How Short Should You Keep Lawn Grass?
You may imagine like most people that the shorter you mow your grass, the better. This is not necessarily true. The ideal height for your grass depends on the season and your type of grass.
But first, why should you maintain the correct mowing height?
When you mow too low, you stress the grass and make it vulnerable to weeds and drought. When you mow too high, you are hindering the growth of better quality, healthier grass. Your grass will also be exposed to disease, insects, mice and snakes.
The rule of thumb is not to remove more than 1/3 of the height of grass. Allow the grass to attain 1/3 above its ideal height before mowing.
How frequently you mow your lawn will be determined by how high your grass is and how fast it is growing. During a cool season (spring and autumn), if 2 ½ inches is ideal, you should mow at a height of 3 2/3 inches. In summer, some experts advise to keep your grass height at 3 inches to starve weeds of sunshine. To determine the height, draw a line at 3 2/3 or 1/3 above your recommended height on your lawn mower, from the tires up. Also mark it with the ideal height, probably using a different color. Next, measure the height of your grass against the first line. Mow your lawn to the recommended height. Do not forget to indicate which side of the line is up and which one is down.
The Type of Grass
The type of grass you plant, whether warm or cool season grass, will determine the ideal height of your grass.
Cool season grass such as fescue and Kentucky bluegrass attain optimal growth in fall and spring and are typically mowed to between 0.75-4 inches. On the other hand, warm season grasses grow the most in summer. Examples include st. Augustine, Bermuda, Centipede and Zoysia. They are cut at different heights. For example, the ideal height for Bentgrass is under ½ an inch while for St. Augustine, it is 2-4 inches. You also have different varieties of Zoysia which are cut at different heights.
A landscaping expert, such as from ProTurf, will be able to advise you on the range for your specific grass type and variety. Cut warm season grasses at the lower end in summer and cool season grasses higher. There is no single ideal height for all grass types for all seasons. Get your landscaping designers to help you with these and other strategic landscaping decisions.