Cutting your grass is usually an easy enough task. Bar those first mows of the season where the grass hasn’t been cut for months, you just need to push the mower across the lawn and let the cutting blade do most of the work. So why do so many people find that their lawns aren’t in the greatest condition despite always giving it a regular cut?
The problem usually comes from the height you cut at. Many people don’t realise you shouldn’t remove too much at any given time, as it’s very stressful on the grass, causing shallow root growth that encourages things like moss, disease, weeds etc.
The weather, season, and type of grass on your lawn also play an important role in what height you should cut to, so there is a lot to think about!
If you want the healthiest, most attractive lawn possible, then you need to ensure that you are cutting to the correct height. What height you should cut to changes throughout the year, which can make things confusing, but this guide will keep you straight! Read our guide on the top weed killers also.
The First Mow of the Season – Keep it High to Avoid Cutting too Much
Here in the UK we typically start mowing from around March time and continue to do so until the end of autumn. So, the first mow of the season starts in spring, meaning there may be a lot of height to the grass because it’s been left untouched in the winter.
The temptation is to remove all this grass to leave it nice and short for the start of growing season but that is never a good idea – you want to remove a short amount of grass instead! This means setting the cutting blade on your cordless mower to one of the highest settings, as you want to give it a short trim but nothing too extreme.
This will be the longest you leave the grass – usually 1 ½ inches for most UK lawns.
Lower the Height Once Spring Begins to Warm
You won’t need to cut the grass for a few weeks after that first mow of the season as the weather is still on the colder side, so the grass isn’t growing at a peak rate yet. However, once things heat up you can start to lower the blade. If buying a new electric mower look for one with multiple cutting heights.
This should be done gradually, decreasing the blade height by one setting every week you cut. For instance, if you want a nice close-cut finish using the lowest height setting, then make sure that you cut the grass a few heights higher leading up to it.
Eventually, you should get to a low height of around ¾ of an inch or about 2cm.
Keep it Low During the Summer – Increase Height During Droughts
As you enter summer the grass is in peak growing season, meaning you can keep the height low for most of the time you mow. You should be mowing regularly at this point, usually twice a week but you should drop that to once if it is dry for long periods.
Speaking of drought, if the rain dries up over summer then be sure to increase the height you cut the grass too. Drought causes high stress to grass so you should avoid cutting too much at once, otherwise it may have a negative impact. Consider getting some garden sprinklers to water your lawn on a timer.
So, keep the grass to around ¾ of an inch for most of the summer, increasing to around 1 ½ inch during droughts.
Mow Less Often During Autumn but Keep the Height Low
Grass continues to grow throughout much of autumn so you can keep the height low to around ¾ of an inch/one inch depending on the weather. Because it’s getting milder outside once again, you only need to mow once a week rather than twice like in the summer.
You can keep it low for most of autumn, although the weather can make this difficult to achieve. For example, if it’s raining more during autumn you may struggle to cut once per week, increasing the height by the time you can mow. In this case, you’d need to increase the height to avoid cutting too much off. Some powerful petrol mowers can cope well with wet grass but it can become a bit messy cutting wet grass.
So, whether permitting, try keeping it to a similar length as during summer, just keep your mowing to once a week from now on.
Finish off the Last Few Cuts at a Higher Height
Once winter approaches you won’t be doing much mowing. So, as you hit the final few weeks of autumn, start to increase blade height to the higher settings, working your way up each week until you get the to the highest. Grass should be left to around 1 ½ inches for the winter months!