Lawn Mowing Tips

When Should You Start Mowing Your Lawn? Read Before Mowing

When to Start Mowing Your Lawn After Winter

Springtime rolls around, birds are chirping, and the grass is beginning to grow. Many homeowners wish to put off the first annual lawn mowing as long as possible – but is this the best thing for your grass?

So, when should you start mowing your lawn? The best time to start mowing your lawn following winter is determined by many factors, including the seed type you used, the region in which you live, and how aggressive a gardener you are. For most homeowners, mowing should not resume until last Spring.

For example, if you have a grass species with a long growing season such as Bermuda or Zoysia, it’s best not to begin cutting your grass until mid-to-late Spring when the weather has been consistently warm for at least a month. This is because by allowing your lawn some extra growth time during cooler months, the amount of new growth in warmer months will be substantial enough so that dead brown grass can be quickly removed from sight without having to wait an entire year.

Grass Types Determine When You Should Start Mowing Your Lawn

When to Start MowingIf you have planted cool-season grasses such as fescue, bluegrass, or ryegrass, you can begin cutting your lawn following winter earlier than the above-mentioned species.

This is because these species of grass maintain a healthy green color and “springy” texture during cooler months more so than warm-season grasses.

If you live in a climate that doesn’t get consistently warm for an extended period (for example Cleveland during Spring), it’s best to wait until warm weather is here to stay before beginning mowing your lawn since excessive growth from early-season mowing will have turned brown by the time hot weather sets in.

Finally, if you are an avid gardener who thoroughly enjoys push mower rides throughout rare sunny followed by a cold drink on your back porch, then there is no time of year better to start mowing your lawn than immediately the following winter.

Tips For Gauging When To Begin Cutting Your Grass

There are several things you must need to consider before deciding to cut your grass for the first time following winter.

Climate

If you live in a climate where the temperature can drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t begin cutting your grass until the average temperature of your region is above that mark for at least a month.

Time of Day

Never mow early or late in the day because doing so will reduce the amount of watering and fertilizing required by your lawn due to limited sunlight exposure. It’s best to wait until there is enough sunlight in the day to mow.  When possible, mow when the sun is overhead (11 AM – 1 PM) and water and fertilize before 11 AM or after 2 PM during summer months.

New Grass Growth

If you have seeded your grass this past fall or have recently reseeded it, wait until the seeds have sprouted before beginning mowing your lawn. This can be determined by simply observing if any new grass has come through the soil surface.

Wet Grass

Don’t mow your lawn when the grass is wet because doing so will cause clumps of grass to form, leading to an unkempt appearance.

If You Have A Sprinkler System

If you have a lawn that is host to warm-season grasses that require extra water during dry periods, it’s best not to begin mowing your lawn until the soil has sufficiently warmed up enough for warm-season grasses to grow well. This is because doing so can cause browning of leaves due to stress from lack of water more quickly than normal which will make your yard look less green and make mowing more difficult since the grass will be stiff instead of soft.

If You Want Your Grass To Be Taller

If you have a vested interest in having your grass blades grow higher before being cut, it is best not to begin mowing your lawn until more time has passed since Winter ended.

This is because greater exposure to the sun during warmer months means that your grass will be able to produce enough energy (sugars) via photosynthesis so that it can grow taller while still retaining its green color before you cut it with your lawnmower.

However, it should be noted that excessively tall grass may cause stress on some types of lawnmowers and lead some homeowners to regret their earlier decision.

If You Want To Skip A Mowing Cycle

If you don’t mow your lawn for a year, it will grow about 2–4 inches in height during Spring and Summer months. Once Fall arrives and temperatures begin to drop, grass growth will stop – which is why most people let their grasses get taller before cutting them with a push mower.

Doing so gives the blades of grass more time to “recover” from constant exposure to your hot lawnmower blade before they need to go through the process all over again when warm weather returns next Spring. As such if you skip a mowing cycle, it’s best not to begin cutting your lawn until more time has passed since Winter ended.

Don’t Wait Too Long

It’s best not to wait until the Summer heat has begun before beginning mowing your lawn to give grass blades time to recover from constant exposure to your lawnmower blade. Furthermore, it is necessary for anybody who wants to avoid cutting the grass when it is too wet (which can lead to clumping of grass and brown spots) since doing so will prevent damage that would normally occur if you were cutting wet grass with a push mower instead of a riding one.

Cold Weather

It’s best not to mow your lawn while it is too cold outside. Not only will doing so cause browning of leaves due to stress from lack of water but also some types of grasses cannot grow in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius.

Furthermore, it may be dangerous to continue mowing your grass if the temperature begins to drop- since cold blades can cause cold burns which are analogous to paper cuts on humans.

Maintain A Watering Schedule

Maintain your watering schedule since even grass that’s been stressed due to lack of water can soon recover if given proper hydration. There are moisture sensors available on the market today which means you don’t have to be a weather expert or rely on rainfall reports to know when and how much to water your lawn.

Don’t Let Water Pool

During periods of excessive rain, continued high precipitation can result in overwatering since the soil is already filled with water from previous storms. When this happens, you’ll see pan-sized water puddles or even standing water for long periods which could lead to lawn disease and poor growth.

Homeowners should avoid this by checking soil moisture levels before they begin watering their yard and only turning sprinklers on when the top 2 inches of the ground is dry (meaning no rainfall has fallen for at least 24 hours).

Keep A Good Lawn Care Routine

A simple lawn care routine like this will help ensure that your grass remains healthy and beautiful throughout the year so you never have to feel embarrassed about how your yard looks again!

For those who want a professional touch or have questions about what it takes to care of their lawn, consider calling a local expert as they not only know best practices but can also offer suggestions for improving your yard or lawn care routine.

Mow With These Tips In Mind

  1. Let the mower do all of the work since pushing down on dead, high grass can cause blades to bend or break.
  2. Follow an overlapping pattern while cutting which means you never want to make consecutive passes over any patches of grass that have already been mowed since this will damage the cut grass and create uneven growth.
  3. Keep your pace slow (if possible) to ensure even growth across your yard. This is especially important if visible seedlings are emerging through the soil because having different heights of grass growing together doesn’t give off the desired appearance of evenness.
  4. Don’t forget to inspect blades of grass along the edges near sidewalks, driveways, and other areas where the grass meets the pavement.  This is another common place for mower mishaps to occur.
  5. Don’t mow too frequently since grass needs to stay short enough to allow sunlight and water to touch its roots. If the grass is mowed too frequently, it won’t have time to adequately recover which could result in brown patches or dead spots. This can also cause stress on your lawnmower as well as give off the appearance that your yard isn’t cared for.
  6. Keep blades sharp by having them re-sharpened once per year (yes – less frequent than what you might be used to). You may not need professional assistance with this one if you’re careful and know what you’re doing.

Patience Is the Key

A “perfect start” requires a bit of patience, but it will save you from weeks of frustration and tireless raking later on! A little extra time spent at the beginning of the year will be well worth it come to Fall.  If you follow these simple procedures, your lawn will be looking good before you know it.

Hopefully, this information can provide some insight into when to begin mowing your lawn following winter. Good luck and happy mowing!

Matt McWilliams
[email protected]

Hi there! My name is Matt and I write for American Lawns. I've been a home owner for over 15 years. I've also had the pleasure of working with some experts in lawn care and outdoor living. I enjoy writing about everything related to your lawn, pests and types of grass. In my spare time, I'm either spending time with my family, doing a DIY project or learning a new skill.