A healthy beautiful “WOW” lawn is a partnership. We don’t want mowing height to be the missing component. When you mow grass tall, the grass has deeper roots. Grass needs to be cut at a minimum height of 4 inches. The length of the roots is indirect proportion to the height of the grass. Root depth increases as mowing height increases. A lawn with deep roots has a greater stress tolerance to drought, foot traffic, pet urine, and is healthier to defend off diseases and insects. Lawn maintained at a proper height (4”) will require less input (reseeding, water, fertilizer, disease control, and insect control). At the same time, cosmetically the lawn color quality is a darker green. If you mow lower than 4 inches, your lawn becomes a lighter green color and is more susceptible to weeds, undesirable grasses, drought stress, disease, and insects. THE MOWING HEIGHT NEEDS TO BE AT LEAST 4 INCHES AND 4.5” IS EVEN BETTER.IF YOU MOW LOWER THAN 4 INCHES, WE ARE NOT HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INEVITABLE DECLINE AND DAMAGE OF YOUR LAWN! WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT MOWING HEIGHT IS! I know this may come off harsh, but we know that you are paying premium price so we want you to have premium results.
In addition to mowing height, line trimming height and techniques need to be discussed. Line trimmers are used to create that perfect finished look along street curbs, driveways, sidewalks, up next to the house or fence, and tidy up other areas that the mower is unable to reach. The soil is usually very rocky next to the street, driveway, sidewalk, and around mailbox. Trimming the lawn low combined with poor rocky soil will lead to significant lawn thinning and decline by the end of the season. These are the common areas that need to be reseeded every fall. Depth control is very challenging with a line trimmer. It is not uncommon to see the lawn trimmed too low (2”) in these areas. When operating a line trimmer, it is important to be aware of the height you are trimming and trim at 90 degree angles along streets, driveways, and sidewalks.
Purchasing a Mower
The one thing to remember when shopping for a mower is to shop with a TAPE MEASURER! It is difficult to get an accurate measurement because the blade is shielded from view by the mow deck. However, you can’t estimate cut height by simply measuring the mow deck clearance from the floor. Many times the blade is recessed up to 3/8 of an inch from the bottom of the mow deck. A mow height gauge greatly simplifies the mow deck height measurement and ensures an accurate reading (Figure 1). When measuring mow height, rotate blade towards the front and measure the blade tip pointing forward (Figure 2). By design the rear blade should be 1/4” to 1/2” higher than the front.
Three Mowing Maintenance Options
Many of our clients enjoy mowing their lawn for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, most mowers sold at big box stores have a maximum mow height of 3.5” or less. Chances are your mower will not mow over 3.5 inches and you will have to buy a new mower. In the last three years, we have measured (professionally/correctly) over 1,000 new client’s lawns. The mowing height ranges from 2.5 to 3.5” with less than 35% at the 4” height. You might be saying to yourself “what is the difference between 3.5” vs 4”. The mow height difference would probably not be distinguishable to a passerby. However, the 0.5” mow height can make a huge difference in the summer months. Mowing height should be compared as if it was on a logarithmic scale. An earthquake difference of 0.5 on the Richter scale can mean the difference between buildings and bridges standing. It’s HUGE.
Recommended Mower Brands
Walk Behind Mowers
Walk behind lawn mower brands that we know at the time of this writing (2021) that mow 4 plus inches are Honda and Toro. Many of the Toro models (Super Recycler Timemaster) have a cutting height of 4.25”. The Toro height adjustment arm (Figure 3) can be moved beyond “G cog/teeth” to gain an extra 0.25” for a maximum height of 4.5”. This ability to go beyond the last setting applies to metal cogs/teeth. The plastic cogs/teeth will not allow adjustment to go further. The Toro models shown below are not usually sold at the big box stores. You need to go to a Toro dealer. The Honda’s maximum cutting height is 4.0”. The other brands typically have a maximum cutting height of 3.5”. The one thing to remember when shopping for a mower is to shop with a TAPE MEASURER!
Lawn Tractors/ Ride-On
Most lawn tractor brand such as Ariens, Bolens, Cub Cadet, Craftsman, Husqvarna, John Deere (low end), Murray, Troy-Bilt, Snapper, Yard-Man, Yard Machines, White Outdoor, and Weed Eater to name a few are made by Modern Tool and Die (MTD). Most lawn tractors in the residential category will cut from 1 to 4” with some topping out at around 3.4-3.6”. You typically do not see greater than 4” cut until you get into the higher end residential zero turns and commercial mowers. The number on the height adjuster are for reference only and do not refer to any exact mow height; so it is difficult to confirm what is the actual cut height without a tape measurer. At the time of this writing (2021), John Deere models consistently have the ability to mow 4” plus, but still remember to shop with a TAPE MEASURER! It is not uncommon to need to adjust mow deck linkages to maximize mow height range on the day the lawn tractor is purchased. Keep tires fully or over inflated (25 psi) to ensure mow height is maximized.
