I think it’s safe to say that few people truly enjoy mowing their lawns. Whilst it can be satisfying once finished, at the very least, there are other things you’d rather spend your weekends doing than cutting the grass.
While it’s tempting to put this chore off for as long as possible, there are real benefits to mowing grass on a regular schedule. So how often should you cut your grass? If you do it too frequently you’ll not only waste time but also put unnecessary stress on your lawn.
It’s fair to say that grass needs trimming whenever it grows too tall. But for a more precise way to schedule your mowing sessions, you should keep reading. Below I’ll explain the best mowing frequency for various scenarios and answer a whole raft of questions related to how often you should mow your lawn.
How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn?
For the average lawn, mowing once a week is generally a good starting point. But you can always tailor this schedule to suit your lawn’s exact needs.
During your lawn’s peak growing season, you may need to mow more frequently to maintain its ideal height. Some particularly vigorous lawns must be cut every 4 to 5 days to prevent overgrowth.
In the off-season — something that varies between grass varieties — you will likely need to get your mower out much less frequently. I suggest dropping your grass-cutting frequency to once every 2 or so weeks when the grass’ growth rate slows.
Keep in mind that new grass can and should be mowed just as often as an established lawn once it grows to a cuttable height.
Mowing By Grass Type
Each grass variety has its own average growth rate. It’s also important to note that different types of grass do best when maintained at specific heights.
If you have a particularly slow- or fast-growing type of grass, be aware that your schedule may need to vary from that of the average person.
Overall, your mowing practices should be tailored to the type of grass growing within your lawn. Be careful not to compare your grass-cutting habits to that of your neighbors!
Follow The One-Third Rule
As a rule of thumb, you should not cut more than one-third of your lawn’s height in a single session. Little and often is best if you want a thriving lawn.
Cutting too much length from your lawn at one time places excessive stress on the grass. It’s easy to forget how traumatic mowing a lawn can be since it’s so ingrained in modern landscaping culture. While a healthy lawn will recover from cutting with ease, there’s no reason to push your luck.
Another reason I recommend adhering to the one-third rule is that you don’t want to cover your lawn in long, dense grass clippings. According to Michigan State University, excess grass clippings created by infrequent mowing are at risk of smothering parts of your lawn. Meanwhile, smaller clippings will break down quickly, introducing valuable nutrients back into the soil.
The one-third rule is a guideline that should be followed whenever possible. However, you shouldn’t panic if your lawn occasionally grows slightly taller than desired. I recommend returning it to the ideal height over several sessions to prevent undue stress.
The number of times you need to cut your grass will depend on its current growth rate and what height you wish to maintain the grass at. I recommend you start with a once-weekly schedule when your grass is actively growing. Adjust this schedule as needed when growth slows during the rest of the year.
Other Factors Affecting Mowing Frequency
Grass does not grow at the same rate at all times. For the best results year-round, I recommend adjusting your gardening duties schedule to meet the growth and health of your lawn.
There are a few factors that can impact a lawn’s growth rate and, as a result, you’ll need to flex and pivot your mowing schedule accordingly. For example, your grass is likely to grow quickly after applying high-nitrogen fertilizer to the area. Or, in the opposite direction, it will be slow-growing during periods of drought.
Out of all such factors, I believe that the time of year and how you actually use your lawn are the most important. Here’s how to adjust your mowing schedule as needed to meet these changing conditions:
Time Of Year
Have you ever noticed that your lawn grows faster in the spring versus the summer? Or vice-versa? You aren’t imagining things.
While seasonal factors like rainfall can affect your lawn’s growth rate, temperature plays a much bigger role than many people realize. In fact, grass varieties are frequently categorized by the temperatures in which they grow fastest.
Warm-season grasses grow fastest in the heat of summer. However, their growth slows down significantly in the cooler temperatures of spring and fall. Common examples of warm-season grasses include Bermuda, centipede, and zoysia grass.
Cool-season varieties, on the other hand, thrive in cool (but not freezing) weather. Cool-season lawns grow remarkably fast when the temperatures are low in early spring and late fall. Yet these grass types grow extremely slowly or even go into dormancy through summer.
In warm climates with mild winters, it may be necessary to cut your grass through winter. As long as your lawn is actively growing, the length will need to be maintained. However, you should expect to mow much less often than you would during other parts of the year.
Turf grass that receives heavy foot traffic should be maintained at a longer length. If your lawn regularly hosts playing children, rowdy pets, or any other type of foot traffic, I recommend mowing at the highest suggested height for your specific grass species.
While your mower’s blade height will affect the grass height you will also need to pay attention to your mowing frequency. Be careful not to cut the grass too frequently (or too short) during periods when the growth rate has slowed.
Another tip I’d like to share for high-traffic lawns is to alternate your mowing pattern each session. Though this isn’t related to frequency exactly, it’s a good way to prevent repeated wear-and-tear to an already-stressed lawn.
FAQs How Often To Cut Grass
Does frequent mowing improve lawn?
Frequent mowing can improve your lawns’ health and appearance in a couple of ways. First, more frequent cutting will maintain your lawn’s height without putting unnecessary stress on the grass itself. Second, mowing frequently is a great way to prevent the growth and spread of unwanted weeds.
Can you mow the grass too often?
Avoid cutting your lawn if it shows little or no signs of growth since the last time it was cut. Mowing your lawn when it isn’t necessary will put undue stress on the grass.
Should you mow wet grass?
Mowing wet grass can result in uneven cuts, soil compaction, and damage to your mower. It can also spread fungal diseases throughout your lawn. I always recommend waiting for the grass to dry before attempting to mow it.