How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn?

Mowing your lawn is one of the most basic and important tasks of homeownership. It’s also one of the most commonly misunderstood. Many people think they should mow their lawn as infrequently as possible in order to save time and energy, but this can actually do more harm than good.

So, how often should you mow your lawn? And what height should you keep the grass at? This blog post will answer those questions and more. So, whether you’re a new homeowner with a green thumb or a seasoned pro, read on for tips on how to maintain a beautiful lawn.

Grass Length Is Important

The first thing you need to know is that grass length is important. It’s not really about how often you mow, but rather how long the grass is. You want your grass to be about 3 inches long when you use your lawn mower on it. Certainly do not mow your grass if it is under 2 inches in height.

If you let your grass grow too long, it will also start to bend over and form a thatch. Thatch is a layer of dead and living grass that can prevent water and nutrients from getting to the roots of your grass. This can cause your grass to become brown and unhealthy.

However, the longer the grass grows, the longer your lawn’s root system will develop. The greater the root system, the more resilient and stress-free your grass will be. So you need a good middle ground. This is around 2.5 – 3 inches in length. Leaving your grass around 3 inches reduces the number of weeds in the lawn because it restricts the amount of sunshine reaching weed seeds.

Is Your Grass Too Short?

However, if your lawn appears yellow and parched after it has been mowed, the blade on your mower is probably set too low. This is known as ‘scalping’ your lawn.

Some people prefer a short lawn in the style of a putting green, but this requires both a specific variety of grass and additional attention spent on fertilizing and maintenance. If you’re not one of those individuals, your grass will be in the best possible condition if you allow it to grow for a bit longer.

Type of Grass Matters Too

There are numerous types of grasses in the world. Some grow thin or thick, and some accelerate or decelerate in growth. Knowing the kind of grass you have is essential when selecting how to maintain your lawn.

Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia Grass are some of the most common types of lawn grass. If you mow these grasses every two weeks, they’ll be destroyed, and when you have to replace them, it may cost you a lot of money.

The One-Third Rule

Experts say you should never cut more than one-third of the height of your grass when mowing. This rule applies to all types of grasses. For example, if your grass has reached 6 inches tall, you should only mow it down to 4 inches in one mow.

This rule not only helps maintain a healthy lawn, but it also prevents clippings from smothering your grass. When grass clippings are left on the lawn, they can block out sunlight and prevent air circulation, causing thatch accumulation.

Also, scalping can occur when you cut off more than 40% of the grass blade at one time. Both grass clipping accumulation and scalping can lead to a host of problems, including disease and insect infestations.

If the average best height for lawn grass for mowing is around 3 inches, and you cut off one third of it every time you mow, you’ll be cutting one inch off per mowing session, leaving your grass at 2 inches after you’re done. Then, you simply wait for it to reach 3 inches and repeat the process.

How Often To Mow Your Lawn

The frequency that you mow your lawn will differ, depending on the time of year. This is because grass grows at different rates during different seasons. Therefore, if you want to mow from 3 inches to 2 inches on average, it will need to be more frequent when the grass grows quicker, and less often when the grass stops growing.


Begin mowing your lawn in the early spring, before it becomes green and starts to grow. The lawn’s signal to develop comes from you clipping off the old dead tips. You’ll also be better able to crowd out weeds if you start developing the grass sooner rather than later. For this first mow, only cut a very fine amount off the top of the grass blades.

Then, after this first mow, you want to mow about every 5 – 7 days, depending on how fast the grass is growing. Again, wait until it reaches at least 2.5 – 3 inches, and don’t take off more than 1 inch at a time.

In spring, the grass can regain that inch in about a week, which is the frequency you want to follow. Cool season grasses grow faster in the spring than warm season grasses, so take that into account as well.


Experts advise that you keep your grass longer in the summer than in the spring. Longer grass helps to keep your lawn alive during droughts, which may occur throughout the summer months. 3 inches of turfgrass is perfect at this point.

If you have a warm season grass like St. Augustine Grass, the average time it takes for that grass to grow one inch in the summer is between three and five days. So, if you’re mowing your lawn from 3 to 2 inches every time, cutting it every four or five days during the summer is optimal.

However, many cool season grasses can go dormant in a hot summer, and not grow at all. If you have a cool season grass you might not need to mow more than once every 2 – 3 weeks, if at all.


For the last cut of the season, make the grass as short as possible, without damaging it. Shortening the lawn for the winter lowers the likelihood of matting, which can cause damage over the cold months.

If you leave your lawn in this condition you don’t need to mow your lawn in the winter. Your grass doesn’t grow over the winter, so this won’t be a problem.

Mowing Tips

Here are some additional lawn mowing tips that will give you the best looking lawn possible.

Keep Sharp Blades

Make sure your lawn mower blades are kept very sharp. Dull mower blades tend to shred the grass rather than cutting it. Every damaged blade is an entry point for disease and tension to the lawn.

Mow at the Right Time

The best time to mow your lawn is typically in the mid-morning, around 10 am. Do not mow first thing in the morning, as it will be too wet. In the afternoon, the sun will be too hot and can scorch your lawn. Mid-morning is the perfect in-between spot.

Don’t mow a wet lawn. When a lawn is wet, you run the danger of creating ruts and grass leaning over, making it difficult to get a good cut.

Clippings are Fine

If you have a healthy lawn and no issues with thatch, leaving behind the grass clippings is fine. The clippings shouldn’t harm your lawn at all, especially if there’s a normal mowing amount. Within a short time, the clippings will break down, and they provide nitrogen to your lawn.

Safety First

Be safe when mowing. Wear safe clothing to avoid being hurt, such as closed-toe shoes, glasses or sunglasses, and ear protection. Ensure that children and pets are kept out of the yard while you mow it, and clear your lawn of any loose debris before cutting.

You Don’t Always Need to Mow

If your grass isn’t growing for some reason, if it’s a drought or the grass is not getting all of its nutrients, or if you want it to grow a bit longer, then you don’t always need to mow your lawn as frequently as we’ve suggested. These are all general guidelines for you to follow at your discretion.

Final Thoughts

The verdict is in, and the answer to how often you need to mow your lawn may surprise you. Depending on the type of grass you have, the length of your grass, and the time of year, there are different guidelines for how many times you should mow.

Grass that’s too short can damage the roots, while leaving grass long will create an environment for disease and pests. Also, every grass type has a different optimal length, so it’s important to do some research before grabbing the clippers.

In general, most people say that you should never cut more than a third of the blade at once, so adjust your mowing schedule accordingly.

Thanks for reading! Keep an eye on our blog for more tips on how to keep your yard looking its best all season long.

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.

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