How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn in the Fall?

As the days shorten and the air grows crisp, it’s time to start thinking about transitioning your lawn care routine for the fall. While spring and summer are all about promoting lush growth, fall is about preparing your lawn for winter dormancy. One of the key aspects of this preparation is adjusting your mowing frequency. But how often should you mow in the fall? This article will delve into the optimal mowing schedule for your lawn during this crucial season, considering factors like grass type, weather conditions, and the overall health of your turf.

The frequency of your fall mowing depends heavily on the type of grass you have and the prevailing weather conditions. As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, most grass types slow their growth rate significantly. This means you can typically mow less often than you did during the peak growing season.

How to Determine the Right Mowing Frequency for Your Fall Lawn

1. Identify Your Grass Type:

The first step is to identify the type of grass you have. Different grass types have different growth habits and require varying levels of maintenance. Common lawn grasses include:

  • Cool-season grasses: These grasses thrive in cooler temperatures and typically remain green throughout fall. Examples include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue.
  • Warm-season grasses: These grasses go dormant during the cooler months, turning brown. Examples include Bermuda grass, zoysia grass, and St. Augustine grass.

2. Monitor Grass Growth:

The most crucial factor in determining your mowing frequency is how fast your grass is growing. Here’s a general guideline:

  • Cool-season grasses: If your cool-season grass is still actively growing, you may need to mow every 10-14 days. However, as growth slows, you can extend the mowing interval to 2-3 weeks.
  • Warm-season grasses: Warm-season grasses will slow down considerably in the fall and may even go dormant. You may only need to mow once or twice during this time.

3. Pay Attention to Weather:

Fall weather can be unpredictable, so adjust your mowing schedule accordingly.

  • Rainfall: After heavy rainfall, your grass may grow faster, necessitating more frequent mowing.
  • Temperature: Cooler temperatures slow down growth, allowing you to mow less often.
  • Frost: Once frost starts to appear, it’s time to stop mowing altogether.

4. The “1/3 Rule”

A general rule of thumb for mowing any time of year is the “1/3 rule.” This means you should never remove more than one-third of the grass blade height during any mowing session. This prevents stress on the grass and helps it remain healthy.

Adjusting Mowing Height for Fall

As your grass transitions into fall, it’s a good idea to gradually lower the mowing height. This encourages the roots to grow deeper and helps the lawn better withstand cold temperatures.

  • Cool-season grasses: You can gradually lower the mowing height to about 2-3 inches by the end of fall.
  • Warm-season grasses: Once your warm-season grass begins to go dormant, you can raise the mowing height to about 2-3 inches. This will help protect the dormant blades from winter damage.

The Importance of Sharp Blades

Sharp mower blades are crucial for a healthy lawn, especially during the fall. Dull blades tear the grass instead of making clean cuts, which can lead to browning, disease, and weakened turf.

  • Sharp blades promote healthy growth: Sharp blades cut cleanly, minimizing damage to the grass blades and promoting healthier growth.
  • Sharp blades prevent disease: Torn grass blades are more susceptible to fungal diseases.
  • Sharp blades make for a neater lawn: A sharp blade will produce a clean, even cut, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing lawn.

How to Ensure Your Blades Stay Sharp:

  • Sharpen your blades regularly: Mower blades should be sharpened every 10-15 hours of use or at least once a month.
  • Use a quality blade sharpening tool: There are many blade sharpening tools available, both manual and electric. Choose one that is designed for the type of mower you have.
  • Inspect your blades for wear and tear: Regularly inspect your blades for nicks, dents, or other damage. Replace worn blades as needed.

When to Stop Mowing in the Fall

The exact time to stop mowing in the fall varies depending on your grass type and location. As a general rule, you can stop mowing when:

  • Cool-season grasses: You can stop mowing when the grass growth slows down significantly or when the first frost arrives.
  • Warm-season grasses: Once your warm-season grass goes dormant, you can stop mowing for the winter.

Additional Fall Lawn Care Tips

  • Fertilize your lawn: Fall is a great time to fertilize your lawn as it prepares for dormancy. Choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for fall application.
  • Remove fallen leaves: Fallen leaves can smother your lawn, blocking sunlight and inhibiting growth. Rake or mulch them to prevent this.
  • Water deeply and infrequently: Fall is the time to deep-water your lawn less often. This encourages deeper root growth, which is crucial for winter survival.
  • Aerate your lawn: Aerating your lawn helps improve drainage and allows air and nutrients to reach the roots. This is especially important in compacted soils.


Mowing your lawn properly in the fall is crucial for its health and survival throughout the winter. By adjusting your mowing frequency, lowering the cutting height, and keeping your mower blades sharp, you can help your lawn prepare for the colder months. Remember to monitor your grass’s growth, pay attention to the weather, and implement other fall lawn care practices to ensure a healthy, vibrant lawn come spring.


Q: Why is it important to mow my lawn in the fall?

A: Mowing your lawn in the fall is essential for maintaining its health and appearance throughout the winter months. Regularly mowing helps to keep your grass from getting too long and creating a haven for pests and diseases. By mowing, you’re also encouraging the grass to develop a healthy root system that can withstand the cold temperatures and lack of sunlight. A healthy lawn in the fall sets the stage for a vibrant and lush lawn in the spring.

Q: How often should I mow my lawn in the fall?

A: The frequency of mowing your lawn in the fall depends on the type of grass you have and the weather conditions. As the weather cools, your grass will grow more slowly, requiring less frequent mowing. Generally, you can reduce your mowing frequency to once every two weeks or even less. Observe your lawn closely, and when the grass reaches a height that’s a little longer than your preferred mowing height, it’s time to mow again.

Q: How short should I cut my lawn in the fall?

A: The ideal mowing height for your lawn in the fall varies depending on your grass type and your personal preference. However, it’s generally recommended to leave the grass slightly longer than your usual mowing height, about 2-3 inches. This allows the grass to store more energy for the winter months and helps to protect the roots from cold temperatures.

Q: When should I stop mowing my lawn in the fall?

A: You should stop mowing your lawn in the fall when the grass growth slows down significantly, usually when the temperatures drop below 50°F. This means that the grass is no longer actively growing and doesn’t require regular maintenance.

Q: What should I do with the grass clippings in the fall?

A: Leaving grass clippings on your lawn in the fall can provide some benefits, such as adding nutrients and moisture back into the soil. However, if you live in a humid climate or if the grass clippings are excessively thick, it’s best to remove them. This helps to prevent fungal diseases and ensures good air circulation within the lawn.

Q: How should I prepare my lawn for winter?

A: Preparing your lawn for winter involves a few steps, including raking up any leaves or debris, applying a winterizer fertilizer, and potentially covering your lawn with a winter blanket. Raking up leaves helps prevent them from smothering your lawn, while winterizer fertilizer provides essential nutrients to help your grass survive the winter months. A winter blanket can provide additional protection against frost and freezing temperatures.

Q: What should I do if I notice any problems with my lawn in the fall?

A: If you notice any problems with your lawn in the fall, such as brown patches, weeds, or pests, it’s important to address them promptly. There are many products and solutions available to treat these problems, and it’s always a good idea to consult with a local lawn care professional for guidance and advice. Early intervention can help prevent more serious problems from developing and ensure a healthy lawn for the next growing season.

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