When Does Lawn Mowing Season End?

As the days grow shorter and the air turns crisp, a familiar question arises: when does lawn mowing season end? The transition from lush green lawns to dormant brown grass is a natural cycle, but knowing when to put away the mower can be tricky. This article will explore the factors that influence the end of lawn mowing season, offering practical tips and insights to help you determine the ideal time to hang up your mower for the year.

In a nutshell, the end of lawn mowing season is largely determined by your geographical location, specific grass type, and the onset of winter conditions. Factors such as the first frost, average temperatures, and the growth rate of your grass will all contribute to the decision of when to stop mowing.

Understanding the Factors

Several key factors determine when lawn mowing season ends in your area. Let’s delve deeper into each:

1. Your Geographic Location

The most significant factor in determining the end of mowing season is your geographic location. This is due to variations in climate, including:

a) Climate Zones:

Different parts of the world experience distinct climates, with varying temperature ranges and precipitation patterns. For instance, warm climates with mild winters may have a much longer mowing season compared to regions with harsh, cold winters.

b) Frost Dates:

Frost is a significant indicator of the end of lawn mowing season. The first frost often signals the beginning of dormancy for most grasses. Referencing historical frost dates for your area can give you a good indication of when to expect the end of mowing season.

2. Your Grass Type

The type of grass you have in your lawn plays a crucial role in determining when to stop mowing.

a) Cool-Season Grasses:

Cool-season grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, thrive in cooler temperatures and typically go dormant during the summer months. They generally start growing again in the fall, but their growth slows down significantly as temperatures drop. Mowing may continue until the grass stops growing, usually around the time of the first frost.

b) Warm-Season Grasses:

Warm-season grasses, like Bermuda and Zoysia, prefer hot temperatures and enter dormancy during the colder months. They typically go dormant in the fall, before the first frost, and begin growing again in the spring. Mowing may continue until the grass starts to brown and growth slows down significantly.

3. Growth Rate of Your Grass

The rate at which your grass grows is another important factor. Once the growth rate slows down considerably, it’s a good indication that the mowing season is coming to an end.

a) Observing the Lawn:

Regularly observe your lawn for signs of slowed growth. The grass may start to appear thin, the blades may be shorter than usual, and there may be fewer new shoots emerging.

b) Cutting Height:

As the season progresses, you may notice that you are mowing at a higher height than usual. This indicates that the grass is growing more slowly.

4. Signs of Dormancy

As temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, grasses naturally transition into dormancy. Here are some signs that your lawn is entering dormancy:

a) Color Changes:

The grass blades may start to turn yellow, brown, or even reddish-brown. This is a sign that the grass is no longer actively growing.

b) Browning Tips:

The tips of the grass blades may start to brown, indicating that they are dying back.

c) Slow Growth:

The growth rate of the grass will slow down considerably, and the lawn may appear thin and patchy.

Final Considerations

The end of lawn mowing season can be a gradual process, and the transition from actively growing grass to dormant grass is a natural cycle. While the factors discussed above are crucial for making an informed decision, consider these final points:

  • Last Mow Before Dormancy: It’s generally recommended to give your lawn one final mow before it goes dormant. Cut the grass slightly shorter than usual to prevent a buildup of dead grass and improve the appearance of your lawn in the spring.
  • Mowing Height: Reduce the mowing height gradually as the season progresses to allow for more sunlight to reach the grass.
  • Leaf Removal: As the leaves fall, be sure to remove them from your lawn. Accumulated leaves can smother the grass and hinder its growth in the spring.
  • Fertilization: It’s generally not recommended to fertilize your lawn in the late fall as this can encourage growth when the grass should be entering dormancy.


Determining the end of lawn mowing season is a blend of observation, knowledge of your specific lawn conditions, and awareness of local weather patterns. Remember, the goal is to ensure a healthy lawn that can withstand the winter months and thrive in the spring. By carefully monitoring your lawn and adhering to the guidelines outlined in this article, you can make informed decisions about when to put away your mower and allow your lawn to naturally transition into its dormant phase.


