Lawn Care: How High and How Often Should You Cut Your Grass

have your lawn mowed regularly to keep it at around 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high throughout the grass growing season

Have your lawn mowed regularly to keep it at around 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high throughout the grass growing season. Photo by Bryan Clayton.

What is the Best Height to Cut Your Grass?

Maintaining a healthy lawn requires proper care, including regular mowing. But how high should you mow your lawn? As a general rule, you should cut your grass when it reaches around 3 1/2 inches tall, then maintain the height of your mowed lawn to keep it between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high throughout the growing season.

However, different types of grass varieties have different recommended heights to cut your grass to. For example, annual ryegrass should be cut to 2 1/2 to 3 inches high, tall fescue grasses should be cut to 3 1/2 to 4 inches high, and Kentucky bluegrass lawns should be maintained at 2 1/2 to 3 inches in the spring and fall, but 3 to 3 1/2 inches in the hot summer months.

To ensure your lawn stays healthy, adapt your mowing schedule throughout the season to adjust for periods of wet and dry weather. You’ll probably want to cut your grass less and let it grow taller during any droughts or periods of dry weather, and cut your grass more often to keep your lawn shorter in rainy, wet weather.

Different varieties of grass have different recommended heights you should cut your lawn down to. Check with the brand of grass you use to decide how tall to keep your lawn.
Different varieties of grass have different recommended heights you should cut your lawn down to. Check with the brand of grass you use to decide how tall to keep your lawn.

What is the “one third” rule of grass cutting?

To avoid shocking and damaging your lawn, it’s important to follow the “one third” rule of grass cutting. Try not to cut more than one third of your grass’ height during any one lawn mowing, as this can shock and damage your lawn grass. If your grass is overgrown, make multiple cuts with your lawn mower, adjusting the height of your mower blades until you get the height of the lawn down to the proper height for your grass type.

Don’t bag your clippings, use mulching blades

Instead of bagging your clippings, consider using mulching blades. Mulching the grass clippings back into your yard will give the soil essential nutrients that will help keep your lawn healthy throughout the year. Lawn clippings contain about 1 percent phosphorus, 4 percent nitrogen and 2 percent potassium, which will all filter through the blades of grass and quickly decompose into the ground, strengthening the grass and giving your lawn that deep rich, green color.

Keep Your Lawn Mower Blades Sharp

It’s also essential that you keep the lawn mower blades sharp throughout the lawn mowing season. If your lawn mower blades are dull, instead of giving the lawn a clean cut edge they will tear the grass and create ragged edges, which can lead to infestations of insects and other parasites and other potential lawn diseases, and leave your lawn with a discolored, uneven appearance.

Take a break from lawn mowing and enjoy a beautifully manicured yard this season! Check out the HelpHouse Contractor Directory to find a local lawn care service near you to do the job for you! Browse now and make the most of your spring and summer.

Don’t want to mow your own lawn? Find a local lawn mowing service near you:

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This article was originally written in March, 2022 and modified for 2023.

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