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The Best Time to Mow Your Lawn for Optimal Health and Growth

Posted on June 23rd, 2023

Mowing your lawn requires time and effort, especially during the growing season. However, it’s an investment that can improve your home’s curb appeal. Knowing the best time to mow your lawn ensures optimal grass growth, allowing it to thrive. 

In this blog we will discuss grass growth cycles, different factors to consider, the best time of day to mow the lawn, and mowing tips to ensure the best grass growth.

Why Mowing Your Grass is Important

Regular mowing helps maintain your lawn grass’s neat and trimmed look, enhancing your property’s aesthetics. It also promotes lateral growth, making the turf more resilient. When regularly cared for grass, it enhances airflow and ensures adequate sun exposure, reducing the risk of fungal diseases and diseases. When lawn grass is healthy, it prevents weeds from growing and makes it resistant to foot traffic, drought, and heat.

The Grass Lifecycle and Your Mowing Schedule

Before you start cutting your grass, it is crucial to understand the grass growth cycle so you can schedule your mowing activities accordingly. Timing your mowing according to these cycles ensures a healthy and thriving lawn. The grass on your property goes through several growth cycles: germination, growth, maturation, and rest. Understanding this lifecycle helps you determine the best time to mow the lawn.

1. Germination

The germination stage is the initial stage when seeds start growing, and their roots begin to form. This is the first step for all new grass growing on your lawn and can take three to 14 days, depending on soil conditions and grass type. During this stage, ensuring the soil remains moist but not saturated is crucial. It is best to avoid mowing while the grass is still in this growth phase, allowing the grass to develop its root system to absorb nutrients and water from the soil effectively.

2. Growth Stage

The grass will focus on development after the first two weeks of germination. At this stage, you can observe that the grass starts to develop bright, attractive, and healthy blades. Notice that your grass will rapidly grow in height and density, which makes your lawn look vibrant. During this phase, it is crucial to allow for optimal growing conditions ensuring the grass gets sufficient sunlight, nutrients, and moisture. You can start mowing the grass once they reach their recommended height.

3. Maturation

After the rapid growth stage, you can start to determine the best time of day to mow the lawn. This phase occurs within the first three months after starting a new lawn growth. At this stage, the grass on your property will develop lateral shoots and a more robust root system. Notice that the blades will become thicker, making the grass more resilient, which is perfect for mowing. You must schedule mowing and use appropriate techniques to support the maturing process.

4. Resting Stage

Also known as the dormancy phase, the grass may begin to look brown at this stage, and its growth seems to have slowed down. Lawn grass goes through a period of dormancy when conditions aren’t favorable for development, such as during winter, drought, or extreme heat. At this stage, the grass will require less watering and fertilizing. In addition, you should reduce the mowing frequency at this phase to allow the grass to transition and survive unfavorable climates. Give your lawn grass time to recover before resuming any mowing activities.

Some homeowners water, fertilize and mow their grass without understanding this lifecycle, which doesn’t help develop an attractive green carpet. Using the best lawn care practices ensures a beautiful, healthy lawn all year long.

Cold and Warm Season Grass Types

According to Oregon State University researchers, grass life cycles also vary depending on their type, classified as summer annuals, winter annuals, and perennials. Many homeowners will grow warm season grass for their lawns, while some have the opportunity to grow cool season grasses. Each grass type has benefits and drawbacks, impacting the best time to mow the lawn.

Warm Season Grass

This grass variant typically grows during the hotter months, from June to early September. The grass that belongs in this category can remain green even in dry climates but will usually enter the dormant phase from fall to spring.


  • They are better mowed short
  • Hardy and can tolerate foot traffic
  • Works well on sloped land, providing better erosion control
  • More drought tolerant and can handle poor soil conditions


  • They turn brown once temperatures drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Grasses of this variant are more expensive than cold-season grass
  • They require more weed control
  • If the ground freezes, this grass can die out completely

Here’s a comparison of some of the most common warm-season grass for home lawns:

Bermuda Grass Centipede Grass Zoysia Grass Bahia Grass
Growing Region Southern regions Southeast Transition Zones, Southern Regions Gulf Coast, Deep South
Maintenance Needs High Very low Moderate Low
Preferred Height 1 to 1.5 inches 1.5 to 2 inches 1 to 1.5 inches 2 to 3 inches

Consider the maintenance needs of warm-season grasses and the recommended height before mowing them. Adjust your mower to the specific size for the best growth.

Cool Season Grass

As the name suggests, cool-season grass tends to thrive during the colder months of the year in fall and early spring. They’re adaptable and can thrive in regions usually cooler or with more moderate climates, like the country’s northern regions or places with higher elevations.

Grasses under this category tend to have an early green-up stage with an extended growing season. This means your lawn can stay greener and more vibrant for longer, especially during fall. Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass variants are more lush and dense than most warm-season grass.


  • They give you more grass options to grow on your lawn
  • It tends to get established and grow with less cost and effort
  • Higher survivability during extreme winter weather
  • They can stay lush throughout the year with proper lawn care and grub control


  • They generally don’t cope well during droughts
  • These grass types usually have higher nutrient demands and irrigation requirements
  • More susceptible to pests
  • They tend to mat down faster

Here’s a comparison of some of the most common cool-season grass for home lawns:

Ryegrass Fescue Kentucky Bluegrass Bentgrass
Growing Region Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Pacific Northwest Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Central U.S. Northeast, upper Midwest, and Mountain West regions Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest
Maintenance Needs Medium Low Moderate High
Preferred Height 1.5 to 2.5 inches 2.5 to 4 inches 2 to 3.5 inches 0.5 to 1.5 inches

Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass require regular mowing. Fescue, on the other hand, requires less frequent mowing and has good drought tolerance. Bentgrass, on the other hand, requires more precise mowing. But it has very thin blades, perfect for golf courses so that they can be mowed closely, almost down to a felt-like appearance. Bentgrass is expensive but will look amazing when properly cared for with good maintenance practices.

Choosing the Best Time of Day to Mow the Lawn

Lawn mowing is usually performed around March and October, depending on climate conditions in your area. The first grass cutting usually begins over spring, when homeowners can mow their lawns once weekly, keeping the grass height level and even. During summer, it is best to maintain the ideal heights mentioned earlier while giving the grass time to rest and recover due to the heat. Never mow your grass too short during fall, and avoid any mowing during winter.

Many professional gardeners recommend mowing lawns between 8 am and 10 am. The grass needs time to heal before the day ends; sunlight, watering, and other weather conditions can help facilitate this. You can also choose to mow your lawn in the early afternoon while the grass is still dry, which helps to achieve an even cut. In addition, remember not to mow your grass during the hotter times of the day.

General Mowing Tips

Here are some more mowing tips that will help you care for your lawn:

  • Wait until your grass grows an inch above its recommended height before mowing.
  • Never cut off more than a third of the total height of the grass to prevent stressing the greens.
  • Never cut the grass too low, exposing the ground.
  • Give your grass at least 24 hours to recover after mowing.
  • Water the grass more than you usually give them for two days after mowing.

Work with Lawn Care Experts from Turf Unlimited

Turf Unlimited has worked with hundreds of homeowners, keeping their lawns mowed and professionally cared for since 1996. Our specialists can help you with your mowing schedule and ensure proper lawn care. Contact us today to achieve that picture-perfect carpet of green for your lawn.

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