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How to Use a Cut Reel Mower on St. Augustine Grass

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017

St. Augustine is a species of perennial warm season grass that is prized for its adaptability to a wide variety of planting sites and soil conditions and it unusual adaptability to sand and sea water. It thrives in warm tropical and sub-tropical climes and responds well to cutting with the sharp blades of a reel mower used either with or without a catch.

Optimal mowing or grass blade height for St. Augustine grass during the main growing season falls between one and three-inches according to your preference. Mowing St. Augustine planted in shade conditions at three-inches will help to keep it green and lush looking. Raise the mowing height one-inch higher than normal in the fall to help the plants capture more sunlight to survive the winter.

Remove the catch on your reel mower in the spring and allow the St. Augustine grass clippings to land on the lawn surface as mulch for a half dozen or so mowing sessions. Replace the catch thereafter for the balance of the year to prevent adding to the thatch buildup.

Increase and decrease mowing frequency throughout the year to coincide with St. Augustine's fluctuating growth rate. Mow more frequently in late spring and summer roughly every five to seven days. Decrease mowing frequency for fall winter and early spring to once every two weeks.

Have your reel mower blades sharpened at least once and preferably twice per year to keep them sharp enough to make clean crisp cuts on even tall St. Augustine blades of grass. Sharp blades reduce the incidence of tearing on the blade tips which in turn keeps the blades green and prevents disease.


Things You Will Need

  • Reel lawn mower


  • Allowing your St. Augustine grass to grow taller in winter will help to naturally control weed invasions by shading the soil surface and preventing the weed seeds from germinating and the weed plants from conducting photosynthesis.