How To Measure Lawn Mower Cutting Height

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If you want to create a consistently trimmed lawn, just the way you like it, you will need to measure the cutting height of your lawn mower.

Thankfully, that’s not a complicated measure with many lawn mowers and it may simply be a case of ensuring that the cutting height remains the same for every mowing session.

This fundamental setting may differ depending on the lawn mower itself as there are so many different types. From two and three-function mowers to rear or front-wheel drive, and even all-wheel drive mowers.

In this guide, we will look at how to measure the lawn mower cutting height. This will include manually measuring it from the blades, measuring the height of the grass, and the importance of grass types.

How To Measure Lawn Mower Cutting Height

Measuring the cutting height of your lawn mower may be as simple as checking a set of numbers at the front. It may even be a set of A, B, C letters on the wheel, either should be known as the blade height gauge.

If it is a set of numbers, do not assume that each increment corresponds to an inch or a centimeter as the gaps can be half an inch to three-quarters which you may soon find out when your grass looks shorter than you anticipated. 

Manually Measuring The Cutting Height From The Blades

Before you measure the cutting height, make sure that the lawn mower is off, unplugged, and even has the spark plug removed in some cases. 

To manually measure the cutting height from the blades, you need to; 

  • Remove the mower from your lawn and place it on a hard surface like the sidewalk or your driveway. 
  • Make sure that the mower is not plugged in and even has the spark plug removed before you get close to the cutting blades
  • Open the deck that’s there to protect you from the cutting blades.
  • Grab a ruler or measuring tape and measure the distance between the hard surface to the edge of the blades.
  • Make a note of the height with the corresponding setting
  • Change the setting and make a note of how the height differs
  • You may want to go through all of the setting and noting down each corresponding cutting height

Measuring The Height Of The Grass

There is another way to measure the cutting height and that’s to measure the grass after you have cut it. You only need to mow a short patch of grass to a certain length and however long the remaining grass is will be your cutting height for that setting.

You need to get down and close to the grass itself but that does get you back to nature. Simply use your measuring tape and place it between the blades of grass and carefully measure how long the grass is, that’s your cutting height.

The Importance Of Grass Types

Not all grass is the same and many types have their own ideal cutting height which should be taken into account. The cutting height should be reasonable to ensure a healthy lawn as it determines the root depth.

The two features go hand in hand, if the grass has roots of two inches then the mowing height should be the same two inches.

That can get a little tricky if your lawn has different types of grass, you may want to make a long cut in summer as the grass will effectively shade the soil underneath it to prevent weed growth and the soil drying out.

Even the most common types of grass have different cutting heights. Fine Fescue, Centipede, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Ryegrass should all have a mowing height of 1.5” to 2.5”.

Bahia Grass and Tall Fescue is a bit higher at 2” to 3” while St. Augustine is between 2” and 4”, Annual Ryegrass is 2.25” to 3”, and Perennial Ryegrass is 2.25” to 3.75”. Some grasses are a lot shorter, including Zoysia and Bermuda Grass which are both from 0.5” to 1.5”, while Bent Grass is 0.25” to 0.75”. 

Final Thoughts

The reward of measuring your lawn mower cutting height is that it can vastly improve the state of your lawn. If you match up the cutting height with the specific type of grass and manage it through the seasons then you can improve the drought resistance.

That should mean that your lawn becomes disease-resistant and more resistant in general to prevent weed growth. While many believe that the lawn mower cutting height is simply a set of numbers or letters, knowing what they mean can make a difference for your lawn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Details Should I Know When Measuring The Lawn Mower Cutting Height?

If you want to go further than just pulling out a ruler or measuring tape then remember that the cutting blades are not wholly flat and they will slope down to the edge.

With that detail in mind, measure from the lowest possible point, head up to the center, then consider the measurement at the blade’s highest point. Make sure that the cutting height is consistent, not too high and not too low.

Too low and the grass can become stressed which will limit its growth and in one mowing session, you should avoid cutting more than a third of the grass’ total length.

How Do You Manage The Lawn Cutting Height As The Seasons Change?

You should know the ideal height of your lawn grass at the best time of year, during summer. 

This is when you should make the effort to check the lawn cutting height and measure it. However, as fall comes in, the grass begins to grow faster so you should lower the cutting height and keep it until after spring.

Then, before winter, you should aim to lower the bed to as low as possible while avoiding touching the scalp.

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