How TALL should you MOW your LAWN? Perfect Height?
Contracted Mowing Service
Make sure your contractor has the cutting height set to 4 inches. We will be measuring the cutting height when we apply treatments and let you know.
Lawns by Dr Vaughan Mowing Service
Lawns by Dr Vaughan mowing program will significantly improve your lawn’s health and color quality. We utilize 30” walk behind mowers to prevent ruts, tire turning divots, and “tire death rings” around trees which are created by heavy ride-on zero turn mowers. Mower cutting height is set to 4.5 inches. Your lawn will never look so good this summer when the Virginia heat and humidity sets in. Your lawn is inspected every week so our team will recognize early problems before the grass declines. One huge financial benefit of our program is that the need for the frequent expense of fall reseeding to thicken up your lawn is reduced significantly for most lawns. Your lawn will be looking like a spring lawn all summer long.
Lawn Mower Height Settings (Right Height for Different Scenarios)
Adjusting your lawn mower height settings is something you’re going to be doing a lot for a bunch of different reasons. The weather, the time of year, and even the type of grass you have growing in the yard can all require you to adjust the height of your mower.
So, what height should you set your lawn mower to? Well, let’s look at the different factors and scenarios that will determine which height setting to pick.
What Are the Typical Lawn Mower Height Settings?
If you take a look at your lawn mower height settings, you’ll notice that the numbers don’t always represent the actual height of the cut. Usually, they are just a reference you can use to determine how your lawn mower reacts to your grass.
So, your push mower might need to be set to three to achieve a 4-inch cut, whereas a zero-turn might need to be set to five. So, what are the typical lawn mower height settings? Well, there aren’t any.
Figuring Out what the Lawn Mower Height Numbers Mean
To work out what the numbers on your lawn mower mean, you’ll want to carry out a couple of cutting tests. This will enable you to match a real-life cut height that your lawn mower makes to the cut height scale on your lawn mower.
So, set the mower to full height, then cut a small strip on your lawn. Then, take a tape measure and measure the distance from the soil to the top of the cut. Repeat this process, dropping the lawn mower one setting at a time until you reach the cut height you want.
Once you have the results, you’ll see what the actual number means, and you’ll be able to set the height correctly in the future.
Choosing the Right Lawn Mower Height Setting for Today
Now that you have the results of your cutting test, it’s time to figure out where to set your lawn mower. Depending on the grass type you have in your lawn and the weather conditions, you may want to make some adjustments to your mower’s cutting height so that you can keep your lawn in the best possible condition.
Let’s take a look at the different factors that will determine what height to set your lawn mower blade height.
Choosing Lawn Mower Height Settings To Match your Grass Type
For lawn grass to do well, it must be mowed to a certain height. This means it’s important to know what the ideal cut length is for your particular lawn. For example, St. Augustine should be mowed at 2½ to 3 inches, Floratam should be cut at 3 to 4 inches, and Tall Ficus 2 to 3 inches.
Now, I know that these cut heights only differ by a very small amount, but it can make the difference between a good lawn and a bad lawn.
Picking a Cutting Height for Different Grass Conditions
When you cut your lawn, you start a process that makes the grass grow thicker with deeper roots. But this is when the grass is healthy and growing well. If your lawn isn’t doing so well or you have new sod, then you will want to cut it longer. So, you’ll need to adjust the cutting height.
This is also true for some grasses that are grown in the shade, such as St. Augustine. It’s recommended that you cut St. Augustine an extra ½ inch longer if it’s being grown in the shade. So, as you see, you’ll need to adjust your mowing heights for different parts of the lawn.
Lawn Mower Height Settings for Seasons Weather
Many types of grass like to be cut longer during the hot summer months so that they can cope with the heat better. As an example, Kentucky Bluegrass does much better if you mow at 2 ½ to 3 inches in the spring and fall months, then 3 to 3 ½ inches in the summer months.
Never Cut than a Third
There is a general rule that you should never cut more than a third of the grass blade off at any one time. This is because the grass can go into shock and kill the plant. So if your grass looks dead after cutting, it may be because you cut off too much.
Now I know that this can be very difficult during the summer, or after your lawn has been fertilized, because it can grow like crazy. As a result, this could be a good opportunity to lift your lawn mower to its maximum height and cause less stress to the lawn.
