When Should You NOT Mow Your Lawn?


Maintaining a perfect lawn requires knowing the right time to mow it. However, knowing when to cut is not enough. You also need to know when you should not mow your lawn. You’re probably wondering, “Are there times when I shouldn’t mow my lawn?”

The simple answer is yes. You should not mow your yard when the grass is wet, too dry, or when it’s infested with a disease. Additionally, it’s not advisable to cut when your mower’s blade is dull or when the sun is too hot as you might damage the grass. 

Why is it not advisable to mow during the above scenarios? Let’s take a look!

Do Not Mow When Grass is Wet

Though it might be tempting to mow your grass in the morning when it’s wet, it is never a good idea. There are various reasons why cutting damp grass is not advisable. First, wet grass is slippery and increases the chances of slipping and falling (this is a common reason for mower-related injuries as I discussed in this article). 

If you fall on the walk-behind lawnmower, it can be disastrous as the blades may cut you severely. Consequently, you may lose control of the mower and damage property or injure nearby people. 

Secondly, wet grass will clog your lawnmower, making it hard to clean afterward. The clogged grass clippings will come out of the lawnmower as clumps which, if left unraked, may kill your grass and make your lawn appear untidy. 

Another reason you should avoid mowing wet grass is that it stains your shoes and clothes more, making it hard to clean them after you mow. Mowing damp grass also damages your lawn due to wheel ruts and soil compaction. 

For the lawnmower to cut precisely, your grass should be standing upright to ensure the blade cuts cleanly. Wet grass is usually bent due to the weight of the water. Therefore, you will achieve uneven cuts when mowing moist grass. 

Avoid Mowing Using Dull Mower Blades 

When preparing to mow your lawn, you should ensure that the blades of the lawnmower you are using are sharp enough. Sharp blades will cut easily and evenly, leaving your property looking nice. You should refrain from using dull lawnmower blades due to the following reasons: 

  • It may damage the lawnmower:  When the blades are dull, your lawnmower must overwork to rip off the grass. Rather than cutting clean, the grass blades will wrap around the mower’s blade and then get ripped off. Therefore, the lawnmower may get damaged as it strains to cut through the grass. Additionally, the mower will consume more gas or electricity, depending on the model. 
  • Affects your lawn’s appearance: Dull mower blades result in an unevenly cut yard with damaged grass. A dull blade rips off the tips of the grass rather than cut them. Therefore, they lose moisture and become discolored. The brown color and unevenly cut grass will make your lawn appear unattractive. 
  • Increases the risk of diseases: Dull blades injure the grass and leave open cuts that can act as disease entry points. Some common conditions that could infect your lawn include fungal diseases such as leaf blight. 
  • Reduces the lawn’s resistance: If your lawn is damaged or infected with diseases, it will have less resistance to adverse weather conditions and pests. 

As you can see, mowing your lawn with a dull blade has a number of disadvantages. Besides the above, cutting with dull blades takes more time and will leave you exhausted. Therefore, you should maintain a regular sharpening schedule to ensure that your mower blades are always up to the task. 

If Your Lawn Has a Disease

Like any other living thing, your lawn may be infected by a disease. Some common lawn diseases include dollar spots and brown patches. You might be tempted to cut the brown patches when you notice that your lawn has a disease. However, this will be more harmful than helpful. 

If you mow your lawn when it’s already infected, you will spread the disease-causing organisms all over your garden. The best action to take when your yard has a disease is to treat it using the necessary chemicals.

Once you’re confident that the lawn is free from any diseases, disinfect the lawnmower and continue with your mowing schedule. 

Don’t Cut Newly Seeded Grass

If you’ve recently installed a new sod or sowed grass seeds, you should give it enough time to establish itself before mowing. Newly seeded grass will take several weeks to germinate and be firm. You should avoid cutting it during this growth phase as it reduces the growth rate. 

Furthermore, lawnmowers compact the soil making it hard for your growth to remain healthy and grow at optimum rates. The best time to mow newly seeded grass is when it has grown to 3.5 inches or more to avoid cutting it too low.

 Generally, your grass should always be 3 inches tall for proper root formation and photosynthesis, which is essential for optimum growth.  

