Mowing heights vary greatly depending on many factors, and in choosing the mowing height which is right for our own lawn it's important to remember that mowing our lawn at the correct height not only keeps it looking great and in optimum health, the correct height is vital in not damaging or even killing the very lawns we're tending to with such great care.
Generally speaking and as a basis for this article on lawn mowing heights, the first factors to consider are what grass type you have, and which region you live in. Grasses are divided into 2 categories, there is the Warm Season grasses which include Bermuda Grass, Zoysia Grass and Saint Augustine, and then there are the Cool Season Grasses which include grass types such as Ryegrass and Fescues.
These two grass type categories are easily determined as to where they are best grown, i.e. Cool Season Grasses are best grown in cooler climates, and the Warm Season Grasses are best suited to the warmer regions.
Grass Types and Lawn Mowing Heights
Generally speaking, the Cool Season grasses will need to be maintained at a very high height, anywhere between 3 to 6 inches long, some lawn varieties will prefer a high leaf while others will prefer a shorter leaf length.
Where Warm Season Grasses differ again is that they can be cut at a much lower height, many varieties such as Bermuda Grass or Zoysia can be cut as low as half an inch if in a very warm climate and if it is well maintained. Although half an inch is not the optimum height for the average home lawn, we use this as an example to compare the differences between the two categories of turf, the Warm and Cool Season grasses.
For Warm Season Grasses, the better height for the homeowner may be between 1 to 2 inches, some of the newer soft leaf Saint Augustine lawns even look great with a nice long leaf up to 3 inches.
Another important factor when choosing the correct lawn mowing height for your lawn is to also judge the amount of direct sunlight it receives each day, and alternately, how much shade it is subjected to each day too. Another general rule of thumb for lawn mowing heights is that the more shade a lawn is subjected to during the day - the longer the leaf blade will need to be in order to keep the lawn flourishing. This is because it's the green leaf which creates the photosynthesis process which uses sunlight to make it's food supply, lawn will need more green leaf in the shade in order to get the same level of food as a low cut lawn which is sitting in full sun.
This same rule also applies in reverse, if a lawn is situated in full sun all day, its leaf must be maintained at a lower height in order to reduce it's photosynthesis process, otherwise the lawn will produce too much food and will grow too fast. Which in turn increases thatch build up much faster and will require far more regular lawn mowing.