Myth: Grass Cutting Heights do not matter.
This is False!
The above statement could not be further from the truth. Rather, repeated mowing below the minimum mowing height for your grass species can actually damage or kill your grass.
In fact, mowing too low is one of the most common mistakes people make. It is the grass’ structure that determines how low it can be mowed. Some grass species cannot tolerate low mowing.
Cool Season Grasses: Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Fine Fescue all have a minimum of 1.5 inches. However, they shouldn’t be maintained at that level. Standard grass cutting height is 3 inches. I personally maintain my fescue lawn at 3.5 inches all year long. Taller cut grass can survive heat and dry periods better than lower cut heights.
Warm Season Grasses: Warm season grass cutting height varies considerably by species. For example, St. Augustine should be cut at 3 inches or more, while some Bermudagrass species can be cut below 1 inch.
Here in parts of Missouri, we fall into a category called The Transition Zone. Zones 6a & 6b specifically to Graphic Lawns Service area. This means that we can grow both Cool Season Grasses & Warm Season Grasses. Our Fall/Winter gets too cold to maintain Warm Season Grasses year round but in the same sentence our Summers can get too beastly hot and dry to keep Cool Season Grasses very happy without plenty of water & proper cutting heights.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen “what would be” beautiful Fescue lawns literally butchered down to 2″ or lower. Whether or not it’s you, the neighbor kid with a push mower or whoever, this is by far one of the most unhealthy practices for any lawn in the Midwestern USA. Here’s why. A shorter lawn means less leaf blade on the plant. The less leaf blade, the less photosynthesis that can occur which means less shoot and root growth.
It’s exactly why the neighbor that has not cut his/her grass for two and a half weeks seems to have the healthiest & greenest lawn on the block. The roots have been allowed to grow deeper. That is not saying to let your lawn grow to be a foot tall. That is not healthy either. It invites rodents & causes painstakingly difficult mowing.
Graphic Lawns typically cuts at a level of 3.5 inches. Slightly lower or higher. This allows the blades to be longer, allowing more photosynthesis, healthier blades, deeper roots and a thicker appearance. Another strong benefit to giving your grass that extra inch or so is less weeds. A healthy lawn at a healthy height will be less likely to develop weeds in the first place. Weeds need more space to grow then grass. By cutting too short, you, or someone, is basically giving the weeds all the space they could ever need.