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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Mowing new lawns

New lawns need time for their roots to become established before they can be mowed for the first time. For seeded lawns, it may take up to 2 months before they are ready to be mowed. Sod may be ready to be mowed within 2 to 3 weeks of planting. Three to six weeks are required for sprigs, stolons, and plugs to become established. For seeded lawns, wait for all of the seeds to germinate before mowing. For sod, sprigs, stolons, and plugs, make sure the roots are firmly planted in the soil before mowing to avoid tearing out new turf.

How to mow your new lawn

  • Be sure that the lawn is fairly dry before mowing so that you do not pull out any of your new lawn.
  • As a general rule, you should let your lawn grow to about one-and-a-half times the recommended height before cutting so that you are cutting off no more than one-third of the height of your lawn at a time.
  • Set your mower blade to the recommended cutting height for your turf species.
  • For the first mow, you can let the lawn grow to the high end of the recommended range or even a little higher before cutting to give it a little more time to become established, but be sure to still only cut off one-third of the blade.
  • Mow again a few days later to cut to the recommended height.
  • Mow regularly to keep your lawn healthy and avoid scalping damage.

Mowing established lawns

Roll your mouse over the the illustration to see the difference between mowing too short and mowing at the correct height.

Rollover image showing short mowing vs. mowing at the correct height.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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