Lawn Mowing : Tips To Consider When Choosing The Right Time To Stop For The Year

Lawn Mowing  : Tips To Consider When Choosing The Right Time To Stop  For The Year
When to Stop Mowing

There are established guidelines to determine when to perform the last mow of the season, and it's not solely dependent on the first frost.

In This Article:

  1. When to Stop Mowing
  2. Indicators to watch

Suggestions for the Final Mow
Cool-Season vs. Warm-Season Grass

Maintenance Following the Final Cut

While a few individuals enjoy the activity of tending to their lawns throughout the growing season, many eagerly anticipate the moment when they can stow away their lawn equipment and complete most of their outdoor tasks.

The precise timing for each person to conclude lawn mowing for the year varies based on several factors. We consulted with two landscaping experts to establish the appropriate time for that last mow and to ensure you don't act prematurely.

When to Halt Lawn Mowing

As autumn approaches, it's essential to start considering winter preparations for your lawn. "Determining when to cease mowing depends largely on your geographical location and the types of grass you have," explains Jason McCausland, technical coordinator at Weed Man.

"While many suggest stopping after the first frost, which is a sensible guideline, our ever-changing climate can lead to continued growth after an early frost."

According to McCausland, a straightforward rule of thumb should be remembered: "Keep mowing if your grass is still growing, and always avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade during each mowing."

Signs That the Final Mow is Near

You will likely notice signs indicating the conclusion of the growing season before it officially ends. This period can be tricky because, even though your lawn's growth has ceased, it will still appear green.

Decreasing Temperatures

Temperature provides the most reliable guidance. Roger May, director of technical operations at TruGreen, advises that daytime temperatures should consistently remain in the 50s, with nighttime temperatures dropping into the 40s, ensuring that your turf has entered dormancy. "Keep an eye on the weather, as a week of 60-degree temperatures can stimulate lawn growth again, necessitating an additional mow before the cold sets in," says May.

Falling Leaves

May suggests that one of the most apparent signs that your final mow is approaching is when all the leaves have fallen from the maple trees. This not only signals a complete seasonal transition but also simplifies your overall lawn maintenance, as you won't need to mulch additional leaves with your mower.

First Frost

You can typically expect to conclude mowing approximately four to five weeks after your region experiences its initial frost. "By that time, daytime and nighttime temperatures should be consistently low enough to prevent further lawn growth," notes May.

How to Approach the Last Mow

During the final mow of the season, according to May, some adjustments are necessary, and your actions will depend on the type of grass you have, specifically whether it's warm-season or cool-season grass.

"On average, for the winter season, your grass height should be around 2 inches, varying with the grass type," he explains. "Due to cold winter temperatures, excessively short grass might go into shock, while overly long grass could be more susceptible to snow mold." In general, this means lowering your mowing deck by one or two notches. "This can help prevent snow mold in late winter and promote quicker spring regrowth," he adds.

Cool-Season vs. Warm-Season Grass

When to Cease Mowing Cool-Season Grass

McCausland points out that most cool-season turfgrasses begin to slow their leaf growth once daytime temperatures consistently drop below 50 to 55 degrees. "During your final mowings of the season, gradually reduce the mowing height (never remove more than one-third of the blade) to approximately 2 inches as a rule of thumb," he advises.

However, some variables can influence this strategy. "In regions prone to significant snowfall, you might opt for a closer cut of around 1 1/2 inches to minimize the risk of damage from snow molds or pests like voles and moles."

For northern and cooler regions in the United States, where winter temperatures significantly drop, McCausland notes that cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass typically go dormant. "These grasses often turn brown or straw-colored during the winter months when temperatures consistently remain low," he adds.

When to Cease Mowing Warm-Season Grass

The timing for ending lawn mowing with warm-season turfgrass depends on your location and the specific type of warm-season grass in your lawn. McCausland explains that this change usually occurs when average daytime temperatures consistently dip below 50 to 55 degrees, similar to other grass species.

"In most cases, warm-season grasses will enter some stage of winter dormancy and require little to no mowing."

When mowing is necessary for these grasses, McCausland suggests maintaining a slightly lower mowing height than usual but not too close to the ground. "This will help prevent disease and provide some protection during the winter months, but be cautious not to scalp your lawn, as it can harm the grass."

Maintaining Your Lawn After the Last Mow

Before the ground becomes too cold, ensure that your lawn receives adequate nutrients. This preparation helps your lawn endure the winter season and gives it a head start in the spring. "Cool-season lawns benefit from additional nitrogen, while warm-season lawns benefit from potash," says May.

Moreover, once you've completed your mowing for the year, it's an ideal time to give your mower a little extra care following a busy mowing season. "Sharpen your mower blade," advises May. "A sharp blade aids in mulching grass clippings and fallen leaves into the lawn, providing extra nutrients and organic matter."

Additionally, a sharp blade enhances your machine's efficiency when you adjust the mowing deck height, making your next lawn mowing session easier.

"When to Cease Lawn Mowing for the Year - More tips :

Knowing when to stop mowing your lawn as the year progresses is a critical aspect of lawn care.

It's not solely dependent on the arrival of the first frost, and various factors come into play. Experts suggest paying close attention to specific indicators to ensure your lawn remains healthy. Here's a summary of insights from multiple sources:

Temperature-Based Indicator

Daytime temperatures consistently in the 50s and nighttime temperatures dropping into the 40s indicate that your lawn has gone dormant. However, keep an eye on the weather, as a week of 60-degree temperatures can trigger new growth, necessitating an additional mowing before winter truly sets in.

Signs of the Season

Pay attention to seasonal changes, including the falling of leaves from trees, which signifies the full transition into winter. Once all the leaves are off the trees, you won't have to mulch them with your mower.

Frost as a Cue

Frost is a reliable indicator that grass has stopped growing. It's often recommended to cease mowing about four to five weeks after experiencing the first frost in your region. By this time, both daytime and nighttime temperatures should be consistently cold enough to inhibit further growth.

Grass Type Matters: The type of grass in your lawn, whether it's cool-season or warm-season grass, influences when you should stop mowing. Cool-season grasses may slow down as temperatures drop, while warm-season grasses might enter dormancy and require little to no mowing.

Adjusting Grass Height

As winter approaches, it's advisable to adjust your grass height for optimal winter care. Typically, grass should be around 2 inches high, but this can vary depending on your climate. Avoid mowing too short, which can lead to snow mold, or too tall, which could invite other issues.

Preparing for Winter

Before the ground gets too cold, ensure your lawn has sufficient nutrients. Cool-season lawns may benefit from additional nitrogen, while warm-season lawns benefit from potash. Moreover, maintaining your mower, particularly sharpening the blade, is essential after a busy mowing season, as it aids in mulching grass clippings and leaves, providing valuable nutrients for your lawn.

Remember, the decision on when to stop mowing should align with your specific climate and grass type to keep your lawn healthy and ready for the winter months ahead.