When Should I Mow My Lawn in Spring?

Spring has sprung, and with it comes the inevitable urge to get your lawn back in shape after the long winter months. But when is the right time to start mowing? Too early, and you risk damaging your grass, while waiting too long can leave you with an overgrown mess. This guide will walk you through the crucial factors to consider when deciding when to start mowing your lawn in spring, ensuring a healthy and vibrant green carpet all season long.

When Should You Start Mowing?

The best time to start mowing your lawn in spring depends on a few key factors: your location, the type of grass you have, and the weather conditions.

General guidelines suggest waiting until:

  • Your grass has reached a height of about 3 inches. This ensures there’s enough leaf surface area for photosynthesis and healthy growth.
  • The soil is consistently warm and dry. This allows the grass to recover quickly from mowing and prevents damage from cold, wet conditions.

Understanding Your Location and Grass Type

1. Your Location:

The climate where you live plays a crucial role in determining when to start mowing. In warmer climates, you might be able to start mowing earlier than those in colder regions.

  • Southern states: You can typically start mowing in late February or early March.
  • Northern states: You may need to wait until April or May.

2. Your Grass Type:

Different grass types have different growth habits and cold tolerance levels.

  • Cool-season grasses: These thrive in cooler temperatures and are typically best mowed in the spring and fall. Examples include:
    • Kentucky bluegrass
    • Perennial ryegrass
    • Fine fescue
  • Warm-season grasses: These prefer warmer temperatures and are best mowed during the summer months. Examples include:
    • Bermuda grass
    • Zoysia grass
    • St. Augustine grass

Knowing your grass type is essential because it will guide your mowing schedule throughout the growing season.

The Importance of Weather

While general guidelines are helpful, the weather plays a crucial role in determining the optimal time to mow.

1. Temperature:

  • Ideal temperature: Aim for a temperature above 50°F (10°C) for optimal grass growth.
  • Avoid mowing in extreme heat: During very hot weather, mowing can stress the grass and lead to browning.

2. Rainfall:

  • Dry weather: It’s best to avoid mowing when the grass is dry and brittle. This can cause damage and make it more susceptible to disease.
  • Wet weather: Mowing when the grass is wet can lead to clumping and uneven cuts. It can also compact the soil and damage the grass.

It’s best to mow on days when the soil is dry and the grass is slightly damp from recent rainfall.

Preparing Your Lawn for Mowing

Before you fire up the mower, there are a few essential steps to prepare your lawn:

1. Rake and Remove Debris:

Remove any winter debris like fallen leaves, twigs, and other organic matter that might hinder the mower’s blades and obstruct the grass’s growth.

2. Check for Drought or Disease:

Inspect your lawn for signs of drought stress or disease. This might include brown patches, thinning, or discoloration. Address these issues before you start mowing to ensure a healthy recovery.

3. Adjust Your Mower Blade Height:

Start with a higher blade setting, usually around 3 inches, to give the grass a chance to grow back after the winter.

Mowing Techniques for a Healthy Lawn

1. Mowing Height:

  • Cool-season grasses: Maintain a height of 2-3 inches.
  • Warm-season grasses: Maintain a height of 1-2 inches.

2. The “1/3 Rule”:

Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade’s height in a single mowing. This prevents damage to the grass and ensures it can recover effectively.

3. Regular Mowing:

Mow your lawn regularly, about once a week during the growing season. This will promote a thick, healthy lawn and discourage weed growth.

4. Sharp Blades:

Sharp blades make a clean cut, reducing damage to the grass and preventing tearing. Dull blades can cause browning and make the grass more susceptible to disease.

5. Mulch Mowing:

Mulch mowing involves leaving fine grass clippings on the lawn as a natural fertilizer. This can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and provide additional nutrients to the soil.

When to Stop Mowing in Spring

The exact timing of when to stop mowing in spring varies depending on your location and grass type. However, here are some general guidelines:

  • Cool-season grasses: You can typically continue mowing throughout the spring and into the summer.
  • Warm-season grasses: You may need to reduce mowing frequency as the weather gets hotter, and the grass enters its dormant period.

