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How High or Low Should I Cut The Grass

Q: When I mow my lawn, how high or low should I cut the grass?

A: When mowing, far too many people will set their mowers too low or “scalp” the lawn. This leads to thin and dying grass and shallow root systems. Each grass type has a height range that it prefers to be mowed to be healthier, look better and last through the season without dying out from lack of water. The depth of the root system is in direct correlation to the height you mow. So, the higher you mow, the deeper the roots, the more water the grass can get and the less you have to water.

In general, two types of grasses are what we deal with. Cool Season grasses: Fescue, Bluegrass, Ryegrass. These are the most common in the Southeast. These grasses like to be mowed at a range of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high. Fescue looks best at least 3 inches high. Bluegrass is the most tolerant to lower mowing, but should still be left at least 2 1/2 inches.

The other type is Warm Season grasses: Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede. These grasses will tolerate as low a cutting as most homeowner’s mowers will cut.

Golf courses use a lot of Bermuda and Zoysia, and they routinely cut it as low as 1/2 inch. A typical home lawn will look nice at 1 inch, providing you have a smooth grade.

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