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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

How much, when, and how often to mow

How much to cut at each mowing depends upon the growth habit of the grass and the leaf texture, or width of the leaves. Grass survival depends on having adequate leaf surface for food production through photosynthesis. Mowing too low removes too much of the food producing area. As the grass literally starves, the lawn thins and looks poor. Mowing too high can hurt the appearance or usefulness of the turf.

Mow when the grass is actively growing

You can determine when and how often to mow your lawn by taking into account the growth rate of the grass during each season and the desired resulting height of the lawn. Grasses require more frequent mowing during their active growing period.

Cool-season grasses are most active during the spring and fall while warm-season grasses are the most active during the summer months. How much fertilizer and water your lawn receives will also affect the growth rate.

Remove one-third of the height at a time

Mow frequently enough so that only one-third of the leaf is removed at any one time. Do not drastically or suddenly change the cutting height. If the grass has become too tall, reestablish the recommended height by mowing more frequently for a while and gradually lowering the mowing height of successive cuttings, following the one-third rule.

Mow within the recommended mowing height range for each species to produce a healthy turf with a deep root system.

What is your turf species?

Annual ryegrass Kikuyugrass
Bermudagrass Perennial ryegrass
Buffalograss Red fescue
Colonial bentgrass Rough bluegrass
Creeping bentgrass Seashore paspalum
Dichondra St. Augustinegrass
Hard fescue Tall fescue
Kentucky bluegrass Zoysiagrass

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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