Gardening Lawn

How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn?

A handy overall view of lawn mowing,

covering a wide range of climates, from cold temperate to subtropical.

By Andy Gibson

Maintaining your lawn is an important part of homeownership. Not only does it improve the appearance of your property, but it also helps you maintain good air quality.

Mowing regularly is essential for keeping your grass healthy and thriving. After all, what good is a lush green lawn if its roots are in poor shape?

However, how often should you mow your lawn? The answer depends on several factors.

In this article, we’ll explore some of these factors and give some general recommendations to help you make more informed decisions about how to keep your lawn looking healthy and fantastic.

Why Does My Grass Grow So Fast?

The truth is that grass grows at different rates depending on the season, so it’s important to take into account what time of year it is before deciding the frequency of mowing you will need.

Grass tends to grow faster in the spring and summer when temperatures are warmer.

It will grow slower during the fall when temperatures are cooler and possibly not at all in winter, depending on the climate.

And it will grow faster when there’s plenty of moisture in the soil and slower or not at all when precipitation levels are low.

Is There a Grass That Doesn’t Need Mowing?

Some of these grasses either grow too slow or are short enough that you do not need to mow, or only rarely.

They include:

  • Buffalo Grass
  • Mondo Grass
  • Centipede Grass
  • Seashore Paspalum
  • Some Commercial No-Mow Brands

Yes, you can get away with delaying mowing your lawn for a day or two. But if you do this every week (or even once a month), the result will likely be an unkempt lawn that’s full of weeds and other unwanted growth that people hate to see in their yards. I’m looking at you, dandelions!

How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn Depending on the Season?

Spring, summer, and fall are the most common seasons for mowing your lawn and breaking out the lawn care tools.

Let’s go over each, including winter, in detail.

How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn in the Spring?

Once every two weeks is optimal for mowing at the very beginning of spring, when temperatures are still cold. Then accelerate the frequency as the lawns grow.

Spring lawns tend to be thicker than summer lawns and are more susceptible to disease. As such, they need regular care throughout the season in order for them to look and stay healthy so they can thrive through summertime activities like playing with kids or hosting barbecues on weekends.

How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn in the Summer?

For how often should grass be cut during the hot summer months, shoot for once every 4 to 6 days.

If you get a lot of rain, you will want to go about 3 to 4 days in between cuttings. The heat makes this an ideal time for some maintenance on your lawn, so that it stays healthy throughout the hot months ahead.

You may want to cut back on watering during this period to not stress out tender blades or cause them harm due to overstimulation.

How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn in the Fall?

How often to mow lawn come Fall time is about once every 1 ½ to 2 weeks. The goal is to keep everything as healthy as possible before the cold settles in.

You want to keep things under 6 inches (15 cm) in height, then drop to around 2 ½ inches (6.35 cm) to give the lawn a short cut before winter.

How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn in Winter?

The answer to that question depends on the type of grass you have and your local climate. If your grass is dormant, meaning it’s not growing, then you have nothing to worry about. Simply let nature take its course through the cold months and wait until your grass begins to reappear in the early spring. 

Even in mild climates where there is some growth in winter, you do not need to cut grass very often. But if it’s still growing and green, or even turning brown from frost burn, then every 10–14 days.

Frequency of Mowing Depending on Different Types of Grass

The type of grass in your yard, how much sun it gets, and whether or not it is mulched will make a difference on whether you mow the lawn every 2 weeks or mow the lawn once a month.

For example, you would normally cut Bermuda grass is 5–7 days.

There are plenty of other types of grasses, such as:

And plenty more!

Different grasses grow at various rates depending on the season. For example, the chart below show what kind of grass thrives in a cooler or warmer environment.

In Canada and the northern half of the US, most gardeners would use hardier cool season grasses. Warm-season grasses are those used in the milder climate of the southern US.

How Often Should Grass Be Cut Depending on Types of Mowers

There are plenty of different types of lawnmowers available on the market.

Each one will offer a different advantage when it comes to mowing techniques.

A mulching mower chops up grass clippings and deposits them on the ground.

A side discharge mower shoots the cuttings sideways off the mower deck into a bag or onto the ground as you push it forward.

Reel mowers are powered by hand rather than gas engines—making them quieter than most other types available today. It comes down to what you will do with the clippings for your lawn health.

Few Things to Keep in Mind When Mowing If You Cut Grass Often

If you are someone who wants to try and mow less frequently, say every 2 weeks or so, then try to use some of these tips and tricks:

  • Set your mower a little higher if your grass is overgrown.
  • Stick to dryer days for mowing.
  • Vary your mowing pattern.
  • Leave grass clippings on your lawn.
  • Keep your mower blades sharp.
  • Use the One-Third Rule;
  • Mow in the early morning between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

As for how long to wait after it rains before you mow, try to wait until the grass is dry before you start. That way, you’ll get excellent clippings for lawn health.

Man emptying lawn clippings from bin.
Never cut off more than one third of your grass blades in one session.

The One-Third Rule in Mowing

The One-Third Rule states that you should never cut off more than one third of your grass blades in one session.

So, if you want a lawn about 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall, you wait until they are roughly 4 ½ inches (11.5 cm) tall. The reason for cutting off only one third of the height in one session is so you get a more even lawn that doesn’t block sunlight from reaching the lower blades.

As you are deciding at what height you should cut your grass, be sure you are using a mower with sharp blades. That way you’ll get an accurate cut.

Best Height to Cut Grass—Mowing Height Chart

The best height for your lawn is 3–4 inches (7.5-10 cm).

This mowing height is suitable for most grass types and soil conditions. It allows enough sunlight to reach the roots, which encourages deep root growth and helps combat weeds.

