It may surprise you that there's more to grass cutting than cranking up the lawnmower and pushing it across the lawn. Both mowing height and frequency are important to the health of your grass.
Though it may reduce the number of times you have to mow, cutting your grass short is harmful to your lawn in the long run. Mowing with a low blade height removes nutrients stored in leaf blades and exposes the soil to sunlight, allowing weeds to take hold more easily. Taller grass is better able to compete with weeds, thanks to a larger root system and a higher tolerance for heat. It also shades the ground, allowing the soil to retain water more effectively.
Given these benefits, it's a good idea to cut your grass at the tallest height recommended for your grass type, which are as follows:
- Common bermudagrass: 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters)
- Fescue: 2-3.5 inches (5-9 centimeters)
- Kentucky bluegrass: 2-3.5 inches (5-9 centimeters)
- St. Augustine: 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters)
- Zoysia: 0.5-1.5 inches (1-4 centimeters)[source: Morris]
Mow your lawn often enough so that you're only removing the top one-third of the blades. This places less stress on the grass, and the smaller clippings are able to decompose more easily. Avoid bagging these clippings; this added organic matter is actually quite good for the soil.