It is important to remember that turfgrasses do not thrive on mowing; they tolerate it. It may seem that mowing is good for the grass, but mowing is always a stress. The cutting of leaf tissue may allow disease organisms to enter the plant, and it reduces the photo- synthetic area, lowering the production of carbohydrates that the plant needs to grow. Turfgrasses are the best equipped plants on earth to tolerate this type of defoliation. If there were better adapted species, they would be used in the place of grasses. The mowing height that a turf will tolerate is dependent on the species that are present.
The cool season species primarily used in lawn situations are Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass. These three species will do best at heights of one and one half to three inches, with higher mowing heights used during the high temperature stress periods. Warm season species such as Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass can tolerate heights of one half inch or less, while Bahiagrass, carpet grass, and centipedegrass do best at heights from one to three inches, and St. Augustinegrass should be mowed in the three to four inch range.