Does Mowing Too Often Kill Grass? (Experts Reveal)


When it comes to managing your lawn, it is better to stay on top of how tall it gets. This is especially true during the grass’s growth surge periods, where slight neglect could result in a wildly unkept lawn. However, is there a limit to the number of times you can cut your grass?

You can cut your grass too often, especially if the length of the lawn is kept excessively short. Factors like constant tire treads from mower traffic, not allowing grass to reach recommended height, and disturbing lawns during notably dry periods can all adversely affect grass health.

Join us as we discuss this frequently asked question. We talk about whether you can cut your grass too much, as well as the potential consequences of doing so. Can you cut it every day? How long should the grass in your lawn be? We find out!

Can You Mow Too Often?

Before we tackle the question, we must determine the threshold that marks out what “too often” entails. Then there is the question of frequency versus mower height settings. It is not just as simple as everyone mow your grass once per week.

You can most definitely mow your grass too often. Yet, the determining factors that define how often is too often must first be considered. There is what height your lawn is mowed at, the growth rate in your area according to the type of grass and the seasonal changes to take into account.

The frequency of your mows depends on several factors. 

The First Factor Is The Mowing Height.

Cutting tall (leaving the grass relatively high) will, in most cases, necessitate the need for more frequent mows. Therefore, the shorter you cut the grass, the less often you need to mow…but you must be careful with this.

There will be more said on grass height later. It suffices to say here that much research has been done on the proper height of different types of grass for healthy growth. Here are a couple of examples of these studies…

The Second Factor: Growth Rate Of Your Type Of Grass.

Different species of grass have varying growth rates which may pick up or drop off depending on the conditions. Northern (or “cool season”) perennial grasses, for example, experience peak growth surges during the spring while Southern (“warm season”) perennials max out in the summertime.

The Third Factor…Season And Climate.

Most grasses, regardless of whether they are cool or warm-season grasses, tend to go into a dormancy state during winter. The drop in soil temperatures slows down the grass’s metabolic processes, which results in slower growth rates. 

Other seasons will have a different effect on different grass types. The fall stimulates a post-summer growth surge in cool-season grasses. However, for warm-season grasses, the fall will bring about a reduced growth rate as soil temperatures drop.

If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain, you can expect your grass to grow quickly, which means more frequent mowing. Likewise, if your yard receives a lot of sunlight.

If you would like to read more about grass and issues related to lawn maintenance, I recommend my other articles here…

What Impact Does Excessive Mowing Have On Lawn Health?

Cutting grass more often than recommended or at heights too low for the type of grass or region will lead to adverse situations and conditions. Let’s look at a couple of adverse outcomes of cutting grass excessively.

Water Source Reduction

Firstly, frequent mowing eliminates the grass’s main water store…its foliage. The grass blades are where most of a grass plant’s water is stored. Cutting them too often will deprive your grass of its water needs, which means you will have to water it even more.

Grass Mulching Issues

Secondly, you also run the risk of stripping nutrients from the soil. This is especially true if you primarily use grass clippings as lawn mulch. By mowing frequently, you will be cutting immature and undernourished blades of grass and reintroducing them into your lawn. Over time, this will result in a drop in soil quality and your grass won’t develop to its highest potential.

Over Trafficked Lawn Areas

Finally, too much mowing can also cause the grass to grow unevenly, especially if you always cut in the same pattern. This problem is more aesthetic than anything else, but aesthetics is one of the major reasons for having a lawn in the first place.

As you can see, while mowing too often can lead to unhealthy and unsightly grass, that alone will not kill it. The main threat to your grass’s lifespan is not how often you cut, but how short you cut it. Therefore, mowing your grass often will kill it…if you’re cutting it too short all the time.

Can You Cut Your Grass Every Day?

There can be a few instances when a home or business owner may want to mow grass every day. Sometimes falling leaves on certain types of grass can be a problem. If your only option is a bagging mower, then setting a high blade height can do the trick. Yet, can mowing every day be an issue for lawn health?

Mowing grass every day, except in specific circumstances, is not advisable for the healthy growth of most types of grasses. Results could be uneven growth areas, discoloration due to low water retention, and grassless patches forming in over trafficked areas.

If it is necessary to run a mower over grassy areas every day, it is advisable to take the following precautions:

  1. Set the mower on the highest desirable setting.
  2. Change mowing patterns daily.
  3. Operate self propelled and riding mowers at lower speeds to prevent skidding and sliding.
  4. Do not mow on days or times when the grass is wet.

Keep in mind that usually this will be done for other reasons than controlling grass height. Making sure that the grass is properly watered and has proper sunlight is also a must when this much foot and wheel traffic is necessary.

How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn?

Clearly from what we have discussed above, there is such a thing as too much mowing. Understandably, a lot of homeowners want to keep their lawns nice and cropped. However, mowing your lawn multiple times a week in most instances is not the best way to go about that.

