Should you stop mowing your lawn in the autumn and winter?
It is a common question we are asked at Grass Clippings and our response is you should never stop mowing your lawn over the autumn or winter months. The rate of growth and mowing yield will dramatically reduce as the night and day time temperatures drop but the grass will never actually stop growing and you should always be prepared to mow it little and often. The grasses in the lawn much like the plants in the garden do not hibernate over the winter and early spring months - they still grow but so much slower - on tick over.
During the peak spring and summer months, your mowing activity should be twice a week or at least once a week. Mowing every two weeks and then mowing the lawn within an inch of it's life is such a bad practice. As autumn approaches, the grass growth will slow every month as we approach the winter. You will have the added burden of leaves to keep you busy and the occasional frost that may not clear from the lawn until later in the day or it may be raining at a weekend making it impossible to get out there to mow a fairly dry lawn.
You could consider raising the height of cut on the mower by one setting higher. If you end up with a dry, windy autumn day, maybe with a frost in the morning, clear the leaves form the lawn and give the lawn a mow. If ground conditions are a little soft under foot, it may be either from the effect of rain, frost or worm casts and worm activity. You might only mow it once every three to four weeks but it will thank you for it in the spring and start the new year in much better shape.
Do not be shy to mow your lawn a week before the celebrations of Thanks Giving or Christmas. A mown lawn will really lift a winterised garden and put a few stripes in the garden and smiles on the faces of the owner. As a Groundsman many years ago, I remember being called into work in-between Christmas and New Year to mow the sports fields as the weather was so damn mild and the grass growing madly. We were literally mowing and harvesting the clippings off the sports fields to get the playing surface ready for Hockey when term time resumed.
Don't forget to keep all foot and other traffic off the lawn when it is covered in frost otherwise you will see footprints across the surface a few days later where the tips of the frozen grasses have been literally snapped off.
Unlike many a Lawn Treatment Company, do not scarify the lawn over the winter/spring period unless you have a chance of some natural growth to aid recovery. The lawn will go white and horrible if the weather goes cold and frosty after scarifying and any bare areas will soon be populated with moss by the spring time. Not sure why they do it when they are meant to be the Lawn Experts.