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When to Mow and How Much to Cut

North

Best time of day to mow is the evening once the sun is lower in the sky.  Cut cool-season grasses when they reach heights of 3- to 3-½-inches—typically once a week.  If the lawn grows too high for you to cut off one-third of the height and have an acceptable length, cut off one-third and then wait two or three days before cutting off another one-third.

If you cut more than one-third, you will have: 1) clumps of clippings that lie on top of the lawn, 2) slower decomposition, and 3) a less attractive, bristly appearing lawn.  If this occurs, rake and remove or use a leaf blower to obliterate the shavings.  Short cutting will stunt or slow root grow and weaken the grass plants.  Remember, it is far easier to cut the lawn when it needs it and reduce the extra work.  See below for some recommended mowing heights based on grass type.

Learn more about choosing the best mower for your yard.

South

Best time of day to mow is the evening once the sun is lower in the sky.  Cut warm-season grasses when they reach heights of 2- to 2-½-inches.  If the lawn grows too high for you to cut off one-third of the height and have an acceptable length, cut off one-third and then wait two or three days before cutting off another one-third.

If you cut more than one-third, you will have: 1) clumps of clippings that lie on top of the lawn, 2) slower decomposition, and 3) a less attractive, bristly appearing lawn.  If this occurs, rake and remove or use a leaf blower to obliterate the shavings.  Short cutting will stunt or slow root grow and weaken the grass plants.  Remember, it is far easier to cut the lawn when it needs it and reduce the extra work.  See below for some recommended mowing heights based on grass type.

Recommended Mowing Heights

Grass Type                             Inches

Annual ryegrass                       2 to 2-1/2
Bahiagrass                               2 to 3
Bermuda grass                         1 to 1-1/2
Centipede grass                       1-1/2 to 2
Fine Fescue                              2 to 2-1/2
Kentucky bluegrass                  2-1/2 to 3
Perennial ryegrass                    2 to 2-1/2
St. Augustinegrass                   2 to 3
Tall fescue                                2-1/2 to 3-1/2
Zoysiagrass                              1 to 2

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