Additional Tips for Spring Lawn Care

  • Fertilize your lawn: A balanced fertilizer can help your grass recover from winter and promote healthy growth.
  • Water deeply but infrequently: Water your lawn deeply to encourage deep root growth and reduce the frequency of watering.
  • Control weeds: Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring to prevent weeds from germinating.
  • Aerate your lawn: If your soil is compacted, aerating can improve drainage and allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots.


Starting your spring lawn care routine with proper mowing is crucial for a healthy and vibrant lawn throughout the season. By considering your location, grass type, and the weather, you can determine the perfect time to start mowing. Remember to follow proper mowing techniques and maintain a consistent schedule for optimal results. With a little effort and the right approach, you can enjoy a beautiful and flourishing lawn all summer long.


When should I start mowing my lawn in the spring?

The best time to start mowing your lawn in the spring is when the grass has grown to about 3 inches tall. This will give the grass time to recover from the winter dormancy and will help to prevent scalping, which is when the mower blades cut too close to the ground and damage the grass. You should also wait until the soil has warmed up enough for the grass to grow actively.

You can test the soil temperature by sticking a thermometer into the ground. If the soil temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the grass should be ready for its first mow of the season. If you live in a colder climate, you may need to wait until the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

How often should I mow my lawn in the spring?

During the spring, you’ll want to mow your lawn once a week, or even more often if the grass is growing quickly. The key is to remove no more than one-third of the grass blade each time you mow. This will help to keep the grass healthy and prevent it from being stressed.

As the weather gets warmer and the grass grows faster, you may need to mow your lawn more frequently. However, don’t be afraid to let the grass grow a little longer during the spring. This will help to shade the soil and keep it cool, which is important during the warm summer months.

What height should I mow my lawn in the spring?

The ideal mowing height for your lawn will depend on the type of grass you have. However, a good general rule of thumb is to mow your lawn to a height of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. This will help to keep the grass healthy and prevent it from being scalped.

Mowing your lawn at a higher height will also help to prevent weeds from growing. Weeds are more likely to thrive in short, thin grass. So, keeping your lawn at a higher height can help to keep the weeds under control.

What type of mower should I use in the spring?

The type of mower you use will depend on the size of your lawn and your personal preference. If you have a small lawn, a reel mower can be a good option. Reel mowers are environmentally friendly and provide a very clean cut. However, they can be difficult to use on uneven terrain.

If you have a larger lawn, a rotary mower is a more practical option. Rotary mowers are powerful and efficient, and they can handle uneven terrain. They are also relatively affordable. You may also consider a robotic mower for a hands-free approach to lawn maintenance, particularly for larger lawns.

Should I use a mulching mower in the spring?

A mulching mower chops the grass clippings into fine particles and returns them to the lawn as fertilizer. This can help to improve the health of your lawn and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. Mulching mowers are a good option for any time of year, including spring.

However, you’ll want to make sure you’re not mulching too much grass at once. If you’re mowing more than one-third of the grass blade, the grass clippings may not be able to decompose properly and could smother the lawn.

What should I do with the grass clippings in the spring?

Grass clippings are a good source of nutrients for your lawn. If you’re not using a mulching mower, you can leave the grass clippings on the lawn as fertilizer. However, if you have a lot of grass clippings, you may want to remove them and compost them.

Composting grass clippings can help to create a rich soil amendment that you can use to fertilize your garden. It is important to note that if your grass clippings have been treated with herbicides or pesticides, you should not compost them.

What are some other tips for mowing my lawn in the spring?

Here are some other tips for mowing your lawn in the spring:

  • Sharpen your mower blades. Sharp mower blades will provide a clean cut and prevent the grass from being torn.
  • Mow in different directions each time. This will help to prevent the grass from becoming matted down.
  • Avoid mowing when the grass is wet. Wet grass is more likely to clump together and clog the mower blades.
  • Be aware of the weather. Don’t mow your lawn during hot, dry periods or when it’s raining heavily.

Following these tips can help you to maintain a healthy, beautiful lawn all spring long.

Leave a Comment