The Best Time to Mow a Lawn:
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Optimal Schedules to Keep Your Lawn Looking Great.
Working out the best time of day to mow the lawn is arguably one of the most important factors in getting a great-looking lawn. Mowing your lawn correctly goes beyond just figuring out the right height. If you cut your grass at the optimum time then not only will you get a nice finish, but you will encourage a healthy disease-free lawn.
A good lawn is all about getting a good balance between your available time and the lawn’s needs. When looking for the best time to cut the lawn, you will need to consider things like how dry (or wet) the lawn is, what the temperature is and even the recovery time of the lawn is a factor.
In this article, I discuss the best times of day to mow your lawn that get the best results. The good news is, that you have more than one option.
The Best Time to Mow a Lawn
- Choose times when the lawn is dry and can recuperate effectively.
- Avoid mowing during heat or when the grass is damp.
- Incorporate mowing into your lawn care routine.
The best time to mow the lawn would be between 8-10 am. This is assuming that you do not have dew on the lawn from the night before. If so it is best to wait until the afternoon slot. You can cut a lawn with dew but it is not ideal and you would have to make sure that your blades were sharp.
Benefits of Mowing in the Morning
- Mildest Time of Day: If you know the temperature is going to rise later in the day, then a morning cut can best the best way to beat the heat for you and the lawn.
- Cool Temperatures: Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, benefit from early morning mowing as they grow best under cool conditions.
Tips for Mowing in the Morning
- Check the Wetness: Wait until after the dew has dried to avoid clumping and uneven cuts.
- Mind the Grass Type: If you have cool-season grass on your lawn, mowing in the early morning can promote healthier growth and better root development.
- Adjust Mowing Frequency: In peak growing seasons, you might need to mow more frequently; keeping an eye on grass growth will help determine the best mowing schedule.
If your lawn fails the wet test then the afternoon is the second best time to mow the grass and we will talk about this next.
It is best to mow your lawn during the afternoon usually, between 4 pm and 6 pm. The weather is getting cooler making it more convenient, for both you and your lawn. Giving your lawn some time to heal before nightfall is also beneficial.
Advantages of Mowing in the Late Afternoon
- Consistent Grass Dryness: Any moisture from the morning dew or irrigation should be gone, leaving the grass dry and easier to cut efficiently.
- Temperatures Are Cooler: The heat of the day has passed, so you’ll mow in more comfortable conditions, and the grass is less likely to suffer from heat stress.
Precautions for Mowing in the Late Afternoon
- Beware of Remaining Moisture: On days with higher humidity or after rainfall, ensure the grass isn’t still wet to avoid clogging your mower or creating an uneven cut.
- Finish Before Nightfall: Aim to complete your mowing well before evening to prevent promoting fungal growth, which can occur if the grass doesn’t have time to heal before nightfall.
Worst Times to Mow Your Lawn
As a lawn care business owner, I often don’t get much of a choice of the time of day to cut a lawn. From experience, these are the times that I would avoid.
- Early Morning (6 AM – 8 AM): Not only is mowing at this time going to annoy your neighbors it is also not good for the lawn. At this time of the day, there is usually moisture (dew) which is going to make the grass clump and look messy. You will get a much nicer job if you wait until the grass is dry.
- During or Immediately After Rain: Mowing wet grass is never a good idea. A wet mow will damage the grass rather than cut it cleanly as it does in the dry. A wet cut can leave your lawn open to diseases and mold.
- Midday Heat: This is arguably the worst time of the day to mow your grass. Not only is it extremely stressful on you and the lawn, but it can also cause the lawn to dry out and die off in areas.
These are a few things that you should also do to get the best results.
- Dull Blades: It doesn’t matter what time of day you mow your lawn if your blades are dull. Sharp blades cut grass, dull blades tear the grass. This is going to be a big welcome mat for all kinds of fungi and diseases.
- Mower Height: There is a rule when you are doing tree work that you never cut more than one-third. This also applies to grass. Your grass needs to have enough growth to both shade the roots and collect water. It is a balancing act. If cut the lawn too short, you will have patches that die off, flat weeds, and unhealthy brown grass.
- Mowing Pattern: Lawns grow best when you change the direction every time the grass is cut. Try to mow your lawn in a different pattern each time. I normally rotate at least three patterns when I mow lawns.
I remember years ago when I looked at a lawn and the guy who had been mowing the lawn had never changed his pattern. it looked like it had goat tracks. There were actual ruts in the lawn. It took me over a year of regular mowing and changing directions to get the lawn looking good again.
This is possibly the worst time of day to cut grass. Especially if it is a hot day and there is not too much in the way of clouds. The are plenty of reasons why you don’t want to do this and here are the main ones.
