How Often Should Your Lawn Be Mowed During Growing Season?

A Comprehensive Guide To When And How Often Your Grass Should Be Cut For Optimal Healthy Lawn Growth

The following are the guidelines that the Find A Local Gardener experts will stick to when maintaining our clients lawns. Maintaining a lush, green lawn requires more than just watering and fertilizing; regular mowing is essential to keep your grass healthy and attractive. But how often should a lawn be mowed? The answer depends on several factors including the type of grass, the season, and personal preferences for lawn care.

Here, we’ll explore the best practices for mowing frequency to ensure your lawn is looking great and growing healthily, all year round.

Understanding Grass Growth

Before determining how often to mow, it’s important to understand the growth patterns of grass. Different types of grass have different growth rates and optimal mowing heights. Generally, grasses are divided into two categories: Cool-season and Warm-season grasses.

Cool-season grasses: UK lawns are usually made up of fescue, bentgrass and ryegrass. These grasses grow best in cooler temperatures (15-23°C). They tend to have a growth spurt in the spring and autumn.

Warm-Season Grasses: These types of grass are more unusual in the UK and are not original native grass types due to our cooler overall annual temperatures. Examples of warm-season grass types include Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia. These grasses thrive in warmer temperatures (26-35°C) and grow most vigorously during the summer months, especially when we have a heatwave.

The One-Third Rule

A fundamental principle in lawn care is the one-third rule: never remove more than one-third of the grass blade’s length at a time. This rule helps prevent stress on the grass, which can lead to weakened plants and increased susceptibility to disease and pests. Sticking to this principle avoids dead, brown grass patches on a lawn, especially during the summer when it rains less frequently (or at least it should!). For instance, if the optimal grass height is 3 inches, it should be mowed when it reaches about 4.5 inches. Following this guideline ensures a lawn remains healthy and robust.

Seasonal Mowing Guide

Spring: This is a peak growth period for many grasses. Mowing will be required once a week or even more frequently for cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses will start to wake up and require more regular mowing as temperatures rise.

Summer: During hot, dry periods, grass growth may slow down. For cool-season grasses, mowing every 1-2 weeks may be sufficient. Warm-season grasses will continue to grow vigorously and might need weekly mowing.

Autumn: Cool-season grasses enter another growth spurt and will require more frequent mowing, potentially weekly. Warm-season grasses will begin to slow down and may only need mowing every 1-2 weeks as temperatures fall.

Winter: Mowing needs significantly decrease. Cool-season grasses will still need occasional mowing if the weather is mild, while warm-season grasses usually go dormant and require little to no mowing.

Additional Factors to Consider

Grass Type: As mentioned above, different grass species grow at different rates. Knowing the grass type helps a gardener to tailor the mowing schedule accordingly.

Weather Conditions: Rain, drought and temperature fluctuations impact grass growth. Adjust the mowing frequency based on current weather patterns.

Fertilization and Watering: Lawns that are well-fertilized and properly watered will grow faster and may need more frequent mowing, but will be healthier and look fantastic all year round.

Desired Lawn Aesthetic: Some homeowners prefer a very short, manicured look which requires more frequent mowing, while others may prefer a slightly taller, more natural appearance.

Tips for Optimal Mowing

Sharp Blades: Always use sharp mower blades to ensure a clean cut, which helps prevent disease and promotes healthy growth.

Mowing Pattern: Varying the mowing pattern each time a lawn is mowed will help to avoid soil compaction and ensure even grass growth.

Grass Clippings: Leaving some grass clippings on the lawn to decompose and provide natural nutrients is a beneficial practice known as grasscycling.

Conclusion

Mowing frequency is a critical aspect of lawn care that varies based on grass type, season and environmental conditions. By following the one-third rule, adjusting the mowing schedule according to seasonal changes, and considering additional factors like weather and lawn care practices, a gardener can maintain a healthy, vibrant lawn.

A well-maintained lawn not only enhances the beauty of your home but also provides a great looking and feeling space for relaxation and recreation.