Don’t Mow During the Dry Season

Your lawn is stressed due to a lack of moisture whenever there is a drought. You should avoid cutting the grass if you cannot provide enough water for the yard. Mowing grass when it is dry will disrupt its growth and might make it dry. 

For grass to thrive and recover from the cuts, it needs enough water. If you mow and leave the grass without water, it will take longer to recover or end up not recovering at all. Furthermore, when the grass is weak, it is more susceptible to pests and diseases. 

Though mowing during the dry season isn’t advisable, you can still maintain your lawn if you follow the correct procedure. You should increase the lawnmower height by half an inch and ensure you don’t cut more than 1/3 of the height of your grass. 

Don’t Mow When the Sun is High

You might think it’s a good idea to fire up your mower after lunch and get your lawn in shape. However, it would be patient till late evening. Mowing when the sun is high is stressful to both you and the grass. 

When it is too sunny, you will get exhausted faster and might end up with a sunburn. Your grass may also get damaged since it doesn’t have enough time to recover. After the cuts, the grass needs moisture and less heat to recover.

The scorching sun makes this difficult and may lead to your grass becoming discolored, damaged, or dead. You should mow in the late afternoon to give your yard enough time to recover and avoid the hot temperatures. This way, your grass will have more than 12 hours to recover before the sun comes up. 

Don’t Mow After Fertilization

You can promote the growth of healthy grass by applying fertilizer. Fertilizers supply the soil with essential nutrients, leading to deep root formation and faster growth rates. Applying fertilizers will lead to a lush, healthy, and green lawn. 

However, you should not cut the grass immediately after applying fertilizer. When should mow after fertilization? Well, it depends on the fertilizer type you apply. You can use liquid or granular fertilizer, depending on the size of your garden. 

After applying liquid fertilizer, you should water the garden and wait for a few hours (2-4 hours) before cutting the grass. Avoid cutting the grass when it’s wet or it’s too soon before the grass absorbs the nutrients. 

If you apply granular fertilizer, you should also water it to activate the elements such as potassium and nitrogen. Watering also prevents the fertilizer from burning the grass since it will dissolve into the soil. After watering, wait 24-48 hours before cutting the grass. 

When mowing recently fertilized grass, do not use a grass catcher or bag the grass clipping. You should leave the grass clippings on the lawn to ensure that the applied fertilizer does not leave the garden before being completely dissolved. 

Other Scenarios When You Should Not Mow 

Besides the scenarios I have already mentioned, there are other times when you should avoid mowing your lawn. These scenarios include: 

During inappropriate hours 

Mowing your lawn at night may not be a problem for the grass itself, but the engine noise may disturb your neighbors. Furthermore, you might get into trouble with the authorities as most states have laws restricting nuisance noise at night. 

Your neighbors may also sue you for the disturbance. It is also risky to mow at night or early mornings when it’s dark as you can easily injure yourself or damage the lawnmower. 

When pets and children are nearby

You should avoid mowing your lawn when there are people around the garden. The mower blades can shoot rocks and other objects at high speeds, injuring you or anyone nearby the property. 

Children and pets can also cause distraction as they play on the lawn. This distraction can make you lose balance when riding the mower, leading to a severe accident. You can also lose control of the mower and cause damage to property like parked cars or injure people. 

When the grass is too short 

If your grass is already too short, you should not mow it. Generally, your grass should be at least 2 inches before cutting. If you mow short grass, it could lead to scalping, which will cause damage to the soil and the lawn. 

If your mower has a mechanical problem

You should stop mowing whenever you notice your specific lawnmower model has a mechanical problem. Check the mower and repair it using the user manual guide before you continue cutting the grass.

If you cannot solve the problem yourself, ask for assistance from a qualified repair mechanic. A mower with mechanical issues will mow ineffectively and cause damage to your lawn. Consequently, the blade may fly off and cause severe injury or damage to property. 

Mow at the Right Time

Mowing your lawnmower at the right time makes a massive difference between a well-maintained lawn and an unattractive one. Lucky for you, this article has outlined all the scenarios you should avoid mowing to ensure your lawn looks excellent at all times. 

Use the article as a guide to avoid making mistakes. If it has been helpful, share it with your friends, and let’s keep healthy lawns.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

Recent Posts