What Height Should I Cut My Grass?

Having a lawn is great, but it does come with responsibility. You have to fertilize it, mow it, water it, and stay ahead of damaging pests. It can take some adjusting before everything falls into a routine. It also requires a bit of knowledge.

General care doesn’t have to be complicated, but you want to get on the right foot. The most common chore you’ll face with your lawn is mowing, and you need to know how short to cut it when you do.

The General Rule for Cutting Grass 

For healthy, established grass, you typically want to remove the top one-third of the blade. This is known as the one-third rule. You also usually don’t want to let the grass get above four inches tall. As it gets taller, it can get harder to mow, and the grass will want to be cut in order to stimulate additional healthy growth.

This rule is enough to keep you out of trouble. But you can get deeper into the details and mow your lawn more precisely according to the type of grass you have, the grass’s age, and the season.

What Type of Grass Do You Have?

Every grass thrives at a different cutting height. Generally speaking, warm-season grass prefers longer cuts than cool-season grass, but there are notable exceptions, including Bermuda grass. Ultimately, it’s best to look up each grass by the species you have in your lawn. A few popular types of grass are going to be listed here, but if yours isn’t, it’s worth spending the time to look it up for optimal mowing height. Here are some of the most common:

  • Bermuda: 1 to 2.5 inches
  • St. Augustine: 1 to 3 inches
  • Bluegrass: 0.75 to 3.5 inches
  • Fescue: 1.5 to 4 inches

You might notice that each of those listings provides a range. That is partly because the grass doesn’t have to be cut with high levels of precision. It’s also because other factors can determine whether you want to cut the grass on the short or long side of the spectrum.

How Old Is the Grass?

Once established, grass can be cut according to the list above. Until that happens, mowing can be very dangerous. For new grass, you usually need to wait around two months before you mow at all. You will also use the growth and height of the grass to determine when to mow. You usually want to let it get up to three inches in height before mowing (up to four is fine).

Sod is different. It takes root faster, and you can usually start mowing sod after two to three weeks. Once again, the growth rate of the grass will be your guide.

You can also overseed established grass. In this case, don’t worry about the new grass. It will be too short to get cut when it is sprouting. By the time it catches up to the rest of the lawn, it will be safe for mowing. Meanwhile, the established grass needs to be maintained, so keep to it.

What Time of Year Is It?

The seasons matter a lot. For the most part, you’ll be mowing three seasons a year. Winters are short in Texas and sometimes super mild. There might be special occasions where you need to mow during the winter. But, more often than not, you don’t need to mow at all during the winter.

Let’s start with spring. This is when the grass rebounds and tends to grow fast. Mow it on the short side. This will remove dead blades and stimulate good growth. Be careful not to scalp the lawn, but you can be more aggressive than normal in the spring.

Summer is when you will mow the most. How much will depend on the weather. For the most part, let the grass be taller in the summer, especially if it is a dry summer.

In Autumn things will slow down and you will prepare for the final mow. You want to stick in the middle of the spectrum until the last mow of the season. For that, cut the grass on the short side. This will help to prevent any trapping of moisture, which can help lawn-killing fungi establish a foothold.

If you do have to mow in the Winter, keep things short to release moisture. If the grass is properly dormant, don’t mow. It’s good to care for your lawn. If you want the best care possible, talk to Clearfork Lawn Care. We’re always here to help, and we’ll be happy to provide expert advice and professional services that do great things for your lawn. Contact us at your convenience and one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer your lawn care questions.