How high should the grass be cut? A great question which seems like it should have a simple answer. Yes and no. It depends. The short answer, pardon the pun, is 1-3.75” as a general rule.
Location longitude as such how far northern or southern you live, type and variety of grass, as well as time of year are all big factors in determining the optimal height at which grass should be kept.
Shearing it down to a miserly ½” such that supposedly one “won’t have to cut it as often” will likely backfire; and is firmly slotted in the myth category.
One might get away with it in a rainy summer, but dandelions and twitch grass invasions grow much faster than regular grass, and one will find towering tundra amongst your organic green exterior shag turf. One flash of heat and it’ll be crispier than sponge toffee, and might take months to recover.
Grass Cutting Height Depends on Location
Location, location, location is true for lawn height as well. How high to mow your lawn really depends on location Northern or Southern, type and variety of grass and time of year. Height and length in Arizona or Florida is not the same as in Toronto, Canada or the GTA.
In southern areas sun is hotter and sears the grass, thus the longest length for the variety type is usually best. In more northern regions such as Toronto and the GTA, if it’s not the heat of summer, often 2” is ample; however 3” can give nice shade to the roots and if a sudden hot spell comes along, your grass likely won’t suffer the consequences.
Spring Grass Cutting Height
In spring, though, don’t shear off more than 1/3 of the height of the grass at a single cutting – just evening it out for the first cut is ideal… then in subsequent cuts work down to the height of your choice.
The optimal height of grass is between 2-3”generally speaking. Lawns left too long, though can lead to mosquito infestations, and crawly critters like snakes, mice and moles. Also be careful to lift what looks like a brown batch of lawn cuttings, baby rabbits can be underneath, so it’s always good to stop and check… instead of having bad haunting memories.
In summer it usually rains around once every five days, on average, thus schedule to be mowing one’s lawn once per week, optimally before the rain. However it’s worth the extra mow here and there to keep it at the ideal height.
Re-seeding in spring is often a good idea as well, to give those blank patches a chance to catch up before summer. Build a barricade, tape it off, or use tomato cages to keep stragglers from wandering over it until it has a chance to get fuller and thicker.
Summer Grass Cutting Height
In summer, don’t cut the grass too short – especially if it’s a hot summer. Grass like “cool feet” which means the roots like to be shaded for optimal plant health. It also helps the young grass seedlings that have self seeded, a chance to grow, and keep weeds crowded out.
If it is cut too short and the sun sears it to a crisp, it’s harder for it to regain its former glory and the kids will be running on what feels like a wire brush, the pets as well, their paw pads do not take well to the heat, or the now barbarous spikes.
Grass clippings if not too long and are short enough to fall between the grass can also help add nutrients back into the soil naturally.
Autumn Grass Cutting Height
In the late fall is when you can take more liberties in shearing it right down – to as low as ½” in late, late fall just before winter. One ought to resist the temptation to try this any sooner, though, as an Indian summer can torch your grass and leave it unhealthy and struggling over winter.
Also, even using a regular lawn mower can be used as a mulcher if the operator drives the leaves away from the house to the properties edge, or to a spot in which it will be raked it onto tarps to be transported elsewhere (such as the garden) or bag in leaf bags; in this case the highest cutting settings are used, as leaves can get caught up near mufflers and motors and could be a fire hazard – this is done at the operators own risk, and all experience operators are sure to wear protective shoes as the mower deck is much higher than they are used to on previous occasions. Of course raking and bagging whole leaves are great options as well.
Variety of Grass & Grass Cutting Height
Last but definitely not least is the actual variety of the sod itself. Each particular type of grass has specific height requirements. Cool season turf is often used in Canada, such as Kentucky bluegrass, known for its deep blue-green colour and Ryegrass, often used in heavy foot traffic areas such as sports fields, hotels and playgrounds and Canadian blue grass which is creeping and fine textured, very low maintenance and used near streams and conservation and hilly areas which are hard to maintain with equipment. Cool season grasses have a range of 1-4 inches.
Warm-season turf such as centipede, St. Augustine, Bermuda, and zoysia are found in warmer climates such as southern states, and achieves peak grown in midsummer. If you have a vacation property down south, be aware Zenith zoysia thrives at 1.25” however Empire can range from 1-3”. Knowing the variety can make all the difference between a struggling lawn and great green lush grass.
Shade grasses and full sun varieties also have their own criteria, as usually listed on the bag, be sure to double check when in the seasonal isle next.
Grass cutting can be very therapeutic for most people, not just the exercise and sun, but just being outside and getting a fresh perspective.
About Us Hollingworth Landscaping & Maintenance:
Got too much on the go? Need a hand at your home or vacation property? We’re here to help in any and all seasons that suit you, including snow removal and walkways when the time comes. Not just maintenance, we do landscape design, basement waterproofing and stonework including front entrance, retaining walls interlocking and more.
Commercial Lawn Maintenance & Landscaping:
Keeping your commercial property looking crisp, clean and safe all year round is paramount to keeping aesthetics as high as the quality of goods or services provided.
We are here every season for all commercial requirements, and can service multiple retail, medical, warehouse, office, farm and multiple rental properties.
Our service area covers Bradford, Newmarket, Innisfil, Holland Landing Aurora, Richmond Hill, King and surrounding areas.