Mowing the lawn is a chore most homeowners like to do early in the day, especially during the hottest summer months.
But is mowing your lawn early in the morning a bad idea?
Whether mowing the lawn fills you with dread or is a peaceful activity for you, there are several factors to consider when it comes to the time of day you complete the task.
Mowing the lawn too early poses a couple of problems.
The earliest you should mow your lawn is between 8 AM and 10 AM after the morning dew has evaporated and your lawn is dry. Due to how loud most lawnmowers are also take into account your local noise ordinances and nearby neighbors.
It is essential to plan your lawn mowing activities during the right time of day, not only in consideration of your neighbors but also for the health of your grass.
Keep reading for tips on the best time of day to mow your lawn, how to find your local city noise ordinance, when to start mowing again after the winter season, and mistakes to avoid for a smoother mowing experience.
Is Mowing The Lawn Early Bad For The Health Of Your Grass?
During the early morning hours, dew will accumulate on trees and grass.
If you mow the lawn before the dew can evaporate from the warmth of the sun, you will be mowing wet grass.
Mowing a wet lawn is not only harmful to the health of your grass, but it creates unsafe conditions for you and causes several issues with your lawnmower.
If you attempt to mow wet grass, your lawnmower blades will tear the grass instead of producing a clean cut.
These small tears make the grass blades more vulnerable to fungus and disease and make your lawn appear uneven.
The morning dew will also make the grass slippery, which increases your chance of injury, especially if you have yards with steep inclines or several small hills.
Check out our tips for cutting grass on steep inclines for help.
Wet grass will dull your lawnmower blades and cause them to become clogged.
The damp grass clippings may clump up on your lawn and smother the grass underneath.
These wet grass clumps become matted and will stunt the growth of your lawn, in addition to causing brown spots.
And if you want some tips, check out this post on easy ways to pick up grass clippings.
What Is The Best Time Of Day To Mow The Lawn?
Mowing your lawn at certain times of the day may have detrimental effects on the health of your grass.
We have already discussed why mowing the lawn early in the morning is a bad idea, but what about mowing during other times of the day?
Mowing the Lawn During Mid-Morning
The optimal time to mow the lawn is between the hours of 8 am-10 am after the morning dew has evaporated and the grass is dry.
Mowing any earlier than this not only means you will be cutting damp grass, but you may also be violating your city’s local noise ordinances.
Noise ordinances state a specific time when construction and other loud noises are not allowed within the city limits.
These ordinances vary according to location, so be sure to research your local laws.
In addition to possibly violating noise ordinances, your neighbors will not appreciate the sounds of your lawnmower disrupting an otherwise peaceful morning.
Mowing your lawn during mid-morning is a reasonable timeframe for most neighborhoods, and it is better for the health of your grass.
Mowing the Lawn at Midday
Never mow your lawn in the middle or late afternoon.
This is the worst time to mow because your grass is significantly deprived of moisture and is prone to becoming dried out and brown if it is cut.
Do not water your lawn in this case, either.
The water droplets on the blades of grass will magnify the sun’s rays and cause burns.
It is also very dangerous for you to mow the lawn during the hottest mid-afternoon temperatures due to the possibility of heatstroke.
If you feel overheated at any time while mowing your grass, immediately stop.
Go to a cooler area and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Heatstroke is a hazardous situation, and severe instances will cause hospitalization and even death.
Wear light-colored, loose clothing, stay hydrated, and take plenty of breaks if you have to be outdoors in high temperatures.
Mowing the Lawn in the Evening
As mowing your lawn early in the morning is bad for the health of your grass, you also do not want to mow too late in the day.
Grass needs sunlight during the day to recover from being cut.
This recovery period ensures the grass grows strong and healthy.
Cutting the lawn after the sun has gone down deprives the grass of vital nutrients.
Without these nutrients, the grass will become discolored, and your yard may have a patchy look.
It is more difficult to see after dark and harder to cut your grass evenly as a result.
Mold and fungus spores also take root at night.
If your grass does not have time to heal properly, it will be more prone to being infected with these spores.
If you must mow your lawn in the evening, aim to do it between 4 pm-6 pm.
This will give your grass some time to recover before the sun goes down.
Mowing your lawn any later than this may also disturb your neighbors.
How To Find Your City’s Noise Ordinance
Most cities post their local ordinances on their website.
If you are unable to find this information online, visit your local city or town hall and ask in person.
Most city noise ordinances ban loud noises before 7 am and after 10 pm and impose fines on violators.
These noise ordinances usually apply to disturbances from unreasonably loud music, construction work, lawn care, and garbage collection.
The laws state the maximum amplified noise levels allowed in an area, depending on how it is zoned.
