You’ll never know how many questions you had about lawn care until you finally have a lawn of your own that suddenly seems to require more attention. Why is your grass dying when the neighbors’ grass looks so strong and healthy? Is it because you don’t know the best time to cut grass after rain? Is the best time to cut grass before or after rain?
Your lawn may be suffering because you’re cutting grass in hot, dry weather too often. In this guide to lawn mowing, I’m going to tell you the answers to all these questions as well as everything else you need to know about maintaining a healthy lawn without too much fuss.
Why is it so important to mow your grass the right way?
When you take appropriate, regular care of your lawn, you will soon have beautiful, healthy grass with a strong root system. Your grass will grow faster, thicker and become hardy enough to withstand the occasional dry spell now and then. Let me tell you how to begin taking better care of your lawn by starting with these key tips.
Follow these general tips to treat your lawn like a pro:
How often you cut your grass will depend on how fast it is growing. For many people, their lawn looks best when the grass is about 2 inches tall. In that case, you should cut it when it becomes 3 inches high. Keep in mind that when you cut the grass too short, then it can turn yellow and brown in hot weather.
When the grass is 2 inches high, then it’s not too tall to encourage the growth of mold or fungus. Mow your lawn regularly so that you never cut off more than a third of the total grass height at a time to avoid over-stressing your grass.
You can prevent your lawn from looking barren after cutting by alternating your mowing pattern each time you cut and trying not to cut it so low that you expose the ground beneath.
After you mow your lawn, let the grass recover by not walking on it for at least 24 hours. If you also water it a little more than usual for the two days following cutting, then it will help improve the health and appearance of your grass. Now let’s look at the basic lawn care tools you’ll need to take care of your lawn:
What tools make it easier to mow your lawn?
If you buy a top-grade push-reel mower, then you can cut your grass quietly and efficiently at a much lower price than what it costs to run a gas-powered mower. They are the most environmentally friendly mowers on the market, reducing air pollution and not relying on any power consumption.
The blades of a push-reel mower are incredibly sharp and do not require as much maintenance as gas-powered mowers. As long as you choose a reel mower that can cut at least 3 inches of grass or more, then you may be able to handle cutting most types of grass.
Of course, people with much larger lawns prefer a gas-powered ride on mower because of how much time and energy it takes to mow larger-than-average lawns with any kind of push mower.
If you don’t want to keep buying gas for your lawnmower, then you could switch to a cordless electric mower. The latest models of cordless mowers start with a simple switch.
Also, you can now get a cordless mower with rechargeable batteries. However, this type of mower is best for people with small lawns that are about a third of an acre or less. That’s because the batteries need recharging after cutting for extended periods of time.
Sharpen the blade of your lawnmower every other month to get a better, more even cut across your lawn. If you don’t ever sharpen them, then the dull blades can rip your blades of grass. Ripped blades of grass are more susceptible to disease, especially in humid conditions where common types of fungi spread easily amongst poorly cut blades of grass.
If you’re handy with basic tools, then you can sharpen the blade yourself. For safety, make sure to take out the spark plug before you remove the blade. Otherwise, the lawn mower may start up accidentally while you’re trying to work on it.
Use a wrench to loosen the nut that mounts the blade into the deck of the mower. Once the nut is loose, unscrew it and remove the blade. It’s best to install your blade inside a vice to ensure that it is safely secured when sharpening it. Use any large file and make sure to file the blade at the same angle that the cutting edge already has.
For most blades, you want to sharpen it to a 45-degree angle. Count the number of times you file the blade on each side and make sure you file it the same amount of times on the other side as well. If you don’t file the edges evenly, then the blade can spin out of balance.
If you notice that the blade is badly bent or that there’s a nick in the blade, then sharpening it won’t do any good. In that case, you need to replace your blade. The owner’s manual should tell you which type of blade to buy, and many replacement lawnmower blades may be available in your nearby home-improvement store warehouse or online for you to order. Next, let me explain why the timing of your mowing matters:
How often should you cut your grass?
Your lawn-mowing schedule is going to depend on how fast your particular type of grass grows and the season of the year.
In the springtime, mowing once a week may be enough to keep your lawn looking well-trimmed. Grass growth steadily increases at this time, but it’s not growing fast enough to require frequent attention.
During the hottest summer months, your lawn may require two mowings a week since the grass is growing at a rapid rate. You must continue to cut the grass frequently when you’re receiving heavy rains throughout the summer and into the fall. If your lawn is prone to growing moss in cooler and damp climates, then you can trim it down a little bit shorter to help prevent the moss from spreading.
