what-height-should-i-cut-my-grass

What Height Should I Cut My Grass?

The height you cut your grass will have an impact on how well it survives the different seasons. Therefore, it’s worth knowing how short to cut it and when.

Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you determine what cutting height will be best for your lawn during the different months of the year.

How Short Should You Cut Your Grass?

partially-cut-grass-lawn

Since grass retains most of its nutrients in its “leaves” (otherwise known as the blades of grass themselves!), cutting it down will always strip away some of the essentials. How quickly your grass can regain lost nutrients after a cut often depends on the time of year.

The best way to determine how short you should cut your grass, and how often, is to take note of the season you are in. Cutting your lawn at different heights depending on the weather and climate can help promote a healthy, green garden all year round.

For more tips on general lawn maintenance throughout the year, check out our monthly lawn care guide.

Best Height to Cut Grass in Spring

  • Best lawnmower cutting height setting: Highest setting for the first cut of the season, gradually reducing the height each time you mow
  • How much to remove: No more than a third of the grass blade
  • Best height: Between 2-4cm

Springtime is when you should give your grass its first cut of the season. Whilst it may not have grown much over winter, grass can shoot up in early spring.

If it has grown very long, it may be tempting to cut your grass really short at the start of spring – but hold off on doing anything too drastic! It’s best to just give grass just a little trim at this stage. If you cut your grass too short, you’ll expose the soil and leave it open for spring-time weeds to fill the gaps.

For best results, keep your lawn mower cutting height at the highest setting. Remove no more than a third off the top of the grass – this is a good rule to follow whatever the season. As a general rule, aim to cut grass no shorter than 4 cm.

If your mower doesn’t have adjustable cutting heights, it could be time to look for one that does – you might find our page on the best lawn mowers useful to get an idea of what’s on the market.

As the weather continues to warm up, you can gradually increase the amount of grass you remove. You can reduce the height setting by one step each time you cut. In the UK, it’s generally not recommended to cut grass below 2 cm.

Best Height to Cut Grass in Summer

  • Best lawnmower cutting height setting: Low-medium in warm, wet periods and medium-high during dry spells
  • How much to remove: A small trim should be enough – cut no more than a third of the grass blade
  • Best height: Between 2-4 cm

Just like most of us in the UK, grass loves the warm weather. As long as it’s kept hydrated, it’ll grow fast and look fabulously green on sunny days!

You can usually cut your grass relatively short in summer without any issues. If you keep it well-watered, you can cut your grass as short as 2 cm in height.

The only exception to this is if you’re expecting a dry spell. Dry spells can cause a lot of stress to grass. Unless you plan to regularly water your grass using sprinklers or a water butt, keep your grass around 4 cm in height during dry spells to prevent yellowing.

Best Height to Cut Grass in Autumn

  • Best lawnmower cutting height setting: Low to medium
  • How much to remove: No more than a third each time you mow
  • Best height: Between 2-3 cm

Since the weather tends to be mild in autumn, with both sunny and rainy days, your grass should continue to grow at a steady rate. This is a good time to start reducing your mowing frequency down to once every few weeks. 

For most of autumn, you can cut your grass at a low height of between 2-3 cm.

Best Height to Cut Grass Before Winter

  • Best lawnmower cutting height setting: Highest setting
  • How much to remove: No more than a third
  • Best height: Around 4 cm

Usually, grass goes dormant in winter and stops growing. Before this happens, you want to give your grass a final cut that isn’t too long or too short. 

Grass that’s left very tall in winter can go boggy and be susceptible to fungal infections. On the other hand, short grass won’t survive the cold weather!

For the final cut of the season, stick to a slight trim. Keep your lawnmower on the highest setting and leave your grass around 4 cm high. 

I recommend taking a look at our article ‘When Does Grass Stop Growing?’ for a better idea of when to do this final cut.

Extra Tips: How to Tell What Height to Cut Your Grass

lawnmower-cutting-grass

1. Use the Rule of a Third

If your grass is really long and overgrown in spring or summer, it’s best to avoid chopping it all off at once. If you want to cut really long grass short, use the rule of a third and cut your grass little but often. This will gradually reduce the height each time you mow. We’ve recommend some mowers that are well designed to cut long grass which will help with this gradual process.

2. Check the Season (and the Weather Forecast!)

Grass needs cutting at different heights depending on the season. The best way to tell what height you should cut your grass is to take note of the season you’re in and what the weather forecast is. Grass survives better if it is left longer during drier spells. If it’s too short, it won’t hold sufficient nutrients to cope – this is something that will stop it from being luscious and green!

3. Check Local Wildlife Habitats

If the area you live in is frequented by hedgehogs, toads and other critters, they may choose to build a nest in your lawn at different times of the year. 

To help the local wildlife, check what animals and insects live in your area before deciding what height to cut your grass. Most bugs and wildlife appreciate longer grass, so try and keep it at a height they’ll love all year round (or at least a section of it).

Leaving a patch of longer grass as a designated ‘wildlife area’ is becoming a popular thing to do. This is a great way to help the bees as well as other animals.

Conclusion

Even though grass is highly versatile, it’s important to look after it well and cut it at the right height each season to give it the best chance to thrive. Using these tips, you can create a lawn that’s green, healthy and attractive to the local wildlife all year round!

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