Woman mowing her lawn with jacket and pants on during the fall season

What Is the Ideal Height for Cutting My Lawn?

Even though we’re well into fall, we hope you’re still mowing your lawn. Keeping your grass trimmed helps the rest of your yard flourish and keeps away unwanted critters, even once winter sets in. But exactly how short should you be cutting that grass?

Before you schedule landscaping fall cleanup services and put your lawn mower back in the shed until spring, take this opportunity to learn a little more about the right height for cutting your lawn!

Don’t Cut Too Short

If you cut your grass too short, you might pat yourself on the back, assuming you’re saving yourself a few weekends’ worth of lawn care. But unlike hair, which grows back regardless of how short you cut it, grass that is cut too short can actually be permanently damaged. Short grass blades get “stressed” and grow back much slower. When early winter rolls around and the growing season ends, you’ll be stuck with a barren, lifeless lawn.

In addition, when the sun hits your newly buzz-cut grass, something else is getting nutrients, too — all those wily weed seeds lurking just under the surface. Yes, that’s right, mowing too much can actually cause weeds, which only makes your life harder later down the line.

Don’t Leave It Long

Just because short grass can cause problems doesn’t mean you should let your grass grow wild and crazy, either. Excessively long grass can wind up causing bald patches on your lawn as the grass competes for nutrients. In addition, weeds sprout up like crazy from unmowed lawns since their seeds have already taken root. And once the weeds show up, you might get some uninvited visitors, too, such as rodents, insects, and even deer looking for a meal.

How Long Is “Just Right?”

So what’s the “Goldilocks” ideal mowing height? All grass is a little bit different, but as a general rule of thumb, you should allow grass to grow to about 3 inches or higher. Why is around 3” the ideal grass height? Because at this length, the grass still has room to grow and seek out nutrients but isn’t tall enough to promote weed growth or encourage critters to sneak onto your lawn looking for a safe place to nest.

To maintain an ideal grass height of 3”, keep a tape measure or yardstick handy and do your mowing before the lawn reaches 4½ inches high. Up here in PA, you’ll rarely have to mow the lawn in the winter, but in order to know when your grass is growing the fastest, it’s useful to research if your lawn has cool-season grass or warm-season grass. Kentucky bluegrass, a standard variety of lawn grass, is a cool-season species. Another common type, called “St. Augustine grass,” prefers warmer weather. Even though these grasses are wildly different in their behavior, the average untrained eye can’t always tell the difference between them, so you’ll need to do some online research or contact a landscaper for more information.

Get Landscaping Help Today!

Lawn care season has almost come to an end, but don’t forget to make the final push to take care of your yard this year. You’ll be glad you did when the weather warms back up in the springtime! If you need help with landscaping and hardscaping or just want to shop for unique garden gifts this winter, stop by Anthony Landscapes anytime or schedule service with our friendly team. We’re always here for you!