As the weekend rolls around, the hum of lawn mowers will fill the neighborhood, and

property owners across the country will be participating in one of the most common

landscaping practices, cutting grass shorter and shorter. Whether you’re using a small,

push rotary cutter on a small landscape, or a large riding mower to manage a

commercial property or sport field, how often and how short you cut are major factors

in the overall appearance and vitality of your turf. Are you cutting your grass too short?

In order to maintain a healthy landscape, consider the following three factors when

trimming your lawn.


Grass height and growth habits

Before you mow, take stock of your turf’s range of cutting heights. Different grasses

have different growth habits, therefore the type of turf will set the guidelines for the

prime cutting height range. Here are some grass-type best practices for home and

commercial landscapes:

Cool-season grasses

  • Fine Fescue: 0.5-3 inches
  • Tall Fescue: 1.5-4 inches
  • Bluegrass: .75-3.5 inches
  • Ryegrass: .75-3 inches

Warm-season grasses

  • Bermuda: .5-2.5 inches
  • Buffalo: 1.5-4 inches
  • Zoysia: .5-2 inches
  • St. Augustine: 1-3 inches


Environmental factors

The time of year greatly affects your mowing habits. For example, environmental

changes in the height of summer constitute grass heights toward the top of their

suggested cutting ranges to prevent weeds and conserve water. Similarly, if your lawn

features include deep shade, turf should be maintained at a taller height than the same

turf in the sun, as it will need more leaf area to stay healthy.


Maintaining the blade

The third and most important factor to consider when mowing is what percentage of

the leaf you will be cutting each time you mow. Professional turf managers know that if

you cut more than 30% of the leaf blade at once, you will detrimentally affect the

appearance and growth of the turf. Consequently, the shorter you keep the turf, the

more frequently you need to mow. If you’re looking to turn your lawn into a tee box, cut

away and your lawn will be looking like Pebble Beach in no time. Of course, they mow

and maintain every day.


If you’re not up for that, take a look at your mowing schedule and be sure to

accommodate the growth rate of your turf between scheduled clippings. Are you set up

on a weekly or bi-monthly mowing schedule? Consider all of the above factors and your

lawn will be looking healthy and conserving water in no time.


Want to hear more from Banyan’s landscape experts? Contact us today.