The Optimal Cutting Height For Lawn

The optimal cutting height is an important part of lawn care to keep the lawn healthy and looking beautiful. The height of cut you need to set the lawn mower to depends on many factors.

  • cut sports and recreational lawns to 3 – 4 cm
  • for special types of lawns, the cutting height can be less than 3 cm
  • do not set height for robotic mower below 4 cm
  • when recultivating a lawn, work up to the optimal cutting height in several weeks
  • height of cut in several weeks
  • do not shorten the length of the lawn too much during dry periods

Sports and recreational turf

The most common type of turf is sports and recreational turf. This type is characterized by its robustness and durability. The goal with this type of lawn is that the lawn forms a dense turf, so that hardly any differences between individual grass varieties can be seen.
The optimal cutting height for this type of lawn is 3 – 4 cm. In order to maintain this cutting height, especially during the peak season, you need to take other care measures:

  • fertilize every 6 – 8 weeks
  • mowing at least once a week during the season
  • during the high season (June to August inclusive) mow every five days.

The amount of maintenance may seem onerous for a simple sports and recreational lawn. However, the lawn length is ideal to maintain the health of the grass mixture for this type of lawn.

Note: If you do not maintain the intervals and still shorten the lawn to this length, the grass may burn or growth may be stunted. It also encourages the proliferation of weeds.

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Cutting height during drought

In summer, it may happen that there are several weeks without proper rain. Few water the lawn, which is welcome in terms of sustainability, but the grass suffers. In order to protect against drought and not lose unnecessary water through the blades, plants form a protective layer. This should also be maintained.
During prolonged drought, if you do not water additionally, you should refrain from frequent lawn cuts. If it is nevertheless necessary to mow the lawn, choose a cutting height of 6-8 cm. In addition, you should mow the lawn only in the early evening hours, so that it has time to recover overnight.

Autumn and spring cutting

Out of season, when the lawn is little used, you should also pay attention to the optimal length. In the fall, the right cutting height prepares the lawn for winter so that the blades don’t buckle and die under the weight of snow. In spring, the optimal cutting height ensures that growth is encouraged.
In the off-season, you should pay attention to the following cutting heights:

The Optimal Cutting Height For Lawn
  • Autumn: 4 – 5 cm
  • Spring: 5 – 6 cm

Just before the temperatures drop below 10°C, mow the lawn one last time. In spring, do not start again until the temperature is consistently above 10°C.
The lawn length in spring is still well above the optimal height for sports and recreational lawns. Only with the start of the main season, slowly approach the optimal height of 3 – 4 cm again.

Tip: Start gradually lowering the cutting height during the mowing passes at the end of April or beginning of May at the latest.

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Special grass types

In fact, more and more special types of lawns are being found in home gardens. For example, golf turf is becoming increasingly popular. Often, this is just a small area of lawn so that putting can be practiced. But it is precisely this area that depends on special care to ensure that training at home works.
Around the hole, the golf turf should not be higher than 2.5 – 3.2 mm. However, this requires special mowing equipment.

Cutting height for robotic mowers

The robotic mower can be found in more and more home gardens, because it does the strenuous work of mowing during the season when many prefer to enjoy the garden. Compared to the normal lawn mower, the robotic mower requires a different length of lawn. This is because daily mowing weakens rather than strengthens the lawn if the cutting height is too low.
The optimal cutting height for robotic mowers is:

4 cm during mixed weather
4.5 – 5 cm during hot periods

The Optimal Cutting Height For Lawn

Cutting height for recultivation

Sometimes it can happen that the grass on a lawn is very high and a radical cut would cause great damage. Therefore, recultivation and approaching the right cutting height are done in several phases.
When recultivating, proceed as follows:

  • at the maximum height allowed by the lawn mower
  • reduce cutting height by 1/3 (at least 10 – 15 cm)
  • cut back to 8 – 10 cm
  • cut height from 6 – 8 cm
  • reduce to final height of 4 – 5 cm

If it is a special type of lawn that requires a lower height, supplement the adjustment to the optimum cutting height with one or two more cuts, working your way up to the final cutting height. The respective cuts should be made at intervals of one to two weeks.

Frequently asked questions

Is the cutting height dependent on the grasses?

Can long grass be cut back to the optimum height immediately?

No, if the grass length is over 15 cm, feel your way back to the optimum cutting height as in recultivation. In this way, you avoid the grass getting scabs from a radical cut.

Should the lawn be watered after pruning during dry periods?

Yes, it is beneficial to water the lawn for several days after cutting it back to the optimal height during dry periods.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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