You’ve always just assumed it’s best to mow your lawn in the morning before the heat of the day makes it too unbearable. But is that truly the best time to cut your grass? Below we will clarify any questions you may have about what time of day is best for mowing your lawn.
- When is the best time of day to mow?
- How often should I cut my grass?
- When should I cut my grass throughout the year?
- FAQ about the best time to cut grass
When is the best time of day to mow?
While there is some debate on when the ideal time is to mow, what is not in question is that when you take good care of your lawn, you will have beautiful, healthy grass with a strong root system that will grow faster and thicker.
Early morning (6 – 8 a.m.) is not recommended for mowing
This is one of the worst times to mow. Your lawn will still be wet from the morning dew which will make it messy and hard on your mower. Mowing wet grass also will tear it rather than cut it, which is an open invitation to disease and fungus.
It’s also not generally considered neighborly to mow before 8 a.m. on weekdays. However, there’s some debate on what time is considered acceptable for the weekend. Some say after 9 a.m. is acceptable, while others say to wait till 10 a.m. We recommend being observant of what time your neighbors begin mowing on the weekends and following suit.
Mid-morning (8 – 10 a.m.) is the BEST time to mow
This is the optimal time to mow. If you wait until the middle of the morning, then you have enough time for the morning dew on the grass to dry. Plus, you also avoid possibly getting heat exhaustion or sunburnt by working outside in the midday sun.
Mid-day (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) your grass is too busy to mow
While your neighbors might appreciate you waiting to mow your lawn till after 10 a.m. on a Saturday, but it’s not recommended to cut your grass during this time. The grass can lose moisture if cut during this time, which weakens the grass.
In the middle of the day, your lawn is busy photosynthesizing and protecting its water supply. Mowing it in the mid-day sun can stunt its growth and kill off weak grass.
Mid-afternoon (2 – 4 p.m.) is too hot to mow
This is typically some of the hottest hours of the day. No one wants to be outside mowing the lawn in the heat of the day. Cutting your grass in the middle of the afternoon puts you at a higher risk of sunburn as well as heat exhaustion. It’s better to wait till it starts to cool down before mowing.
Your grass will also thank you for waiting till the heat of the day has passed. Mid-afternoon grass faces the same challenges as mid-day grass.
Late Afternoon (4 – 6 p.m.) is the SECOND best time to mow
By 4 p.m., it has cooled off enough to venture outside to mow the lawn. At this time, you avoid the highest temperatures of the day while ensuring your grass is thoroughly dry before mowing.
Cutting grass in the late afternoon also still allows the grass time to recover from the cutting before mold and disease can creep in when the temperatures drop at night.
Evening (6 – 8 p.m.) is too late to mow
Anytime after 6 p.m. is too late to be cutting your grass. Your lawn needs time to recover and heal before nighttime settles in and dew develops. If your grass has not had time to heal properly, you risk exposing your freshly cut grass to disease.
How often should I cut my grass?
How often you cut your grass will depend on the season and how fast it grows, which can vary greatly depending on the weather and the type of grass in your yard. But a good rule of thumb for the summer months is to plan to mow every four to six days.
You first need to know what type of grass you have then you can use our charts below to help you to know when you should cut your grass. 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.
|Cool season grass type||Ideal lawn height (inches)||Mow at this height (inches)|
|Fine fescue||1.5 – 3||2 – 4|
|Kentucky bluegrass||2 – 3||2.5 – 4|
|Perennial ryegrass||2 – 3||2.5 – 4|
|Tall fescue||2 – 4||2.5 – 5.25|
|Warm season grass type||Ideal lawn height (inches)||Mow at this height (inches)|
After you mow your lawn, give the grass time to recover by not walking on it for at least 24 hours.
Pro tip: Don’t cut your grass too short. When your lawn is too short, it can turn yellow and brown in hot weather.
When should I cut my grass throughout the year?
Your lawn-mowing schedule will depend on how fast your particular grass type grows and the season.
- Most common cool-season grass types: Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass
- Root growth happens when soil temperatures are above 32 degrees Fahrenheit
- Root growth is strongest from 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit
- Shoot growth is optimal when the air temperature is 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
- Most common warm-season grass types: Bahiagrass, Bermudagrass, Buffalograss, carpetgrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass
- Warm season grasses go dormant when air or soil temperatures drop below 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit
- Grass grows when soil temperatures are above 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit
Homeowners often wonder, “When is the best time to cut grass after winter?” It will depend on when the spring growing season starts to affect your grass. You will know when is the best time to cut the grass after winter once you see your lawn has grown taller than 3 inches and you no longer get frost on the ground.