When does lawn mowing season end?

The end of lawn mowing season is not a fixed date, but rather a general guideline determined by factors like your location, grass type, and weather conditions. In general, you can stop mowing when your grass growth slows down considerably and you’re no longer producing clippings. This is usually around late fall or early winter, when temperatures drop and daylight hours decrease. However, if you have warm-season grasses like Bermuda or Zoysia, your lawn may still need mowing in the winter if it remains active.

While it is advisable to stop mowing when growth slows down, it’s still important to maintain your lawn in the winter. You should remove fallen leaves and debris to prevent them from smothering your grass. Additionally, you can consider giving your lawn a final trim before winter to even out its appearance and encourage healthy growth in the spring.

What happens if I continue mowing too late into the season?

Continuing to mow your lawn too late into the season can be detrimental to its health. If the grass is already dormant or nearing dormancy, mowing can damage its delicate tissues and weaken its ability to withstand cold temperatures. This can lead to winterkill, where the grass dies off during the winter months. Additionally, mowing late in the season can stimulate new growth, which is more susceptible to frost damage.

Moreover, mowing late in the season can expose the soil to harsh winter conditions, increasing the risk of erosion and soil compaction. It’s best to allow your lawn to go into dormancy naturally, which will help it recover and thrive in the spring.

How do I know when my grass is dormant?

You can determine if your grass is dormant by observing its growth and color. Dormant grass will have stopped growing and will have taken on a brown or straw-like appearance. The blades will be dry and brittle, and you’ll likely see a lot of fallen leaves or other debris on the lawn. You can also test the grass by gently pulling on a few blades – if they come out easily, it’s a good indication that the grass is dormant.

If your grass is still green and actively growing, it’s not yet dormant and may still need to be mowed. However, if you notice any signs of dormancy, it’s best to stop mowing and allow your lawn to rest for the winter.

What happens if I stop mowing too early?

Stopping mowing too early can also have negative consequences for your lawn. If your grass is still actively growing and you stop mowing, it can become overgrown and unkempt. This can create a favorable environment for weeds and pests, and it can also make it difficult to get your lawn looking good again in the spring.

Additionally, if your grass is still actively growing when you stop mowing, it may not have enough time to store up reserves for the winter, making it more susceptible to winterkill. It’s a good idea to continue mowing until your grass growth slows down significantly, even if this means mowing a little later in the season than usual.

What should I do with my mower at the end of the season?

Once you’ve finished mowing for the season, it’s important to properly store your mower. This will help to protect it from damage and ensure that it’s ready to use again next spring. Start by cleaning your mower thoroughly, removing any grass clippings, debris, or dirt. Then, drain any fuel from the tank and carburetor to prevent the fuel from going bad and gumming up the engine.

If your mower is a gasoline model, it’s a good idea to change the oil before storing it. You should also lubricate any moving parts, such as the blades and wheels. Finally, store your mower in a dry, clean place, ideally indoors if possible.

What about fall fertilization?

Fall fertilization is crucial for preparing your lawn for winter and promoting healthy growth in the spring. It’s best to apply a slow-release fertilizer in late summer or early fall. This allows the nutrients to be absorbed gradually by the grass, providing a steady supply throughout the winter months.

However, it’s important to avoid applying fertilizer too late in the season. Fertilizing in late fall can encourage new growth, which is more susceptible to frost damage. It’s best to consult with a local lawn care professional or your county extension office for specific recommendations on fertilizer timing and types for your region.

What are the benefits of letting your lawn go dormant?

Allowing your lawn to go dormant in the winter can have several benefits. First, it reduces the need for mowing and other maintenance, saving you time and energy. Second, it allows your grass to conserve energy and nutrients, helping it to recover and thrive in the spring. Third, it promotes a deeper root system, which helps your lawn to withstand drought conditions and competition from weeds.

Finally, it helps to reduce the risk of disease and pests, as these organisms are less active during the winter months. By letting your lawn go dormant, you are essentially allowing it to rest and recharge for the growing season ahead.

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