Just when should you mow your lawn? When it reaches the skies and looks more like a field of wheat than a yard? Or maybe when that carefully planned cross-hatch pattern has disappeared. Some might say that the best time to mow your lawn is when you’re home to do it, but in reality that might not be “the best time.” If you work the classic nine-to-five, plus commute, that might put lawn mowing in conflict with both your neighbors and the health of your lawn. Consider this: Your lawn and your neighbors, are living organisms, and react differently to different stimuli. Mow your lawn at 5 am, and you won’t only be doing harm to your lawn, but also to your relationship with your community. So here the best and worst times of day to mow your lawn so you can plan accordingly:
So how early can you cut grass? You could mow your lawn before you leave for work, but neither your lawn nor your neighbors will thank you. The grass is probably still wet with dew, which means the mower will likely rip the grass, bruise it and it will subsequently take longer to heal. Your mower deck will clog faster, leave tracks, make clumps and cause the grass to mat. All of these issues leave your lawn ripe for mold and fungus growth. If you are using a riding mower the wet grass can become quite slippery and make for a difficult time climbing hills or slowing down. Wet grass has a habit of clumping on rubber mower tires turning them into slicks. Similarly with a push mower, wet grass can be slippery and make for a hazardous situation is you lose your footing. This is one of the few times when jumping out of bed and getting to work is not the best idea.
Mid-Morning (8–10 AM)
You’ve had your coffee and a bit of breakfast, now to start the day’s project list. This is the best time to mow your lawn, just after the dew or daily watering has dried off, but before it really gets hot. The grass is dry and standing tall, perfect for an even trim. Make sure your lawn mower blade is sharp, to avoid ragged edges, which will make your lawn slow to rejuvenate. Plus, your neighbors have probably already gone to work or at the very least are awake and starting their day.
Mid-Day (10 AM–2 PM)
In the heat of the day is when you and your lawn are going to be most stressed. Cutting the lawn at this time, when it’s busy photosynthesizing and guarding its water supply, could kill your lawn. Even if your neighbors aren’t bothered by it, this is by far the worst time to cut your grass. Plus you most likely don’t want to be out there at that time of day, anyway. If you really need to feel productive during this time spend it cleaning the mower deck or sharpening the mower blade in anticipation of the next mow. But for now focus on mowing down some lunch rather than your grass.
Mid-Afternoon (2–4 PM)
While mid-afternoon temperatures may have dropped somewhat, cutting can still strain your lawn. However, it’s slightly better than mowing your lawn early morning or early evening. Kids may be out playing after school though, so be mindful of little ones and stay aware of the mower deck discharge chute direction.
Late Afternoon (4–6 PM)
If you can’t make it mid-morning, then late afternoon is the second-best time to mow your lawn. Once the temperatures of mid-day have dropped a little, mowing takes less of a toll on your grass. Cutting at this time will still give it a few hours to recover before sunset. Also, your neighbors could still be on the way home from work, so you may avoid bothering them. Plan ahead a little the day before and have your power prepped and ready to go if you are one of those same neighbors trying to squeeze in a mow after work but before dinner.
Early Evening (6–8 PM)
If you mow your lawn around this time, it won’t have time to heal before nightfall, when mold and fungus spores tend to take root. You’ll probably be butting into your neighbors’ dinner conversation, as well. If you need a flashlight to see the yard, it is probably too late to mow. Plus you can’t see any obstacles that may damage your mower or the mower blade. And while your lawn tractor may have headlights, they are nowhere near bright enough to see lurking objects that could put a serious nick in your freshly sharpened mower blade. Think about it: do you really want to be operating a machine with a high-speed whirling blade in the dark? Best to wait until tomorrow.
Don’t forget, after you’ve mowed your lawn, give it a little care afterwards. Allow it time to bounce back, try to keep traffic to a minimum in the first 24 hours after cutting. If there are large clumps of cut grass left, take a minute to rake them up and dispose of them properly so your grass gets the sun it needs. Also, give it a little extra water a few days after mowing. Taking care of your lawn is being courteous to your neighbors. Everyone loves to see well-tended grass, they just don’t want to hear you doing it at the crack of dawn. So mowing at the right time actually will keep your lawn and your neighbors happy.
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Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Ben has been taking things apart since he was 5, and putting them back together again since he was 8. After dabbling in DIY repairs at home and on the farm, he found his calling in the CGCC Automobile Repair program. After he held his ASE CMAT for 10 years, Ben decided he needed a change. Now, he writes on automotive topics across the web and around the world, including new automotive technology, transportation legislation, emissions, fuel economy and auto repair.