Cultural Practices for Athletic Fields: Mowing

Mowing is important to turfgrass because it maintains top growth within specified limits, controls undesirable vegetation intolerant to mowing, sustains turfgrasses and produces a functional athletic surface for sports fields.

Height of Cut

Optimal mowing height depends on the type of grass, use and the time of year. A standard rule in the industry for moderately to intensively maintained turfgrass is to never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade in a single mowing. Removing more than this results in physiological stress and possible heat or cold injury.

Mowing Frequency

Mowing frequency depends on mowing height, turfgrass growth, level of maintenance, weather conditions and climatic conditions. Shorter grass needs to be mowed more often. Do not mow at the same frequency throughout the season. The mowing schedule is based on the growth rate of the grass, which varies with the season and weather. Cool-season turfgrass grows fast in the spring, slow in the summer, and moderately in the fall. Warm-season turfgrass grows fastest during the summer.