Pick a Lawn Mower Height to Scarify
Some lawns like to be scarified during the year to promote healthy growth and to remove thatch. So, if you have a lawn with grass like Fine Fescue, then you’ll be able to lower the mower down to less than an inch and turn your lawn mower into a scarifier. This is one of the reasons your lawn mower can cut so low.
Why It’s Important to Use Different Mower Height Settings for Different Scenarios
So, what happens if you just set your lawn mower to one height and never change it? Well, your lawn will definitely suffer, especially if you leave it at scarifying height. I’m sure you have driven around your neighborhood and seen those lawns that look brown and burned during the summer months. This is basically because the lawn is being cut too short and is being scalped.
Also, cutting the lawn too long can lead to poor root growth because the grass doesn’t know where to direct its efforts. So, you can see it’s important to adjust your cutting height throughout the year if you want that perfect lawn.
Mistakes When Selecting Lawn Mower Cut Heights
One big thing to remember is that the bigger the lawn mower, the heavier it is. Because of this, tractor mowers and zero-turn mowers will sink into the lawn much more than a lightweight push mower.
I’ve seen people setting their lawn mowers to what they believe is the correct height without ever actually testing the thickness of the lawn. You’ll find that if you use a push lawn mower on turfgrass like Floratam, it’s not going to have enough weight to compress the grass all the way down to the soil. Therefore, as the grass grows and gets thicker, the lawn mower will lift higher and higher over time.
So, if you have a very spongy and thick lawn, you might need to think about checking its thickness from the top of the cut lawn down to the soil and make a lawn push mower height setting adjustment.
Best Approach to Lawn Mower Height Settings
Now I know you were looking for a more simple answer, but as you’re probably already finding out, lawns and lawn mowers are not that straightforward. So, I’ve created a list of pointers you follow to adjust your lawn mower height settings and have a healthy lawn all year round.
- Measure the Actual Cut Height From the Soil to the Top of the Cut
- Know the Height Cutting Requirements for Your Specific Grass
- Be Aware of the Time of Year and Adjust the Cutting Height to Suit
- Be Aware of Sunny and Shaded areas of Your Yard and Make Adjustments
- Remember to Cut Your Lawn Longer During Peak Summer
- Don’t Cut Off Too Much Grass Blade at One Time
- Periodically Remeasure the Cut Height
About Tom Greene
I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the lawn mower guru (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Setting your mower deck too low and neglecting to sharpen your blades are recipes for disaster for your lawn! Here in Central Florida, we run into some difficulties around convincing homeowners to raise their mower decks a couple of inches since our grass grows so quickly year-round. However, it’s true–less than an inch can mean the difference between a healthy lawn or a dead one!
Hi James, I have lawncare buddies in southern Florida who tell me that grass down there never stops growing. It slows down but very rarely ever actually stops growing completely. They also tell me that unless they raise their decks during the summer, their mowers struggle to cut regardless of how powerful their mowers are. As you said, this can be difficult to express sometimes. Those lawns that just “have to be cut at the same height” end up taking much longer to cut and try to make look good. Definitely not an easy job. I totally agree. Having dull blades and cutting too low just result in scalping and ripping grass apart. Thanks for the comment. Tom.
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Manage Tall Grass: How Tall Of Grass Can a Lawn Mower Cut
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Are you a new homeowner who wants to learn more about lawn care? If so, you may wonder how tall grass your lawn mower can cut.
Knowing this information is important for ensuring that your grass stays healthy and taken care of and for understanding when it’s time to break out the clippers or buy a bigger mower.
The good news is that with some basic knowledge of the subject and perhaps even a straightforward test, you can determine precisely how tall your lawnmower can safely handle it!
In this blog post, we’ll walk through what factors go into determining maximum cutting height and talk about strategies for successfully managing taller grass.
How Tall Grass Can Lawn Mower Cut
Mowing your lawn can be overwhelming, especially for those with yards full of tall grass.
While most lawnmowers have a maximum cutting height of four inches, there are ways to extend this to accommodate taller grass.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the ideal height for cutting grass, the maximum height your lawn mower can cut, the benefits of keeping your lawn at a reasonable height, and the types of lawn mowers that can cut taller grass.
We’ll also look at safety tips and the best time to cut your tall grass with a lawn mower. Finally, we’ll offer some tips on maximizing efficiency when cutting tall grass with a lawn mower.
What is the Ideal Height for Cutting Grass?
The ideal height for cutting grass depends on your grass type. For cool-season grass such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, the general rule of thumb is to cut the grass to a height of two inches.
The ideal height for warm-season grass such as Bermuda and zoysia is slightly taller, usually between three and four inches.
