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How High Should I Mow My Lawn?

How High Should I Mow My Lawn?How High Should I Mow My Lawn?

Regardless of the type of turfgrass you have, one of the most important things you can do to help it grow healthy and green while minimizing weeds and fungal diseases is to mow it at its optimum height.
A common misconception exists among homeowners and some professional mowing services alike that the higher the grass is mowed, the healthier it will be. However, field studies indicate that there is an optimum mowing height for different types of grasses. 
Tall Fescue

The optimum mowing height for Tall Fescue is 3 to 3.5 inches.

Cutting it higher than recommended is shown to increase the risk for fungal disease during summer. Cutting it lower causes plant stress, which increases the risk for damage from environmental stressors. There are two exceptions to this rule.

We recommend cutting it lower the first time you mow in late winter prior to preemergent application in order to improve pre-emergent coverage, and then just before its fall renovation in order to improve seed germination.  

Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, and Zoysiagrass

These are warm-season grasses, which should be mowed on the lower height settings of your mower. Our general recommendation is to mow warm-season grasses at 1.5 to 2 inches for the best results on a home lawn. A warm-season turfgrass should not be mowed higher than 2 inches.

Bermudagrass can be mowed as low as .5 inch, though you risk scalping the lawn where there may be bumps and ruts.  Centipedegrass and Zoysiagrass are ideally mowed at 1.5 inches.

Mowing a warm-season turfgrass as high as possible does not decrease weeds or make the grass healthier or greener. In fact, it can sometimes have the opposite effect.     

Mowing Frequency

Regardless of the type of grass you have, avoid cutting off more than 1/3 of the blade each time you mow.

Letting your grass grow long and then cutting off more than 1/3 at once zaps its energy, which makes it more susceptible to damage from environmental stressors.

Weekly mowing should be ok for most of the growing season, but during peak growing conditions more frequent mowing may be needed.

Should I Bag the Clippings When I Mow?
To learn more about whether to bag clippings or leave them on the lawn, visit  another one of our blog articles: