Best Height To Cut Bermuda Grass: Season Guide

Last Updated on April 6, 2023 by Mattias

Bermuda grass (cynodon dactylon) is a grass species that is famously known for its high adaptability and rich density. As you know, maintenance is one of the factors that strongly influence your lawn’s appearance so if you want a healthy and lush bermudagrass lawn then make sure to take care of the mowing practices.

It can be difficult to determine the best height to cut bermuda grass. If the blades are too long, they’ll look untidy and if they are too short, the surface will appear uneven. Don’t worry because we are here to answer your question. Keep reading to find out the best height to cut bermuda grass.

Best Height To Cut Bermuda Grass

Deciding the best height is extremely important as it improves the growth and health of your lawn. Bermuda grass should be cut based on the season and variation of the grass you have planted. However, if we talk in a general sense, then common Bermuda grass should be cut at 1-2 inches.

As for hybrid varieties, the mower setting should be set at ½ – 1 ½ inches. The grass will have a higher quality if you mow frequently at a lower height. You should only cut one-third of the grass leaf for the best results.

To sum it up, we can say that the best height to cut bermuda grass is ⅓ of the entire grass leaf. No matter the current height of your lawn grass, you should cut it in a way that leaves ⅔ of the grass blade intact. 

Now that we have cleared that up, there is plenty more to discuss on this subject. Take a look below and find out all about it.

Why Is Choosing The Best Height Important 

Choosing the best height to cut bermuda grass is extremely important because it helps you in maintaining a beautiful lawn. Research has shown that taller grass blades essentially lead to better growth. Your grass primarily grows through photosynthesis and considering the fact that taller leaf blades will absorb sunlight more effectively, you should only cut ⅓ of the total height. Short-leaf blades do not perform as well and they do not procure energy properly. Inaccurate height doesn’t only lead to weaker root systems but also compromises the vibrancy of your lawn.

Furthermore, determining the best height also affects the grass specifically. As we mentioned above, the difference in mowing heights mainly occurs due to the distinction of varieties. Common bermudagrass (100% bermuda) has longer stems than cross-bred hybrid varieties which is why their mowing requirements differ from each other.

If you have common bermuda grass planted in your lawn, you should cut it at 1 inch. You don’t want to cut any shorter than that because your grass will have an unsightly and uneven appearance. 

As for hybrid Bermuda grass varieties, they should be cut as soon as they reach 2 inches. They have shorter stems that should be cut down to 1.5 inches on average. This height is suitable and it helps you maintain a green and healthy lawn. 

An important thing to remember is that “mowing low” means setting a high mower height while “mowing high” means setting a low mower height.

Do Seasons Influence Bermuda’s Cutting Height

To state it as simply as possible, yes. Seasons do influence the best height for bermuda grass. There are certain factors that should be considered amid the change in weather. You may see the need to mow frequently and cut the grass shorter in some seasons while others will be the opposite. 

Here’s an easily understandable guide that’ll help you get the hang of things

Spring season

Since bermuda is one of the warm-season grasses, late spring and early summer are considered to be their peak growing seasons. The grass establishes rapidly during this period and its growth rate is particularly fast. You should mow more frequently during this period to avoid overgrowth.

Apart from that, the spring season (march-may) mainly comes right after the winter months have passed. Your bermuda grass would have been in a state of dormancy before early spring which means that the possibility of dead tissue being left behind is high. You would need to cut the grass a little lower than usual because it will help you remove excess material and dead grass tissue from the soil surface.

The grass height should be shorter now and here are the general measurements; Common bermuda grass’s height should be toned down to 3/2 inches from 1 inch and hybrid bermuda grass’s height should be changed to ½ an inch from 1.5. 

Summer season

Summer (September- November)  is also considered the peak growing season since it provides the high temperature and hot weather that is necessary for grass growth. Unlike conveniently cooler spring, the summer season is the warmest time of the year and evaporation rates are excruciatingly high.

You should mow the grass less often during this period to avoid drought stress and the cutting height should be increased as well. The full sun evaporates most of the water and leaves little for the root system to absorb. You should increase the height so that the leaf blades are tall enough to reduce water evaporation. 

Fact: Taller leaf blades have more waxy leaf cuticles which enable them to reduce evaporation rates

Fall season 

Despite the common belief, you should keep mowing your bermuda grass lawn until the late fall. However, it is advised to cut the grass less frequently during this period. You should let the grass grow slightly taller than usual as it will help a great deal when the winter season arrives.

Since the normal height for bermuda grass is 1 inch, you should approximately increase it by 0.5-1 inch. The growth rate is comparatively low during this season so if you cut it too low, it won’t grow back until next spring. If the grass goes into winter dormancy with such a short height, it will become more susceptible to pests and diseases. Shorter bermuda grass has lower cold tolerance than longer grass blades, so they are more vulnerable to damage.

