The Proper Way to Cut Grass


A properly mowed lawn doesn't just look better, it also leads to healthier, better growing grass. Mowing too often can lead to burned grass blades that appear yellow and damaged, while mowing too little can prevent water from penetrating beyond the surface to the root zone beneath. Mowing at the proper time and at the proper height is the most vital aspects of proper grass cutting. A healthy, well-cut lawn requires less work to maintain and can survive periods of stress, such as droughts, with less damage.

Step 1

Set your lawnmower blade height at 2.5 to 3 inches for most grass varieties. Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass can handle slightly lower heights, while fescue looks its best when set at the 3-inch height.

Step 2

Mow the lawn when grass height reaches 3 to 4 inches so that you never mow off more than 1/3 the total blade height in a single cutting. Cutting of more than 1/3 of the grass at a time can lead to stress on the lawn.

Step 3

Mow the lawn in a horizontal stripes. Leave the clippings on the lawn so that they return nitrogen to the soil, which leads to greener grass.

Step 4

Cut the grass in the opposite direction at the next mowing. For example, if you mowed from east to west one week, mow from north to south the following week. This prevents the grass from laying down or becoming bent in one direction. Alternate your mowing direction every one to two cuttings.

Step 5

Mow when the grass is dry, such as in early afternoon when the morning dew has dried. Avoid cutting immediately after rain or irrigation.

Step 6

Mow the lawn in the fall until it goes dormant and stops growing. Avoid leaving the grass longer than 2.5 to 3 inches in winter, as long grass is more susceptible to winter mold and other diseases.

Tips and Warnings

  • Sharpen your mower blades and have your lawn mower serviced in spring prior to cutting the grass for the first time. Dull blades tear grass blades and lead to damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawnmower


  • Ohio State University Extension: Lawn Mowing
Keywords: how to cut grass, lawn mowing, maintaining your lawn, lawn maintenance

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.