When Should You Not Mow Your Lawn?


The rising temperatures and a warm front sweeping in heralds the transition to spring. They bring a sense of renewal as we look forward to the warmer days ahead.

For many homeowners, the arrival of spring signals the start of the mowing season — with the smell of freshly mown grass being a true marker of springtime. But before taking out your equipment and sharpening your mower blades, there are a few lawn mowing tips to keep in mind to ensure your lawn's health from season to season.

When to Mow Your Lawn in Spring

There is no set date for when you should start using your lawn mower for the first time in the season. It largely depends on factors such as your region, grass type, and weather conditions. A general indicator is how tall your grass is.

Most warm-season grasses, like St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bermuda grass plugs are generally maintained at a height of 2-2.5 inches, while cool-season grasses perform best with 2.5-4 inches mowing height. Mowing at the recommended height contributes to healthy growth and enables the grass to withstand drought and heat stress. Based on the one-third rule, you should mow your grass when it is more than a third higher than its optimal height, usually every 7-10 days throughout the growing season.


When Not to Mow Your Lawn

However, there are a few exceptions. A slightly longer grass doesn't always warrant a mow. We've discussed how often you should mow your lawn, but it's also essential to know when to skip a mow in your routine.

Don't Mow Too Early in the Season

Spring weather can be fickle, with temperatures fluctuating in early spring. We recommend waiting until temperatures are consistently above 40 degrees F before attempting your first grass cut of the spring. Mowing too early can stress the grass, particularly when it may still be recovering from winter dormancy and hasn't fully greened up yet.

Additionally, premature mowing can damage new growth. It can keep grass from developing and maturing properly, making your lawn more susceptible to disease.

Don't Mow Wet Grass

Cutting wet grass makes them more likely to clump together, resulting in an uneven cut and an unsightly lawn. Leaving clumps of wet grass clippings can also smother the grass underneath and damage it. Wet grass is also more prone to tearing instead of being cleanly cut, which can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to disease. Additionally, mowing wet grass can be hazardous. It can clog the mower, causing it to overheat. It also increases slipping hazards, particularly on slopes or uneven terrain.

Mow your lawn when it's sunny or the grass is dry. After a rain, wait until the grass has had a chance to dry before mowing, which usually takes about 1-2 days. If you must mow shortly after rain, we advise raising the lawn mower blade to avoid cutting the grass blades too short and minimize the stress on your wet lawn.

Don't Mow at Noon

Opinions on the particular time for lawn mowing can vary, but there are some general guidelines to consider. It's advisable to not mow the lawn in the early morning when the grass is usually wet from morning dew, rain, or irrigation. Again, wet grass can clog up and damage your mower, among other risks. Mowing at noon when it's too hot is also not recommended as it can burn your grass.

This leaves a window in mid-morning, between 8-10 am, as a good time to cut grass, providing enough time for your grass to recover before evening. The late afternoon is the second-best time to mow when the weather is still warm but not scorching, which still allows your lawn to recover before nighttime when it's most vulnerable to fungal infections. Avoid mowing in the late evening or after 6 pm under any circumstances.


The Benefits of Establishing a Lawn Mowing Routine

Regular mowing is at the core of effective lawn maintenance, providing a range of benefits that contribute to a healthy lawn. It encourages dense and even growth and contributes to preventing weeds and reducing the risks of thatch buildup. By growing deeper roots, it also promotes a more resilient lawn that can better withstand drought and other environmental damage.

However, proper timing, similar with other lawn care practices like watering and fertilizing, is crucial to maximizing these benefits. Factors like climate, grass type, and soil conditions should all be considered when determining the best approach to lawn care.

In Florida, where mild winters allow grass to grow year-round, the mowing season may not have a clear beginning or end. So, you can continue mowing as necessary, taking into account the specifc needs of your lawn to ensure its long-term health and vitality.

For more lawn mowing tips or to explore a wide range of high-quality, farm-fresh grass plugs, visit the Try SodPods® website today.

Jamie Tedder

Jamie surrently serve as Vice President on the board for Turfgrass Producers of Florida. He currently oversees the production of all grasses throughout all farms in Florida at Bethel Farms. He is actively working with top grass breeders, researchers, producers and end users from public and private institutions around the country to stay up to date on current industry developments. Being a University of Florida graduate, he has applied that knowledge to over 22 years of experience growing spectacular grass!

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