When can I start mowing my lawn again?

As the winter begins to recede we ask ourselves 'When can I start cutting my lawn again?'. Here, the experts answer

mow a lawn
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You won't be alone in wondering when you can start cutting your lawn again – winter is gradually beginning to recede and the first signs of those spring bulbs you planted in fall are starting to appear in borders and containers.

Cutting a lawn again after winter does, to a degree depend on the climate in your zone, but also on how the weather is locally. However, if you are itching to get your lawn mower out of the garage, and those backyard ideas looking good for spring, you may well be wondering if you can start cutting your lawn again this weekend. 

We've asked the experts to advise.

When can I start cutting my lawn again?

So, why can you start cutting your lawn again in spring? Most – though not all – experts agree that March, possibly late February, is the best time to start cutting a lawn again.

The experts at Johnsons Lawn Seed (opens in new tab) advise gardeners to ensure all chances of frost has passed before cutting the lawn again, and to ensure that it isn’t too wet: 'If grass is still frozen or you have a random overnight frost, keep well away from it, as you will easily break off tender green shoots,' they say, adding, 'grass will be growing again as soon as the temperature rises above 42ºF/6ºC.'

David Truby, MD of Greensleeves (opens in new tab), a lawn care franchise, disagrees: 'It’s actually a common misconception that there’s a specific time of year to mow your lawn. Grass growth slows and becomes increasingly dormant during winter, but its growth certainly doesn’t stop completely, and neither should mowing your lawn. The trick is to continue mowing your lawn as needed, never allowing it to become too long as this can significantly reduce the quality and potentially increase the severity of a moss invasion.'

Our advice? Take a middle path: if your grass looks like it needs cutting again, the conditions are right, and the long-term weather forecast is favorable, it is okay to begin cutting a lawn again – doing so should make a lawn green and thick.

How much should I cut my lawn after winter?

'You should ensure your mower is on the highest cutting height and take care not to cut more than a third of the grass blades in one session, or they will risk harming it,' say the experts at Johnsons Lawn Seed.

How do I prepare my lawn for cutting again in spring?

'When cutting your lawn for the first time in spring, it’s likely to look a bit unloved and overgrown, so be sure to clear the area of any leaves, sticks and other debris that may interfere with mowing or could damage the mower blade,' advises Paul Hicks at STIHL (opens in new tab).

'Debris on the top of your lawn can weaken or smother grass, making it vulnerable to fungal infections and unsightly yellowing,' continue the experts at Johnsons. 'If your lawn is tired, old and generally thatch-looking, scarify the surface with a spring-tooth rake to get rid of decaying or dead organic matter. You should first rake over in one direction and then at right-angles to the first set of cuts. If your grass is looking a bit threadbare, as so often happens during the ravages of winter, prepare to sow bald patches by removing weeds and forking them over lightly to break up the soil. And remember that although your lawn might look dormant, beneath the surface it is raring to go!'

Should I mow my lawn in winter?

'Your lawn should be mowed as regularly as possible, at least once per week during the main growing seasons of April to June and September to October since mowing is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a beautiful looking lawn,' advises lawn care expert David Truby. 

'Do not be frightened to mow your grass in the winter as long as the ground is not waterlogged or frozen,' continues David. 'Cutting your lawn regularly at the correct height will encourage healthier growth from the roots to tip.'

Lucy Searle
Global Editor in Chief

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.