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When should I cut my grass?

First_cut_of_the_lawnWe have been noticing on our search stats that a lot of the queries relate to the timing of the first grass cut of the season.

I am not sure if the searcher is actually expecting to get a result with a specific date when the lawn comes to life. The answer to the question is - There is no set time or defining moment when you need to get onto your lawn.

No two lawns are the same and no two gardens, even if they are side by side, are the same so it follows that any advice given here may well be appropriate for one lawn owner and not for the next.

To circumnavigate the question slightly, it is probably best to give a little check list of what to look for and how to gauge the timing.

Grass will grow all through the year and that includes the winter. The severity of the winter and the temperature will dictate the rate of growth and it naturally follows that temperatures of below freezing for a prolonged period will determine pretty much zero growth whilst temperatures in January of double digit numbers will see the leaf blade shrug off the winter blues and add a little growth.

You will really have to be the judge and jury. The general advice, and this is still determined and influenced by many factors, is if you decide to set your winter grass length at 25-40mm and the grass grows beyond the limits that you have set, then the grass can be cut.

Avoid cutting in the winter if the surface is either saturated or frozen but after a decent drying day it is safe to run the mower over the lawn.

Never take more than one third of the leaf blade at any one time (good advice that is relevant at any time of the year) and if for any reason the grass gets away a bit then take two or more cuts, reducing the height each time, until you are back to the required length.

Certainly cutting the grass frequently will remove any dangers of shock later in the season. I have been witness to many a distressed lawn in the spring time when the owner has decided to take all 8 inches of growth off in one foul swoop.

The dangers of cutting so much off in one go are several. Firstly, a shocked grass plant will spend a period of convalescence and become insular as it recovers. In this time, moss, weeds and undesirable grass species may infiltrate and start to colonise leading to competition and eventual exclusion of the desired grass.

In turn, you will probably be faced with an expensive over seeding or turfing exercise to get your garden back on the right track.

The old saying, 'a stitch in time, saves nine' is probably a good one so little and often and before it becomes a problem are good rules.

Enjoy your lawn and have a good season.


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When can I give my lawn it's first cut.

Reply - now!


Hi there, please help!!!

I have a large grassed garden. I have in filled a few flower beds with soil and then turfed and they look great.
my problem is that the main areas of grass are very long and in parts look yellow and stingy at the base but green at the tips.
The soil is of poor quality and mainly clay. This has resulted in not being able to get on and cut as the ground is far to soggy for a sit on or even a rotary mower.

I have also made the mistake of cutting the front lawn to short. (I cut the first cut on highest setting but then decided to go down a notch straight away) this has resulted in a very white patchy lawn.
I have managed to get on some of the lawn to use the Rotary mower but most is so soggy that it is causing to much damage to the lawn.

any thoughts please? do I just have to wait till it eventually drys out then cut high and hope that the base is not to badly damaged?



Reply: Darron, trying to get on a clay based lawn over the winter months when it is mild and the grass seeds a top is a nightmare. You can only try with a predestrian lawn mower as a ride on would be too heavy. You will need to wait until it dries out to tackle the growth. Then fertilise and over seed. When the weather gets a little warmer when spring arrives, it will soon colour up but if it has suffered waterlogging over this wet autumn and winter the turf grasses will thin out and also suffer by going a bit yellow.

On the front lawn, mowing it down too much first time is a bit of a nightmare and you have answered your own question here.

Type in 'drainage' 'wet lawn 'aeration' 'lawn renovation' to come up with one of over 990 articles to help you. BEst read up first then act on our advice, not the other way round!

pete fouracres

bit confused which is the best month to 1st cut the lawn so people say march others say april could you let me know peter

Reply - take a look at our last post about when to start mowing. If the lawn is growing and you can get the mower on it without making a mess, just lightly top the grass removing no more than 25% of growth. You can mow all year around if the lawn is growing, maybe only monthly in the winter months but mowing non the less!


This year I will be making the first cut in Feb as the grass has grown in patches so plan to just trim.

Thanks for the great piece of sharing. I have already bookmarked your blog for future references.


I know this is old and I search on google i found your site.

I am from NY and plan to cut my grass this weekend not sure is safe or not. The reason i want to cut the grass because i want to spread crabgrass preventer. The temperature is around 50 degree. Do you think its safe to cut?

Reply - thanks for your reply. Mow it now, but not too low first mowing session. Good luck!

clare wright

hi i rotavated and completely started again with my lawn a year ago last september, i used seed without rye grass, this will be the second spring and it is really lumpy and a bit dry looking in patches, allot of looks as though it has died, i dont want to have to start over , how do i get it to being a lovely lawn and how do i get the bumps out?????

Reply - The autumn and winter has been quite dry and worm casts may be causing the bumps. I would search the blog and type in 'Lawn Renovation' and read a technical post that starts 'I am often asked by clients...' and follow the flow chart of the lawn renovation process.

golf course fertilizer runoff

I suggest you cut the grass once a week.

Reply - yes, we agree!


Cut it only on a thursday at 10:17am

Reply - thanks for your comments - glad you noted the precise time!

John Nelson

I recently had the lawn returfed about one month ago. It is getting quite long but I am reluctant to cut it until I get a completely dry day. Any ideas or comments.

Reply - pick a nice windy day. No more than 25% of the growth off in any one mowing session. You could try just taking the tip off and them do it again in a few days after. Just remember to keep it cut if conditions permit throughout the autumn - spring. It will not stop growing!

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