Winter season 

As we mentioned earlier, bermuda is a warm-season grass that primarily grows in high temperatures. When cool weather approaches, the grass suffers from environmental stress and goes into a state of dormancy. Bermuda’s growth completely stops and it turns brown due to the preservation.

Since bermuda is not actively growing during winter, it doesn’t need much from you. Maintenance is barely a requirement during this period and mowing isn’t needed either. There isn’t a best height to cut bermuda grass during winter because you shouldn’t cut it at all.

However, if your lawn is a combination of different grass types or if it’s overseeded with a different variety then you might need to keep mowing it despite Bermuda’s individual needs.

How Tall Does Bermuda Grass Grow

2 inches is most probably the best height to keep your lawn at. However, that doesn’t mean that bermuda grass can’t grow any taller than that. Bermuda is a fast-spreading grass that uses both its rhizomes and stolons to spread around. It is no surprise that this grass has a height range that can reach all the way up to 12 inches if left unattended.

If you don’t mow your lawn frequently and don’t take care of the grass’s height then your field will end up having an untidy and unpleasant appearance. You’ll need to put in more resources and effort to fix the situation when it gets out of hand which is why it’s much better to take care of the lawn along the way.

What Happens If Bermuda Grass Gets Too Tall

Now that we have explained the best height to cut bermudagrass, you must be wondering what will happen if you don’t oblige. There are some consequences that can occur in case you don’t follow the recommended cutting height. Let’s see what will happen if you don’t cut the grass appropriately and it gets too tall.

Even though a height of 2 inches is best suited for your Bermuda grass, you shouldn’t let it grow any taller than that. Tall grass will not only give your lawn an unattractive appearance but it will also increase your burden. It will need higher quantities of resources such as water, sunlight, and fertilizers. 

Not only that but getting out of this problem is just as difficult, once you finally decide to rectify the situation, you’ll also need to scalp the entire lawn and remove the green portion. Your lawn will be covered in unpleasant-looking brown patches that will take far too long to recover.

What Happens If Bermuda Grass Is Cut Too Low

Short bermuda grass can cause several adverse effects. Firstly, it is much more prone to weeds than longer grass blades and it is unable to choke them out. Tall grass that has a height of 2 inches on average will shade the weeds and cause them to starve.

However, your lawn will be infested if you don’t follow the recommended cutting height and mow the grass too short.  Considering the fact that the grass will be too short to compete with the weeds, the invasive species will soak up necessary energy before bermudagrass even gets a chance.

Apart from that, shorter grass blades can also lead to a weaker root system and slow growth. As we briefly mentioned above, they are less capable of obtaining energy as well as longer grass blades. Plants mainly grow through photosynthesis and if the blade isn’t long enough to absorb the sunlight then the growth rate will be adversely affected. The roots won’t receive essential energy either and they’ll end up forming shallow connections. Your bermuda grass will be weaker and it won’t be as tough as expected. 

In simple words, if you keep mowing your bermuda lawn at a short height then the lawn will be unhealthy and thinner. Not only that but the lack of deep roots will cause the grass to become more prone to various diseases, insects, and pests. It won’t be able to hold its ground during harsh conditions and you won’t have a desirable turf.

Best Practices To Follow While Mowing

  • Always cut the grass at the ideal mowing height
  • Check your lawn mower properly because dull blades can cause serious damage to the grass
  • Leaving grass clippings on the surface is the best way to provide additional nutrients to the lawn
  • Always consider the time of year before determining the best height
  • Reel mowers are preferred for low mowing heights while rotary mowers are more suitable for higher mowing heights.
  • Cool-season grasses have different recommended heights than warm-season grasses
  • Remember that ideal cutting height changes based on the type of bermuda grass being used 
  • Follow appropriate mowing patterns
  • Decrease the mowing frequency during periods of drought

Best Height To Cut Bermuda Grass Summary

As comprehensively discussed above, mowing is vital to lawn care. The height of the grass greatly influences your lawn’s appearance which is why you should always select the adequate one. 

Conclusively, this article explained the best height to cut bermuda grass and if we had to summarise it under one example then this one is perfect.

Suppose your lawn has a common Bermuda grass variety, you should wait until it reaches 3 inches and then cut 1 inch of the grass blade from the top. This measurement will let you cut off ⅓ of the grass while leaving two-thirds behind. Your lawn will look manicured and grass blades will have the mandatory height that is suitable for obtaining energy.

We also talked about the importance of choosing the right height and the consequences that will occur in case you neglect it.

We hope this article helped you understand the best height to cut bermuda grass. A perfectly cut lawn enhances appearance and health alike so make sure to share this valuable information with your friends as well.

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