Expert tips about fall lawn height and mowing in North Georgia

lawn care servicesWe at Terra Bites are often asked “How high should I let my grass to get before cutting it?” It is a common question. So you are not alone if you are wondering the same thing!  One of the reasons it is such a common question is because different types of grass have different needs. You may have noticed this if you have moved from one house to the next, or traveled to different parts of the country.

There is a general rule – and it is easier to stick to in the fall when growth slows. A good time to mow is when your lawn height is at about 3 and 2/3 inches. You just want the top 1/3 of the blades cut. This puts your final grass height at two and a half inches.

Why is 2 1/2 inches an optimal grass height? Because your goal is a well-balanced and healthy lawn!  On the one hand, mowing the grass is like “pinching” a garden plant to stimulate new growth. So if you’re letting the grass get too tall, you’re not mowing very much, which means you’re missing a great opportunities to make your lawn healthier and more attractive. On the other hand, if you cut grass too short, you stress it, creating more work for yourself. Here are some guidelines if you know which type of grass you have:

MOWING HEIGHT in inches 
Common Bermuda 1.5-2.5
Hybrid Bermuda 0.5-1.5
Centipede grass 1.5-2.0
Kentucky bluegrass 2.5-3.5
Tall fescue 2.5-4.0
St. Augustine 2.5-4.0
Zoysia 0.75-2.5

Another tip is to mow often enough that you don’t have to bag the clippings. Many people have a schedule, like mowing every Saturday. Unfortunately, your lawn doesn’t always grow according to a calendar. The best time to mow is when your lawn needs mowing!  Weather and rainfall will affect the rate of growth of your grass. When you mow often enough that you don’t have to bag clippings, you are also “recycling” your fertilizer. Most of the nutrients in the grass blades are concentrated in the tips. When you leave them on the lawn, the nutrients are returned to the lawn, and it will stay greener. When you’re mowing often enough, leaving clippings on the lawn does not contribute to thatch, as previously believed.

Proper mowing height is essential for the health of your grass. Mowing is one of the single most important aspects of lawn care. How you mow your lawn will greatly affect the way it looks, no matter what we do. Proper mowing will improve the quality of your lawn, increase the health of the turf and decrease weeds. Don’t forget to keep your blades sharp. If not sharp, you’ll be tearing, not cutting the grass. Mower blades should be sharpened at least twice each season.

Mow in a different pattern each time. Mowing in a different direction will reduce wear and tear on the lawn from the lawnmower wheels, reduce compaction, and eliminate visible “mowing lines.”