Finding the Ideal Cutting Height for Grass
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 18, 2020)
Finding the ideal cutting height for grass isn't as difficult as many people would think. In most, if not all, cases all you need to do is follow a few simple guidelines and you will easily find the ideal height for your specific lawn. Now some of these methods will require that you do a little bit of homework on your own, but at the end of the project you will a gorgeous looking lawn again.
- What is your grass type? Not all grass types should be cut to the same depth. For example, Bermuda grass (which is one of the more common types of grass) should have a height somewhere between 3/4 inch to 1-1/2 inch tall. If you are uncertain about your grass type, take some into your favorite local nursery, and ask if they could identify it. Once identified, see if they know the proper length for that particular species.
- Know your area. How much water does your region get annually? Are you currently going through a drought or not? These two question can have a huge impact on your cutting habits. For regions that receive low amounts of water, or if you are currently going through a drought, then you want to make sure that you cut your lawn on the long side. Regions that receive more water you want to make sure that you are cutting your lawn on the lower end.
- Cut high, and then low. Often times, when people have been gone for a while and see that their lawn has gotten to be really high they will want to cut it down right away. This could be one of the worst possible things that you could do to your lawn. Start off your mowing efforts in this case by removing no more than 1/3 of the grass at first. This will help prevent any traumatizing of the lawn, and allow you to cut the grass in a more controlled manner. Once you have done the high initial cutting, do a second cutting around three days later, this time at the proper height.
- General rule of thumb. The 1/3 rule listed above also works as a general rule of thumb. This means that if you are doing regular cutting (about once a week) you can easily set your blade height at a specific location so that you only remove this amount. All you need to do is wait about a week, pull out a tape measure, and do a little bit of math. If you have a lawn that is about two inches high, all you need to do is have the lawn mower set to a height of about 1.5 inches high.