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What Height Should I Cut My Grass?

Cutting grass may seem like an easy task. But there’s more to it than meets the eye! 

Even though most lawns are relatively simple to look after, there’s a lot you need to get right if you want to have a plush lawn all year round. The height you cut your grass will have an impact on whether it survives the different seasons.

If you’re wondering how short to cut your grass, here’s a quick and easy guide to help you determine what cutting height is best for your lawn and when.

How Short Should You Cut Your Grass?

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Since grass retains most of its nutrients in the leaves, cutting it will always strip away some of the essentials. How quickly your grass regains nourishment after a cut mostly depends on the time of year.

The best way to determine how short you should cut your grass 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 look all year round.

Best Height to Cut Grass in Spring

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

If it’s gotten very long, it may be tempting to cut your grass really short at the start of spring. However, it’s best to just give it 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 the best results, keep your lawnmower cutting height at the highest setting and remove no more than a third off the top. As a general rule, aim to cut it no shorter than 4cm. 

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 each time you cut, leaving your grass no shorter than 2cm.

  • Best lawnmower cutting height setting to use: 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
  • Best height: Between 2-4cm

Best Height to Cut Grass in Summer

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 2cm in height.

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

  • Best lawnmower cutting height setting to use: Low-medium in warm, wet periods and medium-high during dry spells
  • How much to remove: A trim should be enough, but always aim to cut no more than a third each time you mow
  • Best height: Between 2-4cm

Best Height to Cut Grass in Autumn

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 1-3cm.

  • Best lawnmower cutting height setting to use: Low to medium
  • How much to remove: No more than a third each time you mow
  • Best height: Between 1-3cm

Best Height to Cut Grass Before Winter

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 4cm high.

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

Tips on How to Tell What Height to Cut Your Grass

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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. 

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 prefers more height during dryer spells.

3. Check Local Wildlife Habitats

If the area you live in is prone to 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).

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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