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How Short Should Grass Be Cut? It Depends on the Variety

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Looking after a lawn isn't normally too difficult, particularly compared with other plants in your garden. Even if you often forget to fertilise and leave most of the watering up to the rainfall, it's unlikely that you'll have too many serious problems. Of course, the one thing that you will want to do regularly is mow the grass.

Mowing keeps your lawn at a tidy, attractive length, which helps prevent it getting out of hand. But there's actually a bit more to it than that. If you don't mow grass short enough, it can grow more loosely. Cut it too short, on the other hand, and you'll encourage shallow root growth that causes other issues like drying out.

To complicate thing further, different types of grass grow better at slightly different lengths. Here are some of the common types to help you out.

Buffalo lawn

Buffalo grows best at heights between 25 and 60 millimetres, so there's a bit of scope for you to achieve a height you're happy with. Since buffalo is a popular choice for growing in shade, however, it's important to adjust this where the grass won't get as much sunlight. Add 5 to 10 millimetres to make sure it can absorb those UV rays.


This variety has a fairly small range of recommended heights: 25 to 35 millimetres. Letting it grow longer puts it at risk of damage during the winter months, but shouldn't cause too many problems in the summer, within reason.

Kentucky bluegrass

A good choice if you prefer a slightly longer lawn, Kentucky bluegrass is happy between 35 and 85 millimetres. This can vary by specific variety, however, so pay attention to your lawn's health and cut it shorter if you find damaging insects are using the cover for breeding excessively.


Like buffalo, the ryegrasses grow well between 25 and 60 millimetres. Interestingly, this variety does well during the winter, and you shouldn't need to leave it longer.

Tall fescue

One of the best options for a longer lawn, as its name suggests, tall fescue can be cut to between 50 and 90 millimetres. You can get away with cutting it a little shorter, but this isn't advised if you live in a particularly warm area.

If in doubt

There are many types of grass about, and some of them thrive outside of the ranges above. As a general rule, don't remove a third of the grass's height when you mow and make sure there's always some leaf blade left. If you notice it starting to thin, try cutting it shorter.

For more information on turf and turf supplies, contact a local professional.