Cut your Grass Some Slack: Recommended Height Guidelines for a Healthy Lawn

  • Written by: Killingsworth Environmental
  • August 01, 2016

How Short Should You Cut Your Grass?

Who doesn’t love walking outside to the smell of freshly cut grass? Depending on your grass type, you might need to give your yard a break from the lawnmower to achieve the healthiest possible lawn.

Cutting your grass shorter than recommended could lead to fewer roots, more weeds, grass that is less resistant to diseases and insect attack, and higher water and fertilizer bills. Lucky for you, we’re here to answer all the questions about your lawn that you didn’t know you had – just in time for the summer.

The big question you should ask when starting your lawn care is: Is my lawn ‘cool-season’ or ‘warm-season’ grass? Certain types of grass grow better in cooler times of the year where temperatures are 65 to 75 degrees, whereas others thrive in temperatures between the 80’s and 90’s. This doesn’t mean they should be planted at different seasons, but rather they should be planted in areas that have generally cooler (northern states) or warmer degrees (southern states).

Here are a couple examples of cool and warm-season grasses. See if your type is on the list and then cut accordingly.

Cool-season

Recommendation: Keep longer in the summer (2- 4 inches).

Examples: Fine Fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Tall Fescue, Turf-type tall fescue, and Perennial Ryegrass.

Warm-season

Recommendation: Keep shorter in the summer (1-2 inches) and grow longer in the fall.

Examples: Bahia, Carpet, Centipede, Bermuda, Buffalo, Kikuyu, St. Augustine and Zoysia grass.

Regardless of the type, a good rule of thumb is the 1/3 rule. Never cut more than 1/3 of the grass height in one mowing, to prevent shocking the grass. Instead cut the 1/3 allotted and wait for 5 to 6 days before cutting again.

Remember- the longer the height, the longer the roots, and the longer the roots, the less maintenance is required. When in doubt, keep the grass on the longer end of the spectrum to keep your grass from overstressing. Be mindful of droughts and times of high heat that your grass is under a lot of stress, and will be healthier if it has a little extra length to absorb the sun. Likewise, it’s also a good idea to keep grass in shaded areas a little longer to give them a better chance for sun exposure.

If you have any questions that we didn’t answer in this post, we offer free lawn care consultations. Contact our lawn care team and you can get one-time lawn care services like aeration and over-seeding, get one of our lawn care packages, or even sign up for our year-round Charlotte lawn maintenance plan!

And if you liked the information we had in this post, be sure to download our Summer Home Maintenance Checklist for more summer-time tips!

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