After spending those cold months in hibernation, your grass awakens in spring desperately needing your TLC. Knowing the best time to mow the lawn is crucial for keeping your grass healthy, weed-free, and of course, green so that it becomes strong enough to deal with the hot temperatures of summer.
In this article, I’ll explain exactly when you should dig that lawnmower out of the shed to start cutting your grass without annoying your neighbors!
Best Time To Start Cutting Grass
Spring is the best time to mow grass, but it’s not about waiting until a specific date before you start. Monitor the length of the grass until it’s reached the right height. As a rule of thumb, the ideal height of the grass should be at least 2-3 inches tall. If it’s shorter, you’ll risk injuring the grass or making it susceptible to disease.
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Quick reminders before you start mowing your lawn
After months of cold weather and inactivity, your lawn may look a little neglected. Before you give your lawn its first cut of the year, take the time to clear any leaves, branches, stones, and other debris that may have piled up in the garden. After all, you don’t want your lawnmower blade to get damaged, or worse you could end up tripping over a piece of tree branch whilst mowing.
Sharpen your mower blade as a blunt blade can damage the grass. Make sure the mower is tuned up and ready for work by checking its fluids, air filter, etc.
To protect your grassroots, never remove more than a third of the length in a single mowing session. Always use the 1/3 rule and do the mowing in stages. Depending on how unkempt your lawn is after winter, it may take several weeks before it looks lush again. You can gradually decrease the cutting height on your mower to your preferred grass length.
After every mowing session, make a habit of clearing up the grass clippings. Otherwise, they will clump and stick to the underside of the lawn, especially when they get damp after it rains.
Suggestion: pass on the raking task to one of your family members. You’ve been mowing the lawn for hours after all!
Best Time Of Day To Mow Your Lawn
Did you know mowing at the right time of the day increases your lawn’s health, minimizes weed growth, and prevents it from disease?
You didn’t know that!
Let’s find out exactly when the best time to mow a lawn is and why:
Should you mow early morning (6-8am)?
You could mow the lawn before leaving for work, but neither your neighbors nor your grass will thank you for it. Early morning mowing can rip the grass and bruise it. And to make things worse, your lawnmower will clog faster as the grass is wet with dew. To prevent mold and fungus growth, best to avoid mowing at this time of the day.
Is mid-morning (8-10 am) better?
Most professional gardeners will tell you that mid-morning mowing is the optimal time as the grass will have enough time to dry and heal before the night falls. After 10 am, temperatures start to rise and the turf becomes hot and stressed. So if you don’t want your mower overheating and your lawn upset, best to mow between 8-10 am.
Too busy for mid-morning mowing? How about midday (10-2 pm)?
This is the hottest time of the day both for you and the grass so it’s not optimal. Having said that, as long as you only cut the top third of the grass, it should be OK. Any more than the top third and you risk burning the turf.
Should I leave it until mid-afternoon (2-4 pm)?
Mid-afternoon mowing is the second-best time of the day after mid-morning. So if you can’t cut your grass in the morning, and you don’t want to risk damaging your lawn, then mid-afternoon is an optimal time to mow the lawn. By this time, the worst of the midday heat has passed and temperatures start to cool down. Mid-afternoon mowing is better for your mower, your turf, and you.
Can I skip it until late afternoon (4-6 pm)?
If you’ve missed the mid-morning and mid-afternoon mowing time, then the late afternoon is your third-best chance to cut your grass. The temperatures will have dropped by this time of the day so your grass won’t suffer. Mowing in the late afternoon gives the grass a few hours to heal right before sunset plus your neighbors are most probably still at work during this time.
Can I mow in the evening (6 pm-8 pm)?
Mowing your lawn in the evening is just as bad as cutting it early in the morning. It is during the evening that your grass is most at risk of fungal infections and pest attacks, so it’s best to avoid mowing at this time. Besides, your neighbors won’t thank you for it!
After you’ve cut the grass, allow it to recover by minimizing foot traffic in the first 24 hours after mowing.
Remember to clear up the clippings using a rake, especially if the grass is too thick or high. Otherwise, it can get matted and look unsightly. You can always dry the clippings in the sun and use them as mulch later. Having said that, if the clipping layer is less than an inch, you can just leave it on the soil surface for decomposing.
During dry conditions, give the grass some extra water two or three days after mowing to help keep it in tip-top condition.
Best Time Of Day To Mow Lawn In Hot Weather
Your lawn can get particularly stressed from the scorching heat just as you would, so if you don’t want to damage your lawn, resist the temptation of mowing it under the hot blazing sun.
The best time of day to mow the lawn in hot summer months is between 8-10 am whilst it’s still cool enough to be in your garden.
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What Month Does Grass Stop Growing
It all depends on what type of grass grows in your garden.
Cool-season grass in USDA hardiness zones 5-9, for example, stops growing when temperatures fall below 50 degrees. This is when the grass enters into an inactive period after temperatures are consistently below 50 degrees.
A warm-season grass, such as Bermuda, on the other hand, grows in USDA hardiness zones 7-10. It stops growing when temperatures fall below 55.
The cutoff point for most grass varieties to stop growing comes when temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is usually by the end of October or early November – depending on the area you live in. In some regions, grass will go dormant from December when the air temperature reaches 40 degrees.
Now that you know the best time to mow the lawn, you’ll help keep your turf healthy and prevent pests from attacking it.
The Best Time To Mow Lawn Conclusion
In conclusion, let’s keep it real. You can cut the grass whenever you can squeeze it in. However, for the purist the best time to mow the lawn or grass is mid-morning. These conditions are optimal. As a second-best option, late afternoon after the hottest part of the day is your fallback.