Can You Mow Your Lawn at 40 Degrees?

The sun is blazing, the temperature is soaring, and your lawn is looking like a jungle. You’re itching to get the mower out and tame that unruly growth, but a nagging question pops into your mind: is it safe to mow your lawn when it’s 40 degrees? This article will explore the factors to consider before firing up your mower on a scorching day, including the impact on your lawn, your mower, and your own well-being. We’ll delve into the science behind lawn care in extreme heat and equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision.

In short, while it’s technically possible to mow your lawn at 40 degrees, it’s generally not recommended. The extreme heat can stress your lawn, damage your mower, and pose health risks to you. However, with a few precautions and adaptations, you can still maintain a healthy lawn even during the hottest months.

Understanding the Risks of Mowing in Extreme Heat

Impact on the Lawn

Mowing your lawn in intense heat can negatively impact its health, contributing to stress and potential damage. Here’s why:

  • Increased Water Loss: When the ground is dry and the temperature is high, your lawn is more susceptible to dehydration. Mowing at this time can worsen the situation by removing more leaves, reducing the surface area for water absorption.
  • Scalping and Root Damage: The intense heat can make the grass blades more brittle and prone to breaking. If you mow too low, you risk scalping the lawn, damaging the roots, and leaving it vulnerable to diseases and pests.
  • Sunburn: Grass can get sunburned just like our skin! When the sun is at its peak, especially during the hottest months, the direct sunlight can scorch the blades, turning them brown and unsightly.

Impact on the Mower

The intense heat can also take a toll on your lawnmower, leading to:

  • Overheating: The engine of your mower can overheat when subjected to prolonged use in extreme temperatures. This can cause damage to internal components and shorten the life of your mower.
  • Reduced Engine Performance: High temperatures can lead to reduced engine efficiency and power, making it harder to mow evenly and effectively.
  • Lubricant Breakdown: The high heat can cause the lubricant in your mower’s engine to thin out, reducing its effectiveness and potentially leading to increased wear and tear.

Impact on You

Don’t forget about yourself! Mowing in extreme heat can also pose health risks:

  • Heatstroke: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to heatstroke, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Dehydration: Sweating heavily while mowing can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, dizziness, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Sunburn: Unprotected skin can get sunburned quickly in intense heat.

Mowing Strategies for Hot Weather

While mowing in extreme heat is generally discouraged, it’s not always avoidable. If you absolutely must mow your lawn at 40 degrees, consider these strategies:

1. Choose the Right Time

  • Early Morning or Late Evening: Opt for the coolest parts of the day when the sun is low in the sky and the air temperature is lower. Avoid mowing during the peak heat of the day, typically between 10am and 4pm.
  • Observe Your Lawn: Assess your lawn’s condition. If it looks wilted or stressed, it’s best to postpone mowing until cooler conditions prevail.

2. Adjust Your Mowing Technique

  • Higher Cut: Set your mower blades to a higher cutting height to reduce the amount of grass removed and minimize stress on the lawn.
  • Sharp Blades: Ensure your mower blades are sharp to prevent tearing and damaging the grass blades, which can increase their vulnerability to heat stress.

3. Stay Hydrated

  • Drink Plenty of Water: Before, during, and after mowing, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration.
  • Take Breaks: Take regular breaks in the shade to cool down and rehydrate.

4. Consider Alternatives

  • Mulching Mower: A mulching mower chops up grass clippings finely and returns them to the lawn as fertilizer, reducing the need for frequent mowing.
  • Manual Mowing: If you have a small lawn, consider manual mowing with a reel mower, which requires less effort and produces less heat than a gas-powered mower.

Additional Tips for Hot Weather Lawn Care

Even if you’re not mowing, there are other ways to care for your lawn during hot weather:

  • Water Deeply and Infrequently: Water your lawn deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth, which can help it withstand drought conditions.
  • Avoid Fertilizing: Avoid fertilizing during the hottest months, as it can stress the lawn and increase its susceptibility to disease.
  • Mulch: Apply a layer of organic mulch around your plants to help retain soil moisture and regulate temperature.
  • Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Keep a watchful eye on your lawn for signs of pests and diseases, which can be more prevalent in hot weather.


Mowing your lawn at 40 degrees is possible, but it’s generally not recommended due to the risks involved for your lawn, your mower, and your own well-being. By understanding the potential drawbacks and implementing strategies to minimize the impact, you can maintain a healthy lawn even during the hottest months. Remember to prioritize safety, adjust your mowing habits, and consider alternative lawn care practices to keep your lawn thriving in any weather.


1. Is 40 degrees too cold to mow?

Whether or not you can mow your lawn at 40 degrees depends on a few factors. If the ground is frozen or covered in frost, it’s best to wait until it thaws. However, if the ground is soft and not frozen, you can mow your lawn at 40 degrees. Just be sure to check the forecast for any potential frost or freezing temperatures before you start.

Your lawnmower may also be affected by the cold temperature. If you have a gas-powered mower, it may take longer to start in the cold. You should also make sure your mower blade is sharp, as a dull blade can damage your grass in the cold.

2. What happens if I mow my lawn when it’s too cold?

Mowing your lawn when it’s too cold can damage your grass. When the ground is frozen, the roots of your grass are more susceptible to damage. Additionally, if you mow when there’s frost on the ground, you can spread the frost around your lawn and damage your grass.

If you’re unsure whether or not it’s too cold to mow, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and wait until the temperature warms up. You can also check with your local landscaping experts for advice specific to your region’s climate.

3. Should I use a different type of lawnmower in colder weather?

While you can use your regular lawnmower at 40 degrees, it’s best to avoid using a rotary mower, as it can damage your grass in the cold. Instead, consider using a reel mower, which cuts grass more precisely and with less stress on the blades.

Reel mowers also require less power to operate, which is beneficial in colder weather when your mower may be less efficient.

4. How often should I mow my lawn in the winter?

You may need to mow your lawn less frequently in the winter, as grass growth slows down. The ideal mowing height for winter is 2-3 inches. This will help protect your lawn from frost damage and provide a thick, lush lawn in the spring.

However, you should still mow your lawn regularly, even if it’s just to trim the tips of the grass blades. This will help to prevent your lawn from becoming matted and encourage new growth.

5. What are the benefits of mowing my lawn in the winter?

While it may seem counterintuitive to mow your lawn in the winter, there are actually a few benefits to doing so. For one, mowing your lawn in the winter can help to remove dead grass and debris, which can help to prevent diseases and pests.

It also helps to stimulate new growth, as the fresh cut encourages the grass to grow stronger and healthier.

6. Is it okay to fertilize my lawn in the winter?

You should avoid fertilizing your lawn in the winter. The grass is dormant and doesn’t need the extra nutrients. Fertilizing during winter can also contribute to excessive growth that can lead to disease and pests.

It’s best to wait until spring to fertilize your lawn again. You can also speak with your local lawn care professional for advice on the best time to fertilize your lawn in your specific climate.

7. What other lawn care tips should I follow in the winter?

In addition to mowing, there are other things you can do to maintain your lawn in the winter. For example, you should avoid walking on your lawn when it’s frozen, as this can damage the grass roots.

You should also avoid using salt on your walkways and driveways, as it can damage your lawn. If you do have to use salt, be sure to rinse it off your lawn after the snow melts.

You should also remove any leaves or debris from your lawn, as this can help to prevent diseases and pests. Finally, be sure to water your lawn during dry periods, as this can help to keep the grass healthy.

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