Risks of Mowing in the Midday:
- Sun Damage: In the middle of the day the sun is usually at its strongest. There are plenty of UV rays and freshly cut grass can get burned just as easily as you can get sunburned.
- Equipment Efficiency: Engines run hot and under normal conditions it’s not an issue. However, mowing your lawn in the heat of the midday sun could also cause stress on your engine. It could overheat and you could be in for costly repairs.
- Personal Health: And finally, don’t forget your own health. Mowing a lawn in the hot sun could cause dehydration or heatstroke.
You will have a much healthier and happier lawn if you mow it in the cooler parts of the day such as the morning or late afternoon.
This is a great time to mow your lawn. There is a lot less stress on the grass and yourself.
Not only is this the next best time to mow your lawn, but It is also a great time to water your plants and play with your animals. Every night at 5.30 pm I head out to play with my German Shepard and when we are done, he helps me water the plants too. I think he just likes playing with the hose actually.
- Lower temperatures: The cooler air causes much less stress on the grass and that encourages healthy growth
- Dry grass: Providing it hasn’t been raining, the grass is usually dryer at this time of day
- It gives the lawn time to recover: A mow at this time allows the grass to recover before it starts retaining water again at night.
- Limited daylight: Safety issues with reduced visibility. As it starts to get dark in the evening, it can be harder to see obstacles in the lawn like toys, branches, holes, etc. This can make mowing more hazardous.
- Noise disturbances to neighbors. The sound of a lawn mower can be disruptive, especially later in the day when people may be having dinner, relaxing indoors, or trying to put kids to bed. Mowing in the evening could upset your neighbors.
- Insects: Mosquitos and other insects are more active at dusk. Mowing at that time exposes you more to bugs.
Additional Tips for Lawn Mowing
Now that you know the optimal time to mow your lawn, there are a few other things that you can do to help you get that perfect lawn and I will go through them here.
If you want a full guide on how to mow a lawn this is an article from the Royal Horticitial Society
Frequency of Mowing
When it comes to how often you should mow your lawn the most important thing is regular lawn mowing. Attacking your lawn whenever you feel like it or are at a loose end is not the answer.
Depending on grass growth, you would be looking at once a week or fortnight in the growing season and every three to four weeks in the cooler season.
Proper Mowing Techniques
Blades: First make sure that your blades are sharp as dull blades tear the grass which is unhealthy for the lawn.
Height: Don’t cut the lawn too low, remember the 1/3 rule. Never remove more than a third of the grass. If you cut too low that lawn will develop dead spots and you will encourage flatweeds.
Direction: Don’t always mow your lawn the same way. Mix it up a bit. Sometimes mow across, up and down, or in circles. This will avoid ruts forming and your grass will always have a nice finish.
Mulch the lawn if possible: If you can mulch your lawn then go ahead. All the nicest lawns that I mow are all mulch lawns. A good mulch mow double cuts the grass inside the mower deck and distributes the trimmings evenly on the lawn. This feeds the lawn and gives it a great healthy green color
When you aim to keep your lawn looking its best, timing is crucial. Mowing your lawn at the optimal time not only ensures a freshly cut appearance but also promotes healthier growth. The consensus among lawn care professionals points to late afternoon as the prime time for this activity. During this period, the heat of the day wanes, allowing cut grass sufficient time to recover before nightfall.
Here’s a quick guide to inform your mowing schedule:
- Best time to mow: Late afternoon to early evening.
- Second best time: Mid-morning, after the morning dew has evaporated.
- Worst time to mow: Early morning and during the hottest part of the day, as wet grass can clump and the intense heat can stress both you and the lawn.
Proper lawn care extends beyond just cutting the grass; it includes recognizing when not to cut. Avoid mowing when the lawn is wet as this can cause the grass to tear and clump, resulting in an uneven cut. Additionally, cutting grass too short can make your lawn more vulnerable to pests and diseases.
To maintain a thriving lawn, use a lawn mower at the correct height setting and keep blades sharp. This ensures clean cuts and reduces strain on the grass.
Schedule your lawn mowing tasks with the noted times in mind, and you’ll be equipped to cut your lawn in a way that sustains its health and visual appeal. Your lawn care practices are essential to creating that lush, inviting green space, so time your mows wisely.
Why Is Your Lawn Mower Not Cutting Evenly?
There is nothing worse than an uneven cut.
I know how frustrating this can be. When I had five vans on the road this happened to me regularly.
I came up with a simple step-by-step method of diagnosing and fixing the issue. It worked well for me and I hope you will find it helpful as well.
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