeds to yard and thus you have to add more chemicals which , in my opinion is worse for the environment. So go ahead and water away. Just mow your grass at the highest level possible. That helps keep moisture in the soil and requires less water.
    and the other secret. Water less often and water more when you do. If you water once a week in mild climate, and every 3 days in hot climate, but allow longer watering at the times you water, you will do more to sustain healthy grass, and conserve more. Watering betweeen the hours of 2-6 a.m. is best for soil and mildew deterent.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:11 pm
  18. Janine

    I always look forward to July, when the lawn turns brown and crunchy. Then I don’t have to mow it! YAY. Unfortunately the darn thing recovers when it rains.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm
  19. Aunty Matter

    All righty, then!
    No sod, no plants, just rocks and sponges!!!
    Or maybe plant a farm of Chia Pets.

    July 8, 2009 at 9:16 am
  20. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Excuse me, Aunty, but isn’t artificial turf an environmental disaster? It increases runoff, gets hot as blazes in summertime, and is probably made from petroleum. I can’t believe you want to kill our planet! Shame!

    July 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm
  21. Aunty Matter

    The only way to go is artificial turf and an industrial-sized Roomba.

    July 7, 2009 at 9:41 am
  22. Jean

    Plastic shrubs, flowers, and now grass. Sign me up!

    July 7, 2009 at 5:51 am
  23. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Don’t have a lawn, Aunty Lawn (if that is your real name)? Then, pray tell, exactly where is my family supposed to enjoy a rousing match of badminton or croquet before we repair to the spa?

    July 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm
  24. Aunty Lawn

    Another option – fake lawn. I’ve seen one of these recenly, and they really look good! An article in a west coast mag:

    July 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm
  25. Randy

    I have to agree with everyone else. I water my plants, but I refuse to water the grass. If it turns brown, then I don’t have to cut it. It’s pretty crunchy right now, but it will bounce back after the rain.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:26 pm
  26. Aunty Lawn

    I have an even better solution — DON’T HAVE A LAWN! Saves all kinds of mowing time, gas, mower blades…and the wild flower meadow, raised veggie beds, berry bushes and mulched shrub areas are easier to care for and give us something yummy in return. (Sprinkler system easily converts into zoned drip irrigation.)

    July 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm
  27. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    You water your plastic shrubs and flowers? Jean, I’m so disappointed.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:20 pm
  28. Jean

    I live on a wooded hill…complete with the hardest white clay known to man.When the rain stops..I stop mowing.Needless to say we have had no rain until last night so the yard will not be mowed.If you mow here when its dry you can kiss what grass you had goodbye. I always think it rather foolish to water grass anyway. Most times if you leave it alone it will come back after the first rain.My gazillion dollar water bill comes thanks to shrubs and flowers!

    July 5, 2009 at 5:41 pm
  29. Jeff

    Say it, baby! I got a fever for not cutting the grass.

    July 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm
  30. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    I bet you have some nice quilts, though. Bring on winter!

    July 4, 2009 at 4:10 pm
  31. Karen

    I water my plants but I do not water the grass – we do not have a decent lawn though – our ground is hard as a rock and grass does not grow – we have weeds – I don’t care I spend all my time on my deck and porch anyway and I live in the country. I do not have the energy to take the time to get a good lawn going.

    July 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm

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