In the spring, mowing once a week or every other week, since it is just starting to grow, is adequate 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.
Another thing to consider is what type of grass you have as different grasses grow at different rates depending on the season.
Cool season grasses
- Once your grass starts to grow, it’s time to pull out the lawnmower and get to work.
- But before you start to mow be sure to look over your lawn thoroughly for any discolored grass or mold.
- If you see any signs of disease or mold, bag grass clippings in the early spring to avoid spreading diseases to other parts of the lawn.
- Once the snow and risk of disease have long since disappeared with winter you will want to start leaving your grass clippings on your lawn.
Warm season grasses
- Keep an eye on soil temperatures and once they reach 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit it’s time to start looking for lawn growth.
- Remember to keep a close eye on the growth so you know when to mow as you never want to cut more than one-third of the grass’ length.
- Leave your lawn clippings on your lawn rather than bagging them so they’ll decompose and reintegrate into the soil.
- Mow more frequently as growing increases.
During the hottest summer months, you’ll want to mow about every four to six days. But keep in mind you never want to cut off more than one-third of the length, so let your grass’s growth pattern guide you to how often is best for your lawn.
Summertime can see periods of both rainy weather and dry spells, but no matter what Mother Nature may be doing, don’t let that cause you to fall behind on your lawn maintenance.
- Increase your lawn’s height by ½ to 1 inch to help keep your soil cooler and prevent it from drying.
- Continue to leave grass clippings on your lawn as long as they aren’t excessive.
- Avoid mowing on brutally hot days to avoid stressing your grass.
- You will need to mow more frequently throughout the summer growing season.
- Increase the mowing height by up to half an inch to keep the soil shady and cool. Cutting the grass too low could cause your grass and soil to dry up.
Until your lawn goes into hibernation, you should continue trimming it regularly to maintain its health.
Also, consider taking advantage of this time of year to do a deep fertilizing treatment for the lawn before the cold season sets in, as this can help extend the life of your lawn.
By the end of fall, you should stop mowing about a week before the first frost or when weather conditions are about to freeze.
- If you raised your mowing height over the summer, lower the height in preparation for the upcoming winter season.
- Gradually lower the mowing height throughout the fall to help prevent snow molds.
- Continue mowing your lawn until it stops growing.
- Continue to leave your grass clippings on your lawn.
- Your lawn’s growth should start to slow down throughout the fall but continue to mow as long as it continues to grow.
- Continue mowing till your grass stops growing or turns brown.
- Lower the mowing height if you raised it over the summer. This allows for better airflow and water drainage.
Your last pass over your lawn should be about a week before the first frost. In the weeks leading up to the first frost, mow about two or three more times, lowering the lawn-mower blade height gradually each time but don’t go below the recommended height range for your grass type. These final pre-winter cuts are essential to prevent mold and fungus from taking over your lawn.
Throughout the winter cutting your grass is generally not necessary. However, if your grass is growing then it will need to be cut. This can happen during unseasonably warm spells, just be sure the ground is reasonably dry and frost-free before pulling out the mower.
- Continue to mow until your grass stops growing
- Before putting the mower away for the season, now is a great time for mower maintenance.
- Once the average temperature drops below 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit you’re generally free of mowing chores for the season. The colder it gets, the more sensitive your grass will become.
- Before you store your mower for the season, don’t forget to winterize your mower and take care of any maintenance needs.
- Remember, if you live in a subtropical climate like Florida, you will likely need to keep mowing throughout the winter.
Best time to cut grass based on rainfall
During rainy periods, it may be difficult to find a time to mow but it’s still incredibly important to not neglect it because your grass is growing fast.
Should you mow wet grass or wait till it dries?
No, you should always avoid mowing wet grass whenever possible. Mowing wet grass can cause all kinds of problems for both you and the grass. Not only is wet grass harder to mow since wet grass is slippery and may cause you to fall, but it’s also hard on your grass.