The maximum noise limits are generally lower for residential areas than they are in commercially zoned locations.
Do your research to learn the terms of the noise ordinances in your local area.
However, just because a noise ordinance allows you to start mowing your lawn at 7 am, this does not mean it is ok to start mowing at the crack of dawn.
The same applies if your city or town does not have a noise ordinance in place at all.
Early-morning mowing not only has the potential to harm your grass, your lawn care equipment, and yourself, but it is not a very neighborly thing to do.
Be respectful of your neighbors, and wait until at least 8 am to mow your lawn on weekdays and 9 am on weekends.
Your neighbors will appreciate your consideration, and they will be more understanding about any issues which may arise in the future.
When To Start Mowing the Lawn Again After the Winter Season
In addition to choosing the right time of day to mow your lawn, it is also important to understand when to start mowing again after a dormant winter season.
If you start cutting your grass too early, you will have many issues during the growing season. Mowing dormant grass is a surefire way to end up with bare patches of lawn in the spring.
Wait to start mowing your grass until the temperatures outside are consistently above 40° degrees Fahrenheit (4° C) and there is no longer a chance of frost.
In most areas, the second week of April is a good time to mow, but be aware of any chances of a late frost.
Cutting grass before it has a chance to completely thaw will damage the blades because they will be more fragile.
Never cut more than one-third of the length of your grass at once.
If rain has delayed you from mowing the lawn and your grass is tall, mow more frequently and gradually lower the blade on your mower until your lawn is the preferred height.
Preparing To Mow Your Lawn
While you are waiting on the proper temperature to begin mowing your lawn again, it is a good idea to ensure your lawn equipment and your yard are ready.
Do any necessary maintenance on your lawnmower to ensure it starts and have the blades sharpened.
Check for wildlife nests and ensure your mowing path is free from objects such as fallen branches, rocks, or lawn decorations.
Rocks and sticks not only pose a hazard if the lawnmower sends them flying through the air, but they will quickly dull your mower blades as well.
Leave animal habitats undisturbed whenever possible, and consider mowing around them.
Wear protective gear such as closed-toe shoes and safety glasses to avoid any chance of injury.
If you are susceptible to seasonal allergies, consider wearing a paper mask to help block out pollen and other allergens.
When To Stop Mowing The Lawn Before Winter
There is no set time to stop mowing your lawn, and you will need to continue doing so as long as your grass is growing.
Once temperatures are steadily lower than 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C) in the fall season and the weather becomes dry, your grass will stop growing.
Be careful not to cut your grass too short during this time because it may not have the chance to grow back before colder temperatures arrive.
Longer grass has a better chance of surviving harsh winter conditions like snow and frost.
This is due to the long roots, which can absorb more nutrients, and the longer blades of grass, which help the plant absorb sunlight more efficiently.
A thin layer of grass clippings will help to insulate your lawn from cold temperatures.
The grass clippings will also act as a mulch by adding nutrients to the soil as they decompose.
We’ve talked about when to start and stop mowing your lawn each year but what about how often you should mow during the cutting season?
Check out our post on how often to mow your lawn for some great tips on this.
Common Mowing Mistakes To Avoid When Mowing Your Lawn
There are several mistakes to avoid when mowing your lawn if you want your grass to be lush and healthy.
Mowing WIth a Dull Blade
The most common mistake homeowners make mowing their lawn with a dull mower blade.
A dull blade will tear the grass, causing an uneven cut and opening it to mold and fungus spores.
Have your blade sharpened at least every two months, and avoid mowing over rocks, branches, or wet grass, all of which will dull your mower blades quickly.
Watering Your Grass Immediately After Cutting It
While there is nothing inherently wrong with watering your lawn after mowing, it may not be the best time of day for the grass to receive moisture.
The ideal time to water your grass is during the early morning hours.
This ensures the water can soak down to the roots of the grass before it evaporates.
Watering your lawn in the afternoon will not only cause the water to evaporate faster, but the sun shining through the water droplets may cause burns on the blades of grass.
If you water your lawn too late in the evening, the grass may develop a fungus because it will not be able to dry out overnight.
Cutting the Grass Too Short
It is also essential to follow the one-third rule and avoid cutting your grass too short.
Shorter grass blades do not have deep roots and will not store enough water to maintain healthy growth.
The shallow roots may cause the grass to dry out, leaving bare spots and yellow patches in your yard.
Keeping your grass too short during the hottest summer temperatures will cause your lawn to become dry very quickly.
Cutting your grass too short at the end of the growing season does not give your lawn any protection against harsh winter weather, either.
Aim to let your grass grow 1/2″-1″ inches longer than usual during the hottest months and before cold temperatures arrive to keep your lawn lush and healthy.