Keeping your grass at an appropriate height helps maintain a healthy lawn and allows more air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots.
What Are the Benefits of Cutting Grass to a Specific Height?
Cutting grass to a specific height has several benefits.
First, it helps to keep weeds from taking over your lawn. Weeds thrive in taller grass, so keeping the grass mowed helps to suppress weed growth.
Additionally, cutting the grass to a specific height can help promote healthier and more vigorous growth.
Different grass varieties have different optimal heights for mowing; however, the general rule of thumb is to cut no more than one-third of the grass blade at any given time.
Cutting your grass too short can rob it of food-producing chlorophyll, weakening plants, and possible disease.
Lastly, cutting your grass to a specific height is essential for aesthetic purposes. A well-maintained lawn can add curb appeal and value to your home.
What is the Maximum Height Your Lawn Mower Can Cut?
It is important to know the maximum height your lawn mower can cut before attempting to cut tall grass.
Generally, the top setting for most mowers gives a cutting height between 3.25 and 4 inches.
This is the ideal height for most grasses, and cutting no more than one-third of the grass at a time will help keep your grass healthy.
Pt 1 How To Cut Tall Grass with Cheap Lawn Mower. Mowing Tall Overgrown Grass
However, if your lawn is taller than this after the initial trim, it is possible to cut through dense grass with a mower like this Makita commercial strength set to the highest position possible.
Riding mowers like this Husqvarna below are designed to cut grass up to 8 inches tall, while robotic mowers can handle heights up to 4 inches.
Every variety of grass has an ideal cutting height; however, a common mistake people make with their lawn is thinking they have to mow all the grass down to the same height.
Inching into fall, mid-length grass is the preference. In winter, tall grass can get matted down by snow and will not suffer from being left in a slightly longer state.
By knowing your lawn mower’s maximum cutting height and familiarizing yourself with the specific needs of the grass in your yard, you can ensure that your lawn looks its best regardless of the season.
The Benefits of Keeping Your Lawn at a Reasonable Height
Keeping your lawn at a reasonable height has many benefits. Mowing your lawn regularly helps to maintain its overall health by promoting grass growth and preventing weed growth.
Your lawn will also look more aesthetically pleasing when mowed to an appropriate height, as it will appear well-groomed and manicured.
Additionally, cutting your lawn at a reasonable height helps to reduce the risk of pests and diseases taking hold, as long grass can become a breeding ground for harmful pests and diseases.
Lastly, keeping your lawn at a reasonable height will help promote water retention in the soil, reducing the need for water during dry periods.
The Pros and Cons of Cutting Taller Grass with a Lawn Mower
Cutting taller grass with a lawn mower has both pros and cons. On the one hand, it can be done in a pinch if you don’t have access to a larger mower or trimmer.
Additionally, it is easier to maneuver a lawn mower than other mowers, making it well-suited for cutting taller grass in small areas.
On the other hand, cutting taller grass with a lawn mower is more labor-intensive than with other mowers.
Then it would help if you considered that your blades may not cut through the grass evenly, and the cut pieces may be uneven and patchy.
Further, it is more difficult to make tight turns when cutting tall grass with a lawn mower, making it more challenging to achieve a uniform cut.
How to Adjust the Height of Your Lawn Mower Blades
Cutting grass to an ideal height is an integral part of lawn care, and adjusting the height of your lawn mower blades is easy and can be done quickly.
Most modern lawnmowers have a lever or knob that adjusts the height of the blade.
Check your mower’s manual for specific instructions on adjusting the blade height. Generally, you can adjust the blade height by adjusting the lever or knob on your mower.
Once you have adjusted the blade height, ensure all four wheels are on the same level before you mow. This will ensure that you get an even cut across your lawn.
Also, ensure you use the proper settings for your particular type of grass. Some grasses need to be cut higher than others.
For example, cool-season grasses should be cut at two inches, while warm-season grasses should be cut at the height of three inches.
Types of Lawn Mowers That Can Cut Taller Grass
When cutting tall grass, your lawn mower can make a big difference. Reel mowers and electric mowers are designed for cutting grass up to 6 inches tall while riding mowers are designed for grass up to 8 inches tall.
- Reel mowers, like this Fiskars brand, are an excellent option for small yards, as they’re lightweight and maneuverable. They’re also quieter than their electric counterparts.
- Electric mowers, like this Makita brand, are ideal for larger yards, as they’re more powerful and can easily cut through thicker grass.
- Riding mowers, like the Husqvarna one above, are the best for yards with tall grass, as they can cut through up to 8 inches tall.
However, they are more expensive and require more upkeep than a reel or electric mower.