If you have thick-bladed lawn grasses like Bermuda or Zoysia, though, you may need to cut it more often than every two weeks. Avoid suggestions to mow lawn only once a month unless it’s in the winter months or being subjected to a deep drought.

For the most popular grass types in the U.S. try:

Can You Mow Too Often—Will It Hurt Your Lawn?

Mowing your lawn too often can damage it, especially if you’re using a rotary mower or a reel mower.

An electric or battery-powered mower is better for the environment and easier on your lawn, but there are still some things to watch for when it comes to how often you should be cutting the grass.

How often you need to mow depends on your grass type, climate, season, and rainfall.

You do not want to overdo it, because that can cause problems. For example, when the lawn turns brownish after mowing. Odds are you have cut too frequently for the grass to develop a healthy base . . . or the mower blade is dull and is tearing off the blades rather than cutting them.

How to Save Your Lawn If You Made a Mistake

If you made a mistake and mowed your lawn too short, don’t panic. It will quickly recover if you act quickly and follow these steps:

  • Don’t overwater. Heavy watering will only make the damage worse.
  • Don’t fertilize or aerate the lawn right away. For best results, wait until late fall when temperatures drop before fertilizing or aerating again (this is also when most weed seeds are dormant).
  • Don’t use a lawnmower on your damaged grass until it has had time to regrow to at least 6 inches (15 cm) in length.

What Happens If You Don’t Mow Your Lawn?

If you don’t mow your lawn, it will obviously grow too long.

That is generally not good for its overall health and can lead to a variety of problems:

  • Dead spots.
  • Brown patches.
  • Uneven growth patterns.

If your grass is left uncut for an extended period, it will become tall enough that people won’t be able to comfortably walk through it.

You might also find pests getting into your yard and making nests or hideouts in areas with tall vegetation. That will be when you have moved way past the best time to mow the lawn.

In Case You Missed a Few Mows—How to Cut Long Grass?

If you missed a few mowing sessions, it may be too high to mow with a lawnmower. If so, cut it with a weed eater (string trimmer). Try to bring it down to about 6 inches (15 cm) in height the first time.

Give it a few days to recover, then mow it again with your mower set to between 3 and 4 inches (7.5 and 10 cm) or a specific height based on the type of grass you have. It should then be good to go.

If you missed more than a week or two of mowing (or if your grass was never cut), then this process will require some significant work on your part:

  • Raise the height of the mower blades, so they don’t get damaged by rocks or sticks on the lawn
  • Pull out all weeds, grass, or other organic growth from around trees, mailboxes, etc., using pruning shears or weed whacker.

FAQ

Should you water grass after mowing?

When you mow your lawn, you should water it afterward to help the grass recover from being cut. Watering the grass will help it stay healthy and prevent it from developing brown patches and weeds.

In addition, watering after mowing helps keep the blades of grass upright, so they don’t turn brown and lie back prematurely.

What is the best time of day to mow the lawn in hot weather?

You want to shoot for the early morning between 8 and 10 am for the best time to cut grass during hotter months.

You are trying to avoid mowing when the hot sun is directly above the grass, as that can burn freshly cut blades. Mowing early gives it some time for the grass to recover.

When is it too cold to mow the grass?

Lawns will stop growing at low temperatures. That would be about 60°F (16° C) for warm-season grasses and about 50°F (10°C) around cool-season grasses. Put away your lawnmower in a garage or shed at around that time.

When is it too hot to mow the grass?

Your goal should be to do so when it is below 80°F (27°C). That can be a challenge in warmer climates and is part of the reason you shoot for early morning hours for cutting grass.

Most places have an early morning temperature between 70–80°F (21–27 C°F), even in the middle of summer.

Conclusion

Mowing the lawn is an essential part of maintaining a healthy and attractive property.

By following these guidelines for how often should you mow your lawn and being sure to keep your mower in good condition, you should be able to make your yard looks its best at all times.

About the Author

Andy Gibson is a go-to guy for gardening in his area and pretty much everything related to a green thumb. He moved from a small city to the countryside and happily demonstrates his learning process for how to maintain a property online with his beautiful lawn and growing garden.

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

6 comments on “How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn?

  1. marianwhit

    Funny he did not talk about emissions, noise pollution, climate change, biodiversity, or Anthropocene extinction, or how landscape professionals can act pro-actively about these things…life as normal…until it isn’t normal any more. But all that I guess is just another opinion, a different news story. If we stick our fingers in our ears and close our eyes it will all go away and the outdoors can be like our carpeted living rooms. No, I will not be quiet or stand down because the evidence is all around us and the focus is now…plan for flood, fire, hurricane or just keep on with the denial.

  2. Centipede Grass needs to be cut once every two weeks in the south, to look neat all summer & fall.

  3. Sue Babcock

    Frequency of Lawn mowing is in the eye of the beholder. I have over 2 acres, and many of my neighbours on our street have at least double that (deemed semi- or rural-urban), mostly set back from the street/behind trees. Most of us seemed to have adopted the “no mow May” philosophy…rightly or wrongly. I did my1st cut (more like harvest, at 6″+) 2 weeks ago, using highest setting, and half sweeps so as not to choke my lawn tractor. Bounces back quite nicely, never gets watered, or fertilized …despite annual attempts and exhortations by hubby and a certain lawn care company, and the bees etc are back with a vengeance. Purple clover will start soon, and I mow around that to leave swaths for pollinators – “lawn art”, if you will – until it dies back. I noted this year even a lot of the nearby ‘burb lawns have not been cut, and our city has been pretty hands-off about regular park and median cutting. It’s…just grass.

  4. I mow mine once a week using a plug in electric mower. Most of my landscape is gravel and native Texas plants.

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