A common question which even the most experienced gardeners will ask themselves when they are mowing their lawn is; ‘How high should I be cutting the grass to make the lawn as healthy as possible?’.
This is an especially common question for people who are new to maintaining a lawn, but even the most experienced people may not know the correct information.
The grass height is not something that most people consider, but if the thought goes through your head, sometimes it can be something you want to address.
It is common that most people will mow their lawn roughly every weekend, usually when the grass has gotten too long.
However, some people even have a landscaping team who visit their lawn every week, and people may never personally consider how the length of the grass will impact the health of the grass and the lawn.
You may not know this, but the height of the grass in your lawn is something most people should consider, and can end up being an incredibly important factor when it comes to caring for your lawn.
This will also be something that will directly affect the environmental impact and benefits of your lawn, and any green space in general.
Because of how important the grass height in your lawn can be, this article will go into all the details you need to know. We will not just cover how high your lawn should be, but also why you should have it this high and what this impacts.
So, if you have ever wondered just what the best height your grass should be, and if there are any factors that could make the optimal height change.
Even if you have dedicated just a passing thought to the best length of grass for a lawn, this article will have some information you need!
How Grass Works
Something that is worth getting out of the way now so you have the information for reference, is the exact anatomy of the grass. This ensures that you will know exactly what we are talking about with parts of the grass and how it works.
If you were unaware, your grass grows from tiny seeds, and these seeds will sprout, or instead germinate in your soil, and they will grow not just above, but also under the surface of the soil.
The part of the grass that is growing above the surface of the ground will be called the blade of the grass, and the part of the grass that is growing underground is known as the root.
There are actually different types and species of grass, and these different types of grass can have blades that look different.
For example, some types of grass will have a blade that is more similar to a broad leaf, while others will be significantly more narrow.
These different blades are not just aesthetically different, but can make your grass thrive better in different conditions, for example, in the full sun or the full shade.
It is worth noting that also ornamental grass can grow to be pretty tall. However, the minimum height you should be keeping, every type of grass is somewhere between 2 and a half to 3 inches tall.
The issue here is that most people will end up making their grass a lot more short than this. This will often end up killing or just harming the grass.
This will cost money to fix and can cause quite a few problems both in the short and the long term.
So, to answer the main question, the best height for your grass is to be at around two and a half inches throughout the year.
There is one exception to this, and this is in the springtime when you will want your lawn to grow to be a little longer, somewhere above 3 inches is ideal at this time.
The reason you want your grass to grow taller in the spring is because this will directly help with preventing weeds, as well as crabgrass from dominating the grass.
But, no matter how tall you are making your grass, you only want to be getting rid of the top third of the blade of grass.
The reason why you only want to be trimming the top third of the grass is because it will stimulate growth, while avoiding putting any stress on the grass. The longer blade length will also ensure that weeds will not take hold too easily.
No matter how tall you want your grass to be, you really want to avoid cutting it any lower than 2 inches as this makes it a lot easier to avoid issues which are prevalent with shorter grass.
If you are cutting the grass too short, this is often called scalping and it makes it, so weeds will be able to take root a lot more easily.
Generally speaking, a lawn which is short is a lot more stressed and the ground is going to be exposed to a lot more sunlight, and therefore heat as well.
If you are cutting too short, you are also putting a lot more stress on the grass as it will have to focus more on growing the blade instead of strengthening the roots.
This all contributes to a weaker system where the grass is not able to draw in as many nutrients because of the weaker roots, and this makes it a lot more likely to get damaged or pulled up.
To keep the lawn at a certain height, you do not need to directly measure your whole lawn, you can instead mark a spot on your mower which can be used as a reference.
How To Adjust Your Mower
So, now you know how high you should be mowing your lawn, the best way to put this into effect is to set the height of your mower. This will ensure that you are consistently mowing at the right height.
You can adjust the height of your mower quite easily, and it will ensure that the lawn is not getting scalped and staying healthy.
While there are some common methods of changing the height of your mower, this is usually different with different mowers, because of this, you will want to refer to your owner’s manual, or if you have lost it, look up the model online and finding instructions there.
A lawn mower, or a lawn tractor will usually use a specific hydraulic or mechanical lever that is used for raising and lowering the whole mowing deck.
If you are using a push mower, you will likely need to manually adjust the mowing height using the wheels. This is the easiest way to adjust your mowing height and avoid scalping your lawn.
