The transition out of summer brings a host of yard work for the average homeowner as they prepare their lawns for winter. Most easily called to mind is the importance of raking leaves, but an unfortunately-overlooked element of autumn lawn care is mowing in the fall.
If it’s being done at all, autumn mowing if often done at the wrong height or wrong time—but how do you know what’s best for your lawn? We’ve put together your go-to guide to get your green good to grow come spring.
Your fall mowing schedule should be planned around the first frost of the year. Grass typically goes dormant when daytime temperatures are consistently below 50 degrees.
Before the first frost, you should mow your lawn 2-3 times. It’s important to spread out these last few cuts—wait at least a few days between each mow to give your grass time to recover—and you should never cut more than a third of the blade off at one time to avoid stressing the plant.
If you’re not sure when the first frost will happen, look for that early snowfall that doesn’t stick, or check American Meadows’ average first frost chart.
Experts recommend mowing your lawn shorter in the fall, but it’s a delicate balance. Too long, and disease becomes a threat during the winter; too short, and you risk exposing the roots of your grass to damaging cold.
You should aim to have your last cut at a height of 2-2.5 inches. Each time you mow before the first frost, reduce the height of your blade, gradually cutting shorter as you prepare.
Why it Matters
Without a proper fall cut, your long grass folds over on itself under layers of snow. The matted-down layer encourages the spread of mold and disease on your lawn, and small pests like voles seek shelter in the long grass, tearing up your turf.
A fall mow also sets your grass up for success in the spring. Once the snow melts, the shorter grass will allow sun to warm the soil faster, leading to faster, greener growth.
Mowing isn’t the only important thing to take care of this autumn. Check out last year’s post on fall lawn maintenance.
Questions? Our team at Land Concepts are ready to help. Give us a call or request a free estimate for help with fall lawn care.