If you like to get out and mow your own lawn but you want it to look like it is professionally maintained, keeping it at the ideal height is the secret to your success. Letting your lawn grow too long, or cutting it too short will not only look bad in the short term, but it makes your lawn more susceptible to weeds, diseases, insects and die off. Cutting it to the correct height will stimulate growth from the crown of the grass and give your turf a dense growing pattern that will look stunning. So, what is the ideal height to keep your grass looking good? There are a few things to consider.
Type of Grass
In general, the ideal height to keep your grass is 3/4 of an inch. That said, it can be slightly different depending on the type of grass that makes up your lawn. Bermuda grass is highly recommended by professionals because of its hardiness to a wide variety of conditions. The ideal height for Bermuda grass is 3/4 of an inch to 1-inch maximum. Both Rye and Fescue are also popular and they can be kept just slightly longer, at around 1 to 1/12 inches, but they will still thrive if you maintain them at 3/4 of an inch. In most cases you can follow the 3/4 of an inch guideline but if you are concerned about your variety of grass, consult with a lawn care professional.
Rule of One-Third
Follow the rule of cutting away only the top 1/3 of your grass for a healthy lawn. Going any shorter than this in one cut not only makes mowing harder but also it exposes the grass to disease and weed takeover. In order to follow this rule you will likely have to mow your lawn quite frequently. At certain times of year your lawn will grow faster than at other times and you may have to mow every few days to maintain the ideal height without over-cutting. If your grass height gets away on you due to fertilization, wet conditions or taking time off, just change the height of your mower blade so that it only takes 1/3 of the height off. To get back to your ideal height you can give the grass just a day or two to recover and then mow again.
Under extreme conditions such as an extended drought or a cold snap you may want to leave your grass to grow just a little longer. For most varieties you can let them get as long as 1 1/2 to 2 inches. This will protect the roots of the grass from frost damage, and water will not evaporate off of slightly longer grass as quickly in the case of a drought.
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