This laid-back approach to lawn care may have gotten gardeners through countless winters so far, but knowing when to stop mowing your lawn really does help keep a garden in check. Although many may assume they can skip their lawns completely in the fall, lawns actually deserve extra attention this time of year to ensure lush, green grass when the weather warms up again. When it comes to gardens, many are not as aware of the ways of nature as others. For those in the less green camp, Express.co.uk has compiled expert gardening and lawn care advice to help you decide when to stop mowing your lawn based on your climate, as well as the advice on how to improve the quality of your lawn.
Before discussing the question of when to stop mowing the lawn, gardeners should understand why this is important. Most know that grass growth slows down in the winter, so naturally it doesn’t need to be cut as often. However, even if your grass looks like it has grown, you should still avoid cutting it because you could harm its health.
Jon Callahan, founder and CEO of the blog, OwtDores explains: “It is important to avoid mowing in wet weather, as this can damage the lawn and cause erosion.
“When the weather starts to get colder, your lawn mower blades become less efficient and don’t cut as well.”
Additionally, regular mowing in cool, wet weather can cause lawns to become waterlogged. Not only does this risk turning your garden into a mud bath, but it can also damage the soil under your lawn.
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Jon warned: “Too much continuous moisture in the ground caused by regular mowing locks in and causes dampness which can lead to pests, disease and even lawn heaving.
The deciding factor when it comes to putting the lawn mower away for another year really comes down to one thing: the temperature. For this reason, it is difficult to give a specific time of year to stop mowing the lawn as it depends on the climate in your area as well as the weather conditions.
In general, mid to late fall is the best time to stop mowing the grass. Check the temperature around mid-October and use that as a guide.
Jon explained: “If you cut your grass regularly, it’s usually the best time to stop in late November, when the temperature is between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 18 degrees), to avoid damaging the lawn. This is when the ground has had a chance to thaw and bind the ground properly.
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When it comes to winter lawn care, it’s essential that gardeners stop cutting the grass before regular ground frosts. If a frost occurs within a few days of cutting the grass, it can cause long-term damage to the health of your lawn.
You won’t need to mow your lawn after temperatures drop this low anyway, as growth will have slowed considerably. Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of lawn love explained, “Once temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, most grass species naturally go dormant and therefore no longer need to be mowed.”
Gardeners may think fall means a low-maintenance garden, but it’s actually a pivotal time of year when it comes to tending to your lawn. The expert said: ‘Although this is ideally the last time you should mow, it is not the last time you should do lawn work.
“Be sure to pick up those leaves, pine needles, and other debris, because rotting organic matter won’t actually be good for your lawn to survive its dormant period.”
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Gardeners should scarify their lawns by removing moss and other debris, and aerate by doping the turf using a rolling lawn aerator or garden pitchfork at this time of year as well. This will promote spring growth, improve drainage and reduce compaction.
Gardeners should also consider using fertilizers and moss killers to keep your grass healthy. Jon advised, “Use water-soluble fertilizers that work well in cool weather (like fish emulsion) rather than general fertilizers that may not be effective if it’s too cold outside.”
When it’s time for the final mowing, gardeners may wonder whether to set their mower’s cutting height to a high or low setting.
This will depend on your landscaping and how much shade the lawn has. If the garden is very shady during the winter, setting the mower setting a half inch higher than usual will allow the grass to photosynthesize better when it is in the sun.
Jon thinks it’s a good idea to mow the lawn in most cases. He said: “Mowing your lawn short before winter can reduce its water needs and help preserve soil moisture during the cold weather months.”
It may have been a while now, but knowing when to start mowing again is also very important. As a general rule, gardeners should wait until there are no more signs of frost.
Jon said: “Early spring is usually the perfect time to start mowing your lawn again. The bad weather has calmed down and there will be no more frost, creating the conditions necessary to start care again.
Start mowing the lawn in the spring with the blades at the highest setting and never mow if the lawn is wet. It’s always safer to cut the grass too late than too soon, so don’t be in a rush.