Mowing grass is one way to keep your lawn looking neat and beautiful. It also helps maintain the overall appearance of your home. However, since such a task means extra work and time, mowing the lawn may take a back seat. And before you know it, the air is getting colder, and you’re starting to feel the first frost of winter. But by then, you may notice that your lawn is looking a bit messy and unkempt.
So what should you do? Should you leave your lawn long for the winter? If not, can you cut the grass if it is cold outside? Moreover, when is it too cold to mow the lawn? Here’s a guide to help you.
Should You Leave Your Lawn Long for Winter?
No. Leaving your lawn long in winter is a disaster waiting to happen. If you live in a snowy region and you have cool-season long grass, snow won’t be able to completely reach the ground. While this may sound like a good thing, it is not.
Your long grasses become somewhat like a roof. This creates an inviting and comfortable environment underneath for vermins that are looking for a place to spend their winter. And when there are vermins like voles in your yard, expect grass roots to be eaten and destroyed.
Aside from pests, long grasses are also prone to snow mold and other lawn fungi. So if you want a healthy and rich lawn by spring, don’t leave your lawn grasses long. Also, make sure to mow your lawn before winter hits or before it gets too cold and the snow starts falling.
When Is It Too Cold to Mow the Lawn?
Generally, you should not mow if the grass is frozen as it can cause a lot of damage to your lawn. Since frozen or frosted grass blades are extremely brittle, even walking on them can crush and harm the blades. Additionally, mowing them in such a state can weaken or kill them.
In terms of temperature, it is too cold if it is consistently below 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside. When temperatures go lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, grass stops growing, or it grows so slowly that mowing isn’t necessary. Their slow growth during such levels also makes them incapable of healing themselves from any damage they sustain.
However, if you must mow your yard in winter, make sure to do it early on when the temperature isn’t dropping below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for about a week or more. If it isn’t consistently above that mark, then it is already too cold for you to be mowing your lawn.
What To Avoid When Mowing the Lawn in the Cold?
If you really have to mow your lawn during winter and you believe the temperature isn’t all that bad, then you may proceed as planned. However, do so with caution. Here are 5 things you should avoid when mowing the lawn in winter.
1. Heavy Moisture and Frigid Temperature
You should not mow if the temperature is too cold and if there is heavy moisture from ice and snow. Such conditions are not ideal to be doing any trimming.
2. Wet Grass and Soil
Before mowing, make sure your lawn is dry. Trying to run your lawnmower over wet grass and muddy soil will only result in unevenly cut grass and cause damage to the roots. Moreover, lawnmower blades are known to make holes in wet lawns, which can immediately kill grown and even sprouting grass.
Wet soil is another problem that you should avoid. Walking on wet soil can cause compaction and damage to the structure of your soil.
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3. Cutting the Grass Too Short
If the weather and temperature permit, you can proceed with the task. Just make sure to cut only 1/3 of the grass’s length. When grass is cut too short, it causes them stress and weakens their root system. This results in a weedy and thin lawn. Moreover, the remaining blade length will provide additional protection from the coming snow and cold.
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When is the Best Time to Mow Your Lawn?
Since weather patterns are different annually for every region, it is impossible to provide you with the perfect time to mow your lawn before the year ends. However, a good rule of thumb for those in the northern and midwestern parts is to do your year-end mowing in late October. It will be best to leave your lawn alone from November to March.
For regions that experience shorter winters and lighter snowfall, you can mow your lawn around 2 to 3 weeks before the average first frost of the year. During this time, the temperature is cool enough that the grass won’t be too long before the cold season sets in.