If you are struggling to adjust your mower, you may want to look up video guides online, or enlisting the help of a professional lawn worker, or a technician.
The Best Blade Sharpness
Something that should also be considered when you are adjusting the mower height is also the sharpness of your mower’s blade and keeping it as sharp as possible.
The best way to keep your mower working as well as possible is to keep your blade sharpened at least twice a year.
If you are skilled enough, you can actually sharpen your blades yourself if you are using a grindstone, file, or a bench grinder.
There is also the option to buy replacement blades, these can be bought online, from a store, or from the manufacturer.
Make sure you remove the spark plug from your lawn mower before doing any maintenance so you do not accidentally start your mower when working on it.
Working With A Mowing Schedule
A mowing schedule, like mowing every Saturday, for example, is not actually going to be the best thing to do.
Of course, it is tempting to do a chore like this on a regular basis, however, there are some other factors that you should keep in mind when it comes to mowing.
For example, the best time for you to mow will actually heavily rely on the weather. Your grass will actually get a growth spurt whenever it has just rained, and if there is not enough water, your grass will simply not grow as much.
This is why we recommend avoiding a schedule.
Instead, you will probably want to focus more on instead focusing on the height of the grass, and using this as a guide to influence when you are mowing your lawn.
This usually means you will not actually need to mow as much and can save you a lot of time.
A lot of people tend to mow their lawn far too often, this does not just ruin the health of the lawn, but also wastes a lot of their time and effort.
So, if you mow your lawn on a regular basis every week, we recommend reassessing and judging based on the length of your grass.
Landscaping Schedule Too
This is also why if you have hired a landscaping company, you should know what their methods of working on your lawn are and managing this as well.
Some landscaping companies are used to people wanting them to scalp their lawns since this is what a lot of people prefer. Instead, make sure your landscaping team is only working when there is work for them to do.
Some landscaping companies are more focused on architecture and design principles, and are not as well informed when it comes to the health of the lawn, so make sure you keep this in mind when instructing them.
You are of course paying your landscaping company to mow, so if you have them scheduled, this is usually what they will do, so make sure they are only mowing when this needs to be done.
For example, if you have newly seeded grass, you want to ensure that it has gotten established before it gets mowed for the first time. You will not want to mow freshly seeded grass until it has gotten to at least 2.5 to 3 inches tall.
And, if your new grass is grown from sod instead of a seed, then you will want to make sure that you have given it at least between 2 and 3 weeks before you are mowing it.
Best Conditions For Lawn Mowing
If you did not know, the best time for you to be mowing your lawn is actually in the early evening in spite of a lot of people assuming the best time is in the morning or midday.
The reason you want to be mowing your lawn in the early evening is because you will be avoiding any recent rainfall, this will mean that the lawn is dry and easy to mow.
If you are instead mowing your lawn in the morning, there is more of a chance for there to be dew on the grass.
This wet grass getting into your mower can end up clogging it up which can be a pain to fix and usually ends with an uneven cut as well.
You should also aim to avoid mowing your lawn before the hottest part of the day, this will mean that your grass will be vulnerable to extra stress from the heat and this is something you generally want to avoid.
You will already be stressing your grass if you are trimming it, so if you do it before nighttime, you will be giving it a lot of time to recover from the stress instead of piling it on.
Something else that is worth considering when it comes to mowing your lawn is to also consider the mowing direction.
If you are always following the same route when you are mowing your lawn, this can lead your grass to lean in a specific direction permanently. This, in the long run, can lead to your lawn to grow uneven and will look off.
Instead, try and change the pattern you mow in every time, so your grass will grow as strong and tall as possible.
Also, while they do not always look aesthetically pleasing, keeping the clippings on your lawn can actually be incredibly beneficial for the health of your plants.
These clippings will discourage weeds from popping up, and they also give your plants nitrogen which they will need.
However, if you want to bag your clippings, then at least try and compost them to turn into a fertilizer that you can use on your lawn annually.
Summary – Environmental Benefits
This is not something all gardeners know, but the way you mow your lawn, and the height of your grass actually has a direct environmental impact on your local ecosystem.
For example, on top of improving the grass health and root ecosystem, there are other benefits. For example, longer grass will more effectively filter out toxins from water rainfall.
They also help with temperature moderation by absorbing heat from the sun and aid with photosynthesis.
The cooling effect of longer grass also leads to strain on your personal energy systems as well. Longer grass also helps support honey bee colonies too!