When choosing a lawn mower, consider the height of the grass you’ll be cutting and the size of your yard.
Safety Tips for Cutting Tall Grass with a Lawn Mower
When cutting tall grass with a lawn mower, safety is essential. Always wear safety goggles and long sleeves to protect yourself from flying debris.
Take your time while mowing, as tall grass can be challenging to maneuver. Clear any obstacles, like rocks or sticks that may be in the way before mowing.
Inspect your lawn mower blades before using them, as they may become dull over time and require sharpening for optimal results.
It’s also important to pay attention to the weather conditions. Avoid mowing when wet or rainy, as this can be dangerous and lead to slippery surfaces.
Finally, always use caution when operating a lawn mower and read the user manual for instructions on proper use.
The Best Time to Cut Your Tall Grass with a Lawn Mower
The best time of year to cut your tall grass with a lawn mower depends on the type of grass that you have.
Cool-season grasses, such as fescues and bluegrasses, need to be cut at a higher height during winter. In spring, these grasses should be mowed at a height of about three inches. Your tall grass should be cut to about two inches in the summer months.
Warm-season grasses, such as bermudagrass, St Augustinegrass, and centipedegrass, should be mowed at a higher height during summer. In spring and fall, these grasses should be cut to a height of about three inches. During winter, your tall grass should be cut to about two inches.
It is important to note that the ideal mowing height for your lawn depends on the type of grass you have and the current weather conditions.
Check with your lawn care professionals to determine the best mowing height for your grass type and weather conditions.
Conclusion: Maximizing Efficiency When Cutting tall grass With a lawn mower
When cutting tall grass with a lawn mower, it is essential to adjust the blade height and the type of mower for the best result.
Knowing the ideal cutting height for your particular type of grass is critical, and understanding the pros and cons of cutting taller grass can help you make an informed decision.
Additionally, selecting the correct type of mower and following safety tips are also important factors that should be considered.
By taking these points into account, you can maximize efficiency when cutting tall grass with a lawn mower.
Posted on Published: December 29, 2022. Last updated: April 29, 2023
I bought my first house in Elk Grove right after the housing implosion in 2008, I got a good deal but prior had only experience with apartments and definitely learned loads.
We sold there and moved to Texas later to follow employment and I was able to get a far nicer space built for enjoyment and entertainment and continue to learn little tasks and needs.
This site is my way to share them with you and hopefully help you skip out on the pitfalls and problems I have experienced!
Why does cutting height matter?
Most people are aware that your first mow of the year is best left slightly longer than normal, but what about cutting heights throughout the year?
Experts have varying opinions. Let’s take a look at what they’re saying and why. which should help you decide what’s good for your lawn.
Lawn mower cutting heights
All lawn mowers should have a variable cutting height. it’s a pretty basic function. Some lawn mower brands have more limited options than others
EGO’s range of battery powered lawn mowers has a wide range of cutting heights, suitable for domestic and commercial use.
- Our manual and self-propelled models allow you to cut the grass to between 20cm and 9.5cm (20mm and 95mm), depending on model.
- Our Z6 Zero-Turn Ride-On (ZTR) mower has a large cutting height range of between 2.5 – 10cm (25mm and 100mm – 10 settings).
Type of grass affects the cutting height you should choose. However, there are other factors you should consider, like the season and the weather.
If you’re new to mowing, or you want to take full advantage of the functionality of your EGO mower, be prepared to experiment a little.
Guide to lawn cutting heights
- The average height of an ordinary, healthy lawn mid-season can be 20mm to 25mm.
- The average height of an ordinary lawn in cooler, wetter weather can be 40mm or longer.
- Consider raising the height of your lawn to improve the biodiversity in your garden, use less energy, and encourage wildlife and valuable ‘weeds’. see our guide to eco friendly lawn care.
Tips and inspiration
- Only ever cut a third off the total height of your lawn at a time to keep it healthy and looking good.
- Leave your first mow of the year slightly longer and leave cuttings scattered on top for the nutrients.
- Lower your cutting height incrementally until you get the results you want. Experiment carefully with higher and lower cuts.
- Raise your cutting height in hot weather, allowing your lawn to grow longer and prevent moisture in the ground from being evaporated.
- If you want to support wildlife and insects, cut your entire lawn at a high cutting height (80-95mm) then mow paths, play areas and patterns within it at a lower cutting height.
- Don’t mow your lawn if the ground is wet. you risk accidentally scalping the lawn, even with a raised cutting height. Also, it’s harder work!
- Sharp blades get the best results. You can sharpen these yourself or take them to your local EGO dealer for a qualified engineer to sharpen.