If there’s one stretch of land we like to maintain, it’s the lawn. From mowing in patterns to fertilizing it further for greener, healthier grass, a manicured lawn brings a sense of pride, no doubt! That said, maintaining a lawn isn’t as simple as picking up the mower whenever you have the time.
Many people make the mistake of mowing their lawn at the wrong time of the day and end up with a mess that could become a breeding ground for diseases. Read on to find out why time matters and the ideal time to mow your lawn.
Why it’s Important to Mow at the Right Time
Mowing your lawn makes up most of its maintenance, and if done right, it can keep your grass growing at an optimum level. Consider your soil, grass type, and the amount of fertilizer and rainfall your grass receives when fixing your mowing schedule.
Cool-season grasses like bluegrass and fescue, which grow in spring and fall, will need to be cut more often during high rainfall periods. It chokes out broadleaf weeds and dandelions, which sprout across the grass. Warm-season grasses like Bermuda grow during the heat of summer and, much like cool-season grasses, require frequent mowing during high rainfall.
The Best Times to Mow Your Lawn
1. Mid-Morning (8 AM 10 AM)
Mid-morning is the best time of day to mow the lawn because it has all that time to soak in the morning dew and excess water from irrigation. If your lawn is in a shaded area, it may take longer to dry, which means you’ll need to reschedule your mowing session. Remember to mow your lawn only after the grass is dry to prevent burns, grass stains, and an outburst of fungi. That said, if you don’t have the time to mow your lawn mid-morning, midday is a moderate alternative.
2. Midday (2 PM to 4 PM)
Midday is usually the hottest time, when the grass is photosynthesizing, so the risk of burning your grass is much higher if mowed. However, if you are giving your lawn its regular trim or if the type of grass you have is tough, like Bermuda and zoysia, you can mow with caution.
That said, if you mow more than the top third of your lawn, you will burn the grass with the lawn mower, especially if it runs on petrol. Petrol lawnmowers tend to overheat faster under the midday sun, thereby burning the grass it mows.
3. Afternoon (4 PM to 6 PM)
In the afternoon, you won’t have to worry about slippage or grass burn because the temperatures aren’t usually as high as they are at midday. The cool temperature around this time allows the grass to cool down as well. Mowing during this time will put less stress on your lawn, allowing it a few more hours to heal before the evening dew begins to settle.
The Worst Time To Mow Your Lawn (and What To Do About It)
1. Early Morning (6 AM to 8 AM)
Mowing early in the morning is a recipe for disaster because the grass is usually covered in morning dew, which creates a slipping hazard. Apart from that, freshly-cut wet grass is more likely to stain clothing. Wet grass clippings can also clog your lawn mower, causing it to release clusters of wet grass all over your lawn. These wet clumps could smother your lawn if not raked and, at worst, become a breeding ground for diseases and pests.
What to do: If you must mow your lawn in the early morning, raise the mower height to reduce the volume of clippings and reduce the width of the strip you’re mowing. This way, you’ll be cutting less grass per strip, but you’ll significantly reduce damage to the mower and your lawn.
2. Evening (6 PM to 8 PM)
Mowing your lawn in the evening means your grass won’t have time to heal before the dew settles, which can lead to fungal infection and turf disease. Blades of grass undergo a lot of stress when they are cut, which is why they need time to heal before the dew settles.
Fungi such as Fusarium and many water molds, including Pythium, Phytophthora, and Aphanomyces, can cause root rot. They display themselves as slimy patches, a film covering the entire grass or spots on individual blades of grass. Once fungi acclimate, you’ll need to dethatch your lawn, aerate your yard, and apply fungicide to get rid of them.
What to do: If you must mow in the evening, mow the lawn in small sections according to your schedule. You could mow a section in the morning and the remaining in the evening. This will allow some sections of the grass to heal before the dew settles to prevent an outburst of pests and diseases.
Tools You Need to Mow Your Lawn
1. A Lawn Mower with Sharp Blades
You’ll need a lawn mower with sharp blades that guarantees a clean cut. Blunt lawn mower blades tear the tips of grass blades, which leaves them with browned and rough ends, affecting the overall appearance of your lawn. Sharpen your lawn mower blades at home after every 25 hours of use with metal files or abrasives, or get them sharpened by a professional.
You’ll also need to consider your lawn mower’s exhaust pipes, especially if they’re powered by petrol; they can often get clogged.
2. Edging Shears
Edging shears are great for cutting grass along the edges or corners your lawn mower can’t reach. These garden tools can help you define the borders of grass patches in flagstone designs or other landscaping with curves and corners. Always use sharp shears and avoid cutting into the soil.
3. Lawn Rake
It’s important to rake your lawn every couple of months to remove the build-up of dead grass, moss, and dead weeds. Unlike mulch, these elements can block sunlight and moisture, encouraging the growth of weeds while smothering your lawn.
Lawn rakes or spring tine rakes, have thin tines that fan out and have sharp, bent ends. Their tines are usually springy, so they have flexibility, and rake fairly gentle to avoid shredding your lawn.
4. Leaf Rake
Leaf rakes can be used to remove fallen leaves and debris over the surface of your lawn. Fallen leaves block light and can decompose into the lawn if left unattended. Decomposed leaves can breed fungal infections and diseases, which can quickly takeover your lawn. Leaf rakes don’t have tines as wide or as long as the lawn rake, so the leaves won’t get caught up between them.
Bonus: Why Mowing Your Lawn Isn’t Killing the Grass
Grasses grow in groups known as turf, and a blade of grass is the end of a long narrow leaf. The blades sprout from nodes. These are the places in the stem where new growth happens. Short grass plants have at least one node near ground level, which is out of reach of a lawn mower; whereas tall grass plants may have several more nodes farther up along their stem. When a grass blade is cut by a lawn mower, the remaining blade sends a signal down to the node. This stimulates the stem to produce more leaves.
The More You Know
Before you mow your lawn, first consider what type of grass you’re dealing with and its growing season. Make sure the tools you use are sharp. Lastly, pick a mowing time that will reduce stress on your lawn and prevent diseases and pests.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand your lawns needs for a fresh cut! If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section down below!