Best Time to Mow Your Lawn

Mowing lawns for some may be drudgery, but it is a labor of love for those that wish to maintain a healthy and well manicured lawn. Regular mowing insures healthy turf and mowing at the appropriate intervals will not only insure a beautiful lawn, but will provide sustenance for the root systems.

Most grasses should be maintained at a height of about 2 inches during the spring and fall and at 2½ -3 ½ inches during the hot summer months. The reason for the higher height during the summer insures that shade is provided for the underlying growth and higher growth enhances the retention of moisture in the soil, thereby reducing requirements for watering. Higher blades of grass also serve as a natural barrier to weed growth. The higher the grass is allowed to grow in the summer (without reaching excessive heights) the better it is.

The most critical rule for determining the best time to mow is to insure that no more than 1/3 of the grass blades are cut at any one time. Cutting more than this length will damage the grass. First, it will deposit more thatch in the form of cuttings on your lawn than is healthy and second, the root system and small shoots of growth will be quickly exposed to the harsh summer sun which causes stress on the plants.

The 1/3 rule means that grass will likely require more frequent mowing in the spring and fall when the grass has just been fertilized and is growing rapidly and less often during the hot summer months when growth is slower.

The best time of the day to mow is late in the day or during the evening. The fact is that mowing damages the plant and it will take a day or two for the grass to fully recover. Mowing in the evening provides about 12 hours of respite for the grass from the sun. Mowing in the morning means that the stressed grass will be subjected to the sun much quicker and if there is morning dew on the lawn the grass will be cheated from the rejuvenating effects of the moisture because mowing will hasten evaporation.

In short, the best time to mow the grass is when it needs it – keeping in mind the 1/3 rule and one should mow in the evenings to reduce stress on the grass.


  1. I have tiff green bermuda and need to know the proper mowing procedure for cold So. Calif winter months I am considering asking my gardner to mow only every other week during the winter since the grass does not appear to be growing

  2. My Bermuda has receded around the edges of our lawn. When ,or what Should I do. Should I re-seed or just wait and see what happens. I even have a lawn service who keeps telling me my lawn is fine. It’s literally died in patches and with the amount of rain we have had I would think it has recovered from the drought. Help

  3. Anita Escobar says:

    I have St. Augustine grass and I’ve allways mow in the morning. so your say i should mow about what time would be best. I live in Grand Prairie ,Texas please help because I’ve have alway for the last 3 year I’ve had the best lawn in my block and have gotten so many complements.

  4. Anita Escobar says:

    So brent you think i should be ok to mow in the morning and it won’t hurt my St. Austine grass

  5. Anita Escobar says:

    So Brent you think i should be ok to mow in the morning and it won’t hurt my St. Austine grass and what about 12:00 pm is it to late or should i wait until 5:00 pm will it be better

  6. Is there such a thing of mowing to often. I keep my st aug at 3 1/4 “. Would it hurt if I mowed it every other day or every two days? My lawn is very thick and green. I keep a very sharp blade.

  7. Diana Monroe says:

    I have a rental house in Liberty NY because I am not there on an on going basis I need to know approx what month I should start having the lawn mowed & the last month that I should stop. also approx the minimum times month. Of course keeping in mind this is a rental property.

  8. My neighbor has a beautiful lawn. Anything yard related he seems to obsess over and it appears he knows his stuff. He is on sort of a schedule when it comes to mowing, but when it rains, he will always be out the following day. Not while everything is soggy, it is usually after things have dried up a bit but the ground is still sort of soft. I was wondering if there was something to that? There must be if he breaks from his usual schedule.

    • If you know its going to rain, I would recommend cutting the yard a day early.

      If it does rain, then you just need to ensure that the grass is completely dry before mowing (the ground can be soft). Usually by the afternoon its ready to mow.

  9. As a rule I will not mow until any dew is still on the grass. To check walk around the lawn and then check your shoes. If they show moisture, wait. I like to start normally around 1 P.M.

  10. I took my cue from a next-door neighbor who cut grass professionally in the upper class neighborhoods of western Richmond and Henrico County, Virginia for 30+ years. He always cut his own grass right before sunset, and he always had a beautiful green lawn.

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  12. Jaymee Lepley says:

    It is best to mow 4-4.5″ high, which mows over the new dandelions and white clover–the flowers that feed the honeybees (and why the honeybees are starving–over mowing and mowing to low.) New lawn mowers go this high, but the old ones only go as high as 3.5″, which means you need to alternate mowing front and back, once a week, etc. What most people don’t realize is that lawns look the best when they are leveled, not their height; and shaved alwns need mowed just as often as higher lawns–they all grow out (uneveanly) at the same time, and all need ‘leveled.

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