Instead, you want to read up on the type of grass you have and learn its peak growth periods. 

Since we’re discussing lawn grass, your lawn is likely a perennial species. As we’ve already discussed, cool and warm-season perennial grasses have differing growth surge periods.

How Often Should You Mow Cool-Season Grasses?

For cool-season grass, the spring is when you will do the most mowing. During this period, you want to mow your grass once a week. You can also do it once a fortnight if you choose to cut it extra short. However, do not make cutting short a habit.

Some examples of cool-season grasses are:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Fine fescue
  • Tall fescue

In summer, once every 2-3 weeks should suffice. The growth rate picks up again in the fall, which means you might have to cut once every fortnight. When winter arrives, you might have to stop mowing altogether, depending on soil temperatures. However, as spring draws nearer, you can go back to mowing every 2-3 weeks.

Cutting Schedules For Warm-Season Grasses

Warm-season grass experiences peak growth during the summer. Once a week should cut it (no pun), but mowing must be balanced out with a lot of watering. In the fall, you only need to mow once every 2-3 weeks. In spring, once every three weeks should do it, but you may want to switch to 2 weeks as temperatures rise.

Types of warm-season grasses include:

  • Bermuda
  • St. Augustine
  • Zoysia
  • Carpet

You can give your lawnmower a well-earned vacation during the wintertime, as warm-season grasses usually go dormant at this time. 

Does Frequent Mowing Thicken Grass?

Interestingly enough, frequent mowing will result in thicker grass. You see, grass’s natural “instinct” is to grow as tall as it can, so it can get maximum sunlight.

Frequent mowing thickens the base width of the blades of grass in a lawn. Grass stalks looking to reach the sunlight are encouraged to grow wider rather than taller by cutting the top third off of their length. Grasses are continually growing and trying to reach new heights.

However, when you cut off the tips of the grass, you eliminate a special set of growth hormones that stimulate this vertical growth. Instead, the grass will keep growing at its base, which will make it look “thicker”.

The grass clippings that find their way back to the soil can also take root for themselves and become new grass shoots. This is known as vegetative reproduction; a technique certain plants have adapted to ensure their survival even if they are not allowed to mature enough to grow seed heads.

This “new” grass meshes with the original lawn, which will make it thicker. Thus, thicker blades as well as lawns are possible with regular mowings.

What Is The Best Height To Cut Grass?

There are several different types of grass that may be found in lawns in any region. Each region will also have more and less popular varieties. Let’s look at the main types you are likely to find and what mowing heights experts recommend if you have them in your lawn or business outdoor area.

Mowing Heights For Cool Weather Grasses

Cool Weather GrassesCool Weather (in inches)Hot Weather (in inches)
Tall fescue22.5
Fine fescue2.53
Perennial ryegrass1.52.5
Kentucky bluegrass2.53

Mowing Heights For Warm Weather Grasses

Warm Weather GrassesCool Weather (in inches)Hot Weather (in inches)
Carpet0.752
Zoysia12
St. Augustine22.5
Bermuda1.52.5

Each grass type is linked to more in depth reading on heights and care from major university agricultural departments such as the University of Arkansas, University of Tennessee, Texas A&M University, Clemson, and others.

General Considerations On Mowing Height

You must remember that grass is much more than the blades that stick out above ground. The healthiest lawns are those with a well-developed network of roots, something a lot of people may overlook.

You see, with most lawn grass species, the length of the blade is only about a third of the root depth. That means a one-inch lawn has roots that are approximately three inches deep.

Mowing to three inches is good because that blade height supports a 9-inch root depth.

This maximizes the lawn’s water and nutrient uptake, which in turn gives your lawn that elusive rich green color.

A deep root network will hold the soil and nutrients in place much better than a shallow one. The risk of soil erosion will be significantly reduced, which will only benefit other plants in your garden.

If you are not sure about the type of grass in your lawn or on your property, the best height to cut your grass then is about three inches.

Remember how we said that grass blades are a water store? Well, that plays into your hands here too. At three inches, the grass will be able to hold more water. This means you won’t have to water it as much to keep it healthy.

These other articles I have are a cut (pun intended) above the rest…

Final Touches On Does Mowing Too Often Kill Grass…

Mowing often plays a role in keeping a manicured or at least well kept lawn. Mowing too often can have detrimental effects on the health of your grass.

Every bit as important as the frequency of mowing is the height at which grass is cut and maintained. Too short for the season, type of grass, and region could lead to disastrous results.

Hopefully I have aided your quest to take proper care of your grass and provided some helpful resources for you in the process for further study. Now its time to get out there and cut that lawn, but not too short… and not too often.

Other References

https://cutgrasspro.com/how-often-to-mow-lawn-a-guide-of-lawn-mowing-frequency-in-different-seasons/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8FdaT8e3Qw

Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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