Also remember that in hot weather, it’s essential to water your lawn about an inch every week. Try not to water your lawn frequently with smaller amounts of water because that watering method leads to shorter grassroots and creates more stress for your grass during droughts.
Whenever you’re going through a drought, continue to mow the lawn at least once every two weeks, but there’s no need for you to cut it quite as short as you do in midsummer. Cutting grass in hot, dry weather can damage the lawn if you trim it more than twice a month when it hardly rains.
Generally, your grass won’t stop growing until the outside temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime. Until your lawn goes into its hibernation period, you should continue trimming it to maintain its health.
If you also take advantage of this time of year to do a deep fertilizing treatment for the lawn before the cold season sets in, then you will extend the life of your lawn.
By the end of fall, you should stop mowing whenever you notice frost on the ground or whenever weather conditions are about to freeze. Throughout winter, an occasional mowing is a good idea as long as the ground is reasonably dry and frost-free.
To identify the last time that you should cut your grass before winter sets in, look at a farmer’s almanac or another weather guide to see when the first frost of the year should come. You can then plan on mowing your lawn about two or three times before that date, and you should decrease the lawn-mower blade height gradually each time. These final pre-winter cuts are essential to prevent mold and fungus from taking over your lawn.
People often wonder, “When is the best time to cut grass after winter?” It will depend on when the spring season starts to affect your grass. You will know when is the best time to cut grass after winter once you see that your lawn has grown taller than 3 inches and you no longer get frost on the ground. Then take advantage of a dry time of day to do the first big mowing of the new year.
When is the best time to cut grass after rain?
Your best rule of thumb is never mow your grass when it is wet. That means you shouldn’t mow your lawn first thing in the morning when dew is in the grass. Also, it is best if you don’t mow right after watering.
Here are all the reasons why:
For one thing, mowing your grass while it is wet leads to uneven cutting, so your lawn won’t look nice and smooth. As the grass will end up at slightly different heights when it dries.
Secondly, wet grass is harder to cut because the clumps of grass get stuck in the mower.
Even worse, the wet clumps of grass that end up spread out across the lawn will stick together and block sunlight from evenly reaching all the blades of grass.
Plus, diseases spread much faster in wet grass. Since wet grass is also more sensitive, your mower is more likely to tear some of the wet grass out of the ground entirely while mowing. Wet grass is also slick and easier to slip on, so you’re likely to injure yourself while mowing a damp lawn. Considering all these factors, is the best time to cut grass before or after rain?
If you know a heavy rain is coming, then try to mow your lawn before the storm hits. Planning this way will save you the trouble of waiting a day or so for the grass to dry for your next mowing. For most other days, try to pick either the mid-morning or late afternoon to mow. Here’s why:
If you wait until the middle of the morning, then you have enough time for the morning dew on the grass to dry. The ideal time is between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Plus, you also avoid possibly getting heat exhaustion or sunburn by working outside in the midday sun.
Never cut your grass in the middle of the day between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Not only is it often too hot to work outside at this time, but the grass can lose moisture, which weakens the grass. At this time, your lawn is busy photosynthesizing and protecting its water supply. Mowing it in the midday sun can stunt its growth and kill off weak grass.
Between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. is a better time to cut grass than in the early morning or midday; however, the late afternoon is better for maintaining the health of your lawn.
Alternatively, you could wait until the late afternoon to mow the lawn. Anywhere from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. is generally the second-best time after the mid-morning time slot. At this time, you avoid the highest temperatures of the day while making sure your grass is also thoroughly dry before mowing. Cutting grass in the afternoon allows the blades of grass to recover from the cutting before different types of mold and other diseases have a chance to set in when the temperatures drop at night.
After the sun has passed its peak, most of the moisture in the blades of grass travels down to its roots, protecting the strength of the grass as you mow.
Regardless of the time of day, the best time to cut grass after rain is after the grass has completely dried. Wait a day if necessary for a better mowing experience for yourself and your lawn.
- Try to mow your lawn in the middle of the morning when the grass is dry. Otherwise, mow in the late afternoon after 4:00 p.m.
- Keep your lawnmower’s blades sharp by maintaining them every month for the smoothest cuts.
- The ideal height for most grass types is 2 inches. Try to cut your grass when it reaches 3 inches without letting it go much higher between trims.
- Follow your local weather to determine the best times to work on your lawn. Mow before it rains. Mow the lawn and fertilize it well before the first big frost of winter.