Mowing is they most often incorrectly performed part of lawn maintenance. Each grass type has a height range that it prefers to be mowed at, if you will cut the grass at that height the grass will be healthier, look better and most importantly last through the season without dying out from lack of water. The depth of the root system is in direct correlation to the height you mow at. So, the higher you mow the deeper the roots, the more water the grass can get and the less you have to water.
In general, two types of grasses are what we deal with. Cool Season grasses: Fescue, Bluegrass, Ryegrass. These are the most common in the Southeast. These grasses like to be mowed at a range of 2.5 to 3.5 inches high. I like to mow Fescue at least 3 high, it just looks better. Bluegrass is the most tolerant to lower mowing, but still I wouldn't take it lower than 2.5 .
The other type of grass is Warm Season grasses: Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede. These grasses will tolerate as low a cutting as most home owners mowers will cut. Golf courses use a lot of Bermuda, and Zoysia and they routinely cut it as low as .5 A typical home lawn will look nice at 1 providing you have a smooth grade.
Do you Stripe your lawn? Have you ever noticed the football and baseball fields that have patterns on them? This is done with a mowing technique called Striping. Anyone can do it, it just takes a little time and care in mowing to get straight lines. Check out our Lawn Care Manual for complete instructions on putting patterns in your lawn.