Lawn Mowing in the Northwest

Northwest Lawn Care


Mowing is an important practice used for sustaining turf grass growth. Consistent and frequent mowing can help develop turf grass that is dense, of fine texture, more resistant to insects and diseases and more drought tolerant due to deeper root zones. Here are some answers to common questions about mowing:

How High Should I Mow My Turf?

Northwest lawn mixes are a mix of three species that perform best when maintained at a height of 1.5” to 2.5”. The lawn may present a more rugged, natural look at heights above this. This is a good fit for areas that require less maintenance and have minimal aesthetic demands.

At the lower end of the range grass responds with increased density, finer texture and improved playability. However, these lower heights can come with potential negative side effects including crown tissue damage (scalping), increased disease potential, reduced carbohydrate reserves, less root mass and increased temperatures at the soil/plant interface.

How Often Should I Mow My Turf?

Some say that grass should be mowed once a week. However, frequency of trimming should be based on the rate of growth, determined by several factors including the time of year, grass species and intensity of use.

A good rule of thumb is to not cut off more than a third of the grass stalk in one mowing. This provides a balance between the benefits of frequent mowing (increased density, regrowth) and the negative consequences of too frequent mowing (decreased shoot and root growth and a weakened, stress-intolerant plant).


Should I Collect My Grass Clippings?

Whether you remove the clippings or not depends on two factors.

First, if the turf is intensively maintained with closely mown surfaces, such as for sports fields, the clippings should be removed to maintain appearance and playability.

Second, if the turf is mowed in a regular and consistent manner that keeps the amount of top growth minimal, the clippings may be left. However, if the clippings are larger than normal due to infrequent mowing, the clippings should be removed.

Either way, fertilizer application should be altered to account for the increase of nutrients from leaving the clippings or the absence of nutrients from the organic material.

What Type of Mower Should I Use?

The best mower you can use is a sharp mower. A dull mower will damage the ends of the leaves causing brown, ragged ends and allow for increased disease development.

The differences between a rotary mower and a reel mower are technical and only apparent in intensely-maintained lawns. For the majority of uses, the type of mower is not as relevant as the sharpness.

For more information about maintaining a new lawn see our new lawn care guide: