Mowing Tips for Keeping a Healthy Lawn

Mower height and other recommendations for a healthy lawn.
lift mower and clean out any debris on underside

lift mower and clean out any debris on underside

For best results, clean out debris on the underside of the mower.

Lance Walheim, the author of Lawn Care for Dummies, answers the age-old question: How low do you mow? How often and how short you mow your lawn determines how well it resists weeds, heat and drought. Each type of grass has an ideal mowing range: Cut it too low and your lawn will be shallow-rooted and susceptible to sunburn and drought stress. Leave it too high or don't mow it often enough, and your lawn will thin out and possibly be invaded by weeds.

Adjusting the Height on a Rotary Mower

Set the mower on a level surface and, making sure it's turned off, disconnect the sparkplugs and drain the gas. Lift the mower and clean out any debris on the underside. Measure the level with a tape measure and adjust the wheels to the desired height (some models allow you to adjust all four wheels at once; others, one at a time).


  • Alternate mowing directions to avoid forming ruts in your lawn.
  • In hot weather, mow a bit higher (to encourage deeper roots).
  • Never mow with a dull blade. You can easily remove and sharpen the blade, or you can replace it fairly inexpensively.
  • Mow the lawn when it is about a third higher than the recommended mowing height.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn, unless the grass has grown very tall between mowings. The clippings will contribute organic matter and nutrients as they break down.

    For specific mowing heights for each type of grass, see Walheim's book, which is published by IDG Books Worldwide.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Lawn Mowing and Watering Tips

Cutting your grass and keeping it watered is vital to a great looking lawn.

Lawn Mower Basics

There are different types of lawnmowers out there. Here's some information on a few.

Tips for Choosing and Caring for a Lawn Mower

Buying and maintaining a lawn mower are made easier with these tips.

How to Remove Lawn Thatch

Thatch, built-up plant material between green growth and the grass roots, is essential, but too much can deter healthy lawn growth.

To Mow Or Not To Mow?

A master gardener examines the pros and cons of having a lawn to maintain.

Making Good: Raising Men Lawn Care Service

Learn how young men and boys are giving back by providing free lawn care to the elderly, disabled and single moms.

Mowers for the Older Generation

Mowing the lawn can result in a variety of physical ailments, many of which can be avoided with the right mower.

Lawn Maintenance

Learn a few tips and tricks to keep your lawn looking great all year round.

Tips for Watering a Lawn in Summer

Watering the lawn efficiently and appropriately involves more than simply watering every day.

Tips for Sodding and Seeding

Whether you go the sod or seed route, both have simple steps that should be followed. Here are some tips on both.


Docked Out

7:30am | 6:30c

Rescue My Renovation

8:30am | 7:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Tiny Luxury

8pm | 7c

Tiny Luxury

8:30pm | 7:30c

Tiny Luxury

9pm | 8c

Tiny Luxury

9:30pm | 8:30c

Tiny Luxury

10pm | 9c

Tiny Luxury

10:30pm | 9:30c

Tiny Luxury

11pm | 10c

Tiny Luxury

11:30pm | 10:30c

Tiny Luxury

12am | 11c

Tiny Luxury

12:30am | 11:30c

Tiny Luxury

1am | 12c

Tiny Luxury

1:30am | 12:30c

Tiny Luxury

2am | 1c

Tiny Luxury

2:30am | 1:30c

Tiny Luxury

3am | 2c

Tiny Luxury

3:30am | 2:30c

Elbow Room

4:30am | 3:30c

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.