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How Early Is Too Early To Mow Your Yard?

Mowing your yard is a seasonal task that you have to fit into your busy schedule. When planning when to cut your grass, you may be wondering how early is too early to do so. We've done the research and have information to help you plan your mowing schedule.

There are two perspectives to consider when planning to mow your grass and the time to start. You have to consider the time of day and the time of year. Cutting your lawn before 10 AM can damage your grass, your equipment, and your reputation with your neighbors, and cutting your grass before the risk of frost is over can cause harm that may last all season. 

If you still have some more questions about the best time to mow, don't worry. In this article, we will look at the best time of day to mow your grass and how early in the season you should resume mowing. We will also address some common questions that people ask about lawn care. Without further ado, let's get into it.

A lawn mower used for trimming the lawn on the backyard, How Early Is Too Early To Mow Your Yard?

When Is The Best Time To Mow?

Mowing is a necessary task, but some times are better than others. Let's look at the best times so that you don't start too early in the day or too early in the spring season. 

Lawn mower moving thru uncut grass

Time Of Day

You don’t want to mow too early in the day for a couple of reasons. First, you can damage your grass or your lawnmower. Second, you want to be courteous and respectful if you have neighbors. 

Grass Considerations

For some, a well-manicured yard is a source of pride and joy. If you want your grass to be at its best, part of your landscaping considerations should be the time of day you mow.

Believe it or not, it matters to the health of your grass. Cutting your grass at the wrong time can cause stress and disease. Below is an outline of daily time ranges and the effects that mowing during each one can have on your grass. 

6 AM - 8 AM

During the early morning hours, the grass is still wet with dew. Cutting it during this time can make your grass vulnerable to fungus and other diseases. Freshly cut blades can absorb unhealthy organisms present in the moisture particles.

8 AM - 10 AM

Late morning is the best time of day to mow, if possible. The dew has dried, and at this point, the sun hasn't heated things up too much. 

10 AM - 2 PM

This is the worst time to mow because the sun does the most damage to grass during this time. Cut blades will lose their moisture and can become dry and dead looking. 

2 PM - 4 PM

Late afternoon isn't the best, but it is not the worst. If you can avoid it, do your mowing at another time, but if not, your grass can handle the stress with little concern.

4 PM - 6 PM

Early evening is another good time to mow. The temperatures are starting to cool, and there's still time for your grass to recover before the potentially infectious moisture of nightfall. 

After 6 PM

Cutting grass too late doesn't give it a chance to heal before the evening dew sets in. Therefore, you can expose your grass to disease and fungus the same as in the early morning hours.  

Neighbor Considerations

Professional landscapers generally start between 7 AM and 8 AM during a workday, so it would be acceptable for anyone else to follow the same schedule. However, after 9 AM might be a better option if you have neighbors that don't leave early for work or school. 

Respectful times vary on weekdays when most people are getting ready for work and school rather than on weekends when people might be inclined to sleep longer. Mowing on weekends shouldn't start until after 9 AM or 10 AM.  

It is also helpful if you have some awareness about the work schedules of your neighbors. Many people work jobs that don't have the traditional 9-5 work schedules in today's society. Therefore, while you're mowing, your neighbor might be trying to go to sleep after working the night shift.  

If you absolutely have to mow outside conventional hours, talk with your neighbors to establish an agreement that suits everyone. There's a good chance they will be reasonable because neighbors also dislike unmowed grass. 

If you don’t have neighbors and view your grass as another task, then mow whenever is convenient to your schedule. However, you should still consider how it will affect your grass.

Time Of Year

Mowing the lawn of a large luxurious acre of property

For most, spring means that grass cutting resumes and continues until late fall. However, there isn't a specific time to start. The first mow of the season has more to do with the conditions of your dormant grass and the expectations for your lawn. 

Once temperatures in your area remain consistently above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can rest assured that the grass will soon begin growing quickly.

To prepare for the mowing season, you need to assess your lawn. In addition to basic cleanup in preparation for mowing, look for dead spots and bare patches which can indicate issues that need to be addressed.

If you live where the ground freeze is typical, you have different considerations from those living in southern climates who may need to adjust for water saturation. Cutting grass when there is still a risk of frost can leave you with dehydrated grass that can struggle all season.  

Once you begin to see new growth, know that the grass's root systems and crowns are gaining strength. However, you want to give them a chance to develop and get substantial growth before cutting. Otherwise, you can expose weed seeds to sunlight, and their unwanted growth can outpace your grass. 

Remember that it is better not to cut the grass shorter than 3-3.5 inches during the first mow. You want to remove the unattractive winter growth while leaving a protective canopy for new grass seeds. As the mowing season progresses, you can begin to mow closer to the ground. 

Some people live in climates in which mowing year round is a necessity. However, as the seasonal temperatures drop, the grass should begin to grow more slowly, so you should be able to mow less frequently.

As the daylight hours lessen in the winter months, it's still best to exercise common courtesy when choosing your mowing schedule. 

Can I Mow Wet Grass?

Wet grass photographed up close

It’s not a good idea to mow wet grass. It doesn't cut very well, so you will have an uneven and unattractive cut. It also clogs underneath your mower deck, which isn't good for your mower or your grass.

Also, if left to decay, wet grass clumps can choke your grass, spread disease, and promote the growth of weed seeds. 

Mowing wet grass can also be dangerous. You can slip and fall while push mowing, or your riding mower could slide and turn over, especially if your yard is on an incline or is full of uneven terrain.  

It is best to wait until your grass has dried before attempting to mow. However, if you must, make sure your deck is raised higher than usual and make shorter passes to reduce clumping. 

Can I Mow My Grass In The Dark?

Lawn mower at night

The early to late evening is an ordinary time to cut the grass because of work schedules and cooler temperatures.

However, waiting too late at night to mow has many of the same obstacles as mowing in the early morning—dew on the grass and the potential for disease spread. Let's not forget the angry neighbors.  

There are also safety concerns when it comes to mowing in the dark. First of all, it is difficult to see what is in front of you, so you risk hitting something with the mower and causing damage to your lawnmower blades and undercarriage.

It could also cause your mower to propel an object, break a nearby window, damage a vehicle, or even worse—strike a person. 

Second, it is too easy in the dark to misjudge the terrain and hit a hole or slide on an uneven section of the yard, resulting in an accident. To avoid any injury, it is best to practice mower safety. 

Is It Illegal To Mow My Grass At Night?

Mowing the lawn early in the morning

Many people like to cut their grass at night right before dark during cooler temperatures because they don’t have an opportunity in the morning before the temperature rises.

Most states don't have laws against mowing at night. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't local ordinances where you live that address acceptable hours for yard mowing.  

Even if there aren't laws or ordinances on the books specific to mowing, you also need to check for local noise ordinances that might be in place.

Many cities have posted quiet times and regulations regarding noise pollution, including hours in which reasonable noise is allowed. Further, if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, you should also check the written guidelines for the residents. 

Since most mowers emit sounds at 90-105 decibels, the sound would violate most noise ordinances or be considered a public nuisance that may get you a visit from the local police.

Even if there aren’t binding rules for how early or late in the day to mow, there is a thing called common courtesy to help to keep peace in the neighborhood.

In Closing

A lawn mower used for trimming the lawn on the backyard

Everyone likes a well-kept yard, but there are appropriate times to start mowing. You don't want to mow either too early in the morning or the spring season. Adhering to lawn etiquette guidelines can help save your grass and your standing in your community. 

Before you go, be sure to take a look at these related guides:

Why Is My Grass Dying In Patches?

10 Best Lawn Mowers For Wet Grass