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Do My Own Lawn Care - Know When to Mow

By DoMyOwn staff

When should you start mowing your lawn? Paul discusses when to start mowing your lawn and best tips to do so.

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Video Transcript

Thank goodness this isn't snow on the ground. It's from the bradford pears.

I almost did it... I almost busted out the mower to scalp down my Bermuda here in the front because the weather was starting to look nice, temperatures were starting to climb, and it looked like spring had finally arrived.

But before doing that, I checked in with some of our Customer Service staff members and they advised again it... and it's because, temperatures are going to drop and we have freeze warnings on the way. So... Once again, we find ourselves waiting to bust out the Lawn game to start crushing the competition. Otherwise known as our neighbors.

So it did get the gears and the wheels turning and it got me thinking about this question: when is the right time to start mowing your grass?

Now before we get into this conversation you have to understand that it all depends on the weather. Like I said in a few videos, we've had some unseasonably warm weather... especially at the end of February, so things started to germinate, they thought spring was here, and the grass started to pop up, weeds were growing like crazy... yeah. It kinda freaked everything out.

Myself included I thought spring had finally arrived... but it hasn't. Cold weather is still around the corner. We even have freeze warnings coming in the next few days.

But the simplest answer to the question of when you can start mowing your lawn is mow when the grass is growing.

For the first few times that you get out in the yard and start cutting it, we recommend that you cut it slightly lower than standard mowing guidelines.

Now for dormant grasses when you go to cut it, you want to make sure you're bagging up those clippings and you're getting rid of them. Especially if you suspect that you might have disease on your hands.

Regular mowing is most certainly key to a healthy lawn but avoid setting a hard set mowing schedule.

How often you cut should not be determined by a date but rather how the grass is growing. What's the growth like? That's what you want to pay attention to when you're going to cut your yard. And again, that's gonna be affected by the season, the weather patterns, and what grass type you have.

General rule of thumb here is you want to follow the one third rule. Meaning you don't want to remove no more than one third of the grass blade.

If you cut more than that, you're going to reduce the amount of carbohydrates stored in the plant blade that help it to grow.

If you cut and remove too much of the grass blades, you're gonna open up yourself to disease problems, pest problems, and most certaintly weed problems.

So let's say it's recommended to keep you grass type at 2 inches. I would set my mower to that height and wait for my grass to get to 3 inches and then I would cut it down to that 2 inch mark.

This is especially important in the Summer months when the grass and the turf is stressed by the summer heat.

So when you got all that lovely summer heat on your hands, I would opt for the higher mowing height and I would not cut your grass when it's wet, otherwise you'll get that clumping problem on your hands and... ain't nobody got time for that.

So... what about newly seeded or overseeded grass? When should you cut that?

It's recommended that you do not cut that grass until the seeds have sprouted and it's one and a half times it's recommended height.

But when you do go to cut those newly overseeded areas, I would set my mower to it's highest setting and cut it at that.

You just really want to make sure that those seeds have really gotten into the soil, they've germinated, and they've got a strong root system before you start cutting it and tugging at it and risk damaging it. Okay so.. for Bermuda grass like I have here in the front, you want to scalp it down all the way to the dirt in early Spring to promote green up.

After that, you can start regularly mowing it because it'll be actively growing. But, since we still have the risk of freezing weather and frost around the corner, I'm gonna hold off from scalping it down. I did leave it tall for the Winter so I'm just gonna do a small cut now to remove some of the height and lessen some of the work that I'm gonna have to do in the future when I finally do go to scalp it down. It'll lessen the amount of dead clippings I'll have to get rid of. I'll drop my mower to take just a little off the top so I don't risk damage to my grass from that upcoming freeze. After the chance of freeze has passed, that's when I'll scalp it down to the dirt. And we'll dive into that topic, when we get to that point. 

Well... that was pretty... depressing. Like I said before, I am gonna scalp this yard down right before I go to aerate it and put my last application of pre and post emergents down in the yard.

But I wanted to take a little bit off the top now so that I reduce the amount of clippings I'm going to have to get rid of later on.. so doing this depressing cut right here saves me work in the future. So now... what about cool season grasses like what I've got here in the back... or rather, what I'm trying to have here in the back. It's mostly still weeds, but! there's some fescue so let's take a moment to appreciate that.

Yeah, I know.. it's mostly weeds, but there is some grass in there so I'm still pretty hopeful that eventually I'm gonna have a yard back here.

So now let's talk about when we should think about cutting cool season grasses like Kentucky blue grass and turf type tall fescues. For all my lawn care brothers and sisters from another misters up North that have cool season grasses in their lawns, your window for cutting is between April and November. Once you're in the growing season, you're gonna wanna at least cut your yard once a week.

Mowing might be more frequent when you're Spring and Fall when your growth is really active. And once again, you want to make sure that you're mowing just frequently enough that you're removing no more than one third of the total grass blade.

Now when we're in the heat of the summer, all you folks with cool season lawns, your mowing might be less frequent. Now when warm weather finally does come around, and it will I promise... just hang in there. You want to avoid additional stress on your cool season lawn by mowing it in hot weather late in the day. Also a good other maintenance practice here is change your direction everytime you mow so that you don't create a habit of the grass laying down in a particular direction.

Now when it comes to mowing height of your cool season grass, it's recommended that you mow at about two and a half to three and a half inches above the soil line. For turf type tall fescue, like what I'm trying to grow back because of the jungle and all the shade that's throwing back here... it's recommended that you keep it at a height of about three and a half inches.

And there are benefits for keeping a taller cut on your cool season grasses... so let's touch on those real quick. It's gonna shade the soil and reduce weed problems, they prefer the cooler soil temperatures created by the shaded soil, a taller cut really encourages a deeper root system, a deeper root system encourages water uptake during dry periods, taller cut cool season grasses are less suceptible to disease and drought, and heavily shaded areas like this back here experience less stress with a taller cut.

Like I said at the beginning of this video, the simplest answer to knowing when to mow your grass is when the grass is actually growing... And back here, yeah... it's definitely growing. So once again, cue the montage of music!

And... that was slightly better than cutting the front yard because there's actually grass back here. Yeah it is still mostly weeds back here but hey, I enjoy a good challenge.

One day, the weeds will be gone... and we'll have a beautiful lawn. Hands down the most important thing that you can do for your lawns right now before Spring gets here is get those Pre-Emergents down in your yard.

We've already made a video on this. I'll leave that link in the description box below as well as a link over to our website where you can go and see all the different Pre-Emergents that we offer and you can pick out the one that will best fit your needs.

So there you go, I hope this video helps you out. If nothing else, I hope it just has you itching for Spring. I know I'm just so ready for it to be here.

Also just wanna give a huge thank you for everybody that's been leaving comments in our videos, giving us ideas, and things that we should cover in the lawn series for all of you.

So thank you, we will try our best to incorporate that into the series. Any other further questions about anything discussed in this video... leave them in the comments section below, email our Customer Service staff, or pick up the phone and give us a call.

And if you're not already, click that button right there to subscribe to our channel, you can click this playlist to see all of the videos in the Do My Own Lawn Care Series, and you can click this playlist right here to see all the videos in the Do My Own Gardening Series.

And... as always, thanks for watching!