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How High To Set Your Mower Deck

How High Should You Set Your Mower Deck?
As spring approaches (trust me, it’s right around the corner), it’s time to stop thinking about shoveling snow, and start thinking about mowing the lawn.
Most of us think we have a pretty good idea of fundamentals of lawn mowing. You set the deck as low as it’ll go, and then go back and forth until you’ve covered the entire yard. Simple, right?
Well, not so fast there. As it turns out, cutting your grass really short is actually not good for the health of your lawn. Sure, you won’t have to mow quite as often, but the trade off is less healthy grass with more weeds.

How does a short cut make the lawn less healthy? It actually have a number of effects. First, grass actually stores nutrients within the blades themselves, so cropping them too low deprives them of what they need to stay healthy.
Cutting it short also exposes more of the topsoil to direct sunlight, making it much easier for weeds to find purchase and start infesting your lawn.
This leads to the question: how short is too short? After all, you’ll want to strike a balance between doing what’s good for your yard, and doesn’t require too frequent mowings. Well, that all depends on what type of grass you have in your yard.
Here’s a handy list of a few Northern grasses and their recommended summer grass height courtesy of Clemson University:

  • Kentucky Bluegrass: 2.5 to 3 inches
  • Fine Fescue: 2.5 to 3 inches
  • Tall Fescue: 3 to 3.5 inches

This might seem like a lot of information, but the important thing to bear in mind is that you should tailor your cutting height based on the type of grass you grow. Yes, that might mean mowing a little more frequently, but it will also mean a lusher, healthy yard with fewer weeds.