Mowing your lawn when it’s wet can lead to tearing rather than cutting which can leave room for disease to creep in and set up camp. Cutting your grass when it’s wet can lead to fungal lawn diseases such as brown patch, anthracnose, leaf spot, or red thread.
How to know when the grass is dry enough to mow
After it’s rained, it can be difficult to know how long to wait before mowing. It’s best to wait at least a few hours before pulling out the mower. It’s even better to wait till the next day to ensure the grass is fully dry.
Questions to ask yourself if you are unsure if you should mow
- Is the soil muddy or soft?
- Is the ground and soil saturated with moisture?
- Are your shoes wet if you walk across your lawn?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then it’s best to wait till your lawn is dry enough to answer no.
If you have to mow wet grass
While it’s not advisable to mow wet grass, sometimes it’s unavoidable. For anyone who lives in a climate that has a rainy season, it can be difficult to find a day when the grass is completely dry.
If you find yourself in such a situation, then check the weather forecast for the day with the lowest chance of rain and for the time of the day least likely to rain. If you have to mow after it rains, wait a few hours. You want to let the grass dry as much as possible before mowing.
Mowing tips for wet grass
- Sharpen mower blades before mowing
- Raise the mower deck
- Discharge the grass clippings
- Stop and clean the underside of the mower periodically
Should you mow during a drought?
Whenever you’re going through a drought, continue to mow the lawn about once every two weeks. Cutting grass in hot, dry weather can damage the lawn if you trim it more than twice a month when it hardly rains.
Early in the drought, it’s a good idea to raise your mower deck for a higher-cut lawn. This helps produce more shade for the soil which encourages deeper roots and helps reduce evaporation and heat damage.
This is also when watering becomes even more important. Water your lawn one to two days a week, about ½ to ¾ inch of water each time you water.
What time of day is best to water grass?
Early morning. Watering your lawn first thing in the morning ensures optimal water absorption. The water is less likely to evaporate during the morning’s lower temperatures and sun exposure. Your roots will have the best chance to absorb the water, be sure to plan accordingly.
- Don’t water 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the hottest part of the day
- 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. is the best time to water: There’s less sun, heat, and wind
- Late afternoon, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. is the second best time to water
- Don’t water at night: Watering at night can leave your grass vulnerable to mildew, fungal diseases, and outdoor pests
FAQ about the best time to cut grass
What is the fastest way to mow my lawn?
The most efficient way to mow your lawn involves making the fewest number of turns. According to David’s Lawn Mowing Efficiency Hierarchy, the list of fastest to most time-consuming mowing methods are:
- Spiral: Start from the outside and spiral into the middle.
- Long stripes: Mow the long edge — the length of the rectangle — then u-turn, and go back the other way.
- Short stripes: Same as long stripes, but mow across the short side.
- Diagonal stripes: Start at one corner, and go back and forth across the diagonal.
What should I do with my grass clippings?
There are three options for grass clippings and all have their time and purpose:
Using your grass clippings as mulch is typically the most recommended use as it will reduce your need for fertilizer and improve soil nutrients. Use this method regularly with a healthy lawn for low-effort mowing and to provide free fertilizer for your grass, hydrate your lawn, reduce weeds, and prevent soil erosion.
This method leaves a clean, freshly mowed lawn that can help reduce allergies if someone in your household is sensitive to grass pollen. Use this method when you have diseased grass to prevent the spread of the disease to healthy parts of your lawn.
This method of expelling the clippings to the side is used if the grass is wet or if it has grown too tall since the last time you mowed. However, this method will leave clumps of grass throughout your lawn which can be rather unsightly and can negatively affect your lawn’s health.
Should I trim or mow first?
There is much debate over this subject. Some say to mow first. Mowing first can be a time saver as you can easily see that all areas have been mowed. It also can create a more consistent and even look.
But others recommend you trim or edge first, then mow. Trimming or edging first will reduce the risk of damaging trees, plants, and hardscaping. If the grass around a tree has already been trimmed, then you are less likely to accidentally knick it with the mower.
At the end of the day, it comes down to preference. But generally, we would recommend leaning on the side of caution and trimming or edging first to make sure you don’t damage any of your beautiful landscaping.
Don’t have time to mow?
If you, like many people find yourself struggling to find time to do all your household chores, let Lawn Love find a qualified local lawn care company to take care of all your outdoor needs.
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