When Do You Stop Mowing Your Lawn?

The sweet scent of freshly cut grass, the satisfying hum of the mower, and the feeling of accomplishment as you survey your manicured lawn – all things we associate with summertime. But when do you put the mower away for the year? Knowing when to call it quits on mowing can be tricky, especially when autumn’s cooler temperatures and changing foliage make your lawn look less than pristine. This article will guide you through the factors to consider when deciding when to stop mowing, helping you ensure a healthy and vibrant lawn year after year.

In short, you should stop mowing your lawn when it’s no longer actively growing. This usually happens sometime in the fall when temperatures drop and the days grow shorter. The exact timing will vary based on your location, the specific type of grass you have, and the overall weather conditions.

How to Determine When to Stop Mowing

Several factors influence when you should put the mower away. Here’s a breakdown of the most important considerations:

1. Grass Growth Rate

The most crucial factor in determining when to stop mowing is your grass’s growth rate. Once your lawn slows down its growth significantly, it’s time to stop mowing. You can gauge this by observing the following:

  • Height: If your grass is only growing an inch or two a week, it’s a sign it’s slowing down.
  • Appearance: Look for a decrease in the number of new shoots and a more dormant overall appearance.

2. Seasonal Changes

The changing seasons play a significant role in the growth of your grass. Here’s how:

  • Temperature: As temperatures drop below 50°F, most types of grass slow down considerably.
  • Daylight: As days grow shorter, your lawn receives less sunlight, further limiting growth.
  • First Frost: Once you see your first frost, it’s a sure sign your lawn has gone dormant and no longer needs mowing.

3. Grass Type

The type of grass you have can influence the timing of your last mow. Some grasses are more cold-hardy and can continue growing later into the fall than others.

Common Grass Types and When They Typically Stop Growing:

  • Cool-Season Grasses (Best for Northern Climates): Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, perennial ryegrass – These grasses can stay active longer into the fall.
  • Warm-Season Grasses (Best for Southern Climates): Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass – These grasses generally go dormant earlier in the fall.

4. Weather Conditions

Unpredictable weather can sometimes throw a wrench in your mowing schedule.

  • Drought: If your area experiences a drought during the fall, your lawn might go dormant earlier than usual due to lack of moisture.
  • Unseasonable Warmth: If you have an unusually warm fall, your grass might continue growing longer than expected.

What Happens When You Mow Too Late?

Mowing your lawn after it has gone dormant can have several negative consequences:

1. Damage to the Grass Blades

When your grass is dormant, its blades are more fragile. Mowing can tear and damage the blades, leaving them vulnerable to disease and pests.

2. Increased Stress on the Lawn

Mowing a dormant lawn can put unnecessary stress on the roots, hindering their ability to recover and thrive in the spring.

3. Unsightly Appearance

A dormant lawn will not bounce back quickly after being cut, leaving it looking patchy and brown for an extended period.


Determining when to stop mowing your lawn is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy and beautiful lawn. By paying attention to the grass’s growth rate, seasonal changes, grass type, and weather conditions, you can make an informed decision about when to put the mower away. By stopping mowing at the right time, you will avoid unnecessary stress on your lawn and give it a chance to recover and thrive in the spring. Remember, a little patience and careful observation will go a long way in ensuring a healthy and vibrant lawn for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is the best time to stop mowing my lawn for the season?

The best time to stop mowing your lawn for the season depends on your location and the type of grass you have. In general, you should stop mowing when the grass stops growing actively. This is usually in the fall when the days become shorter and cooler. However, if you live in a warmer climate, you may need to continue mowing your lawn throughout the winter.

Pay attention to the growth of your lawn. If the grass is no longer growing or is growing very slowly, it’s a good indicator that you can stop mowing. This will help your lawn prepare for dormancy and ensure it can recover in the spring.

2. Why should I stop mowing my lawn in the fall?

Stopping mowing your lawn in the fall allows it to enter dormancy naturally. This is important for the health of your lawn because it allows the grass to conserve energy and build up its root system. Mowing in the fall can stress the lawn and make it more susceptible to disease and damage from the cold weather.

When you stop mowing, the grass blades will gradually die back and provide a natural layer of mulch for the soil. This mulch will help protect the soil from erosion and help retain moisture. It also helps break down organic matter and release nutrients into the soil, enriching it for the next growing season.

3. What should I do with my lawn clippings after I stop mowing?

Once you stop mowing, you can leave the grass clippings on the lawn to decompose naturally. This will help to fertilize the soil and provide a natural layer of mulch. However, if the clippings are very thick, you can rake them up and compost them.

If you choose to rake them up, make sure to compost them properly to avoid attracting pests. You can use them to enhance your garden soil or even add them to your flower beds. They will provide valuable nutrients and help retain moisture, promoting healthy plant growth.

4. What should I do with my mower after I stop mowing?

After you stop mowing, you should clean and store your mower properly. This will help to prolong its life and ensure that it is ready to go when you need it again in the spring.

Clean your mower with a brush and a damp cloth to remove any grass clippings or debris. If your mower has an oil change, make sure to change the oil before storing it. You can also add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prevent the fuel from going bad. Finally, store your mower in a cool, dry place.

5. What should I do to prepare my lawn for winter?

Preparing your lawn for winter is important to ensure it comes back healthy and strong in the spring. First, you should give your lawn a final cut before winter, keeping the grass blades shorter than usual. This will help prevent snow mold from developing during the winter months.

You should also fertilize your lawn in the fall to provide it with the nutrients it needs to survive the winter. A balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is ideal. Additionally, you can consider aerating your lawn to improve drainage and allow air and water to reach the roots.

6. What should I do if my lawn is starting to turn brown?

If your lawn is starting to turn brown, it’s a sign that it’s going dormant. Don’t worry, this is a natural process and your lawn will recover in the spring. However, you can help your lawn stay healthy by avoiding excessive watering and keeping it free of debris.

Make sure to leave fallen leaves on the lawn as they decompose and provide nutrients for the soil. Avoid walking on the lawn when it’s frozen as this can cause damage and create bare patches.

7. When should I start mowing again in the spring?

You should start mowing your lawn again in the spring when the grass begins to grow actively. This will usually be around the time when the last frost has passed. The specific time will vary depending on your location and the type of grass you have.

Be careful not to mow too short when you start mowing again in the spring. It is best to leave the blades slightly longer than you would in the summer. This will help to protect the grass from damage and allow it to recover from the winter.

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