Timing is Everything: Knowing When to Unleash Your Mower for the First Cut of the Season

by | Mar 7, 2024

Spring brings a sense of renewal and excitement, especially for those of us who find joy and satisfaction in the simple act of mowing our lawns. Across the diverse climates of the United States, the question of when to start mowing can vary greatly, but the anticipation of that first cut remains a universal feeling.

Let’s delve into how to pinpoint the perfect time to start your lawn care season, ensuring your grass gets the best start possible.


Understanding Your Lawn’s Needs

The first step is recognizing that grass, like any plant, has its own cycle of dormancy and growth. Coming out of winter, your lawn needs time to “wake up” and start growing actively before it’s ready to be cut. Mowing too early can stress the grass, hindering its robustness for the rest of the year.


Watch the Temperature

Grass starts to grow at different times based on the climate zone, but a good rule of thumb is to wait until consistent daytime temperatures are regularly above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For much of the U.S., this means the mowing season typically begins around late March through early May. However, those in warmer southern regions might find their lawns ready earlier, while cooler northern areas may need to wait a bit longer.


Observe Grass Length

Another clear indicator is the length of your grass. A healthy height for most grass types before the first mow is about 3 inches. This length ensures the grass has enough leaf to perform photosynthesis effectively, feeding the roots and promoting strong growth. Cutting it too short, too soon, can lead to a weakened lawn susceptible to diseases and pests.


Consider the Soil

Wet, soggy soil is a sign you should hold off on mowing. Early spring can be wet in many parts of the country, and mowing on soggy ground can compact the soil and damage the grass roots. Wait until the ground is firmer, which allows for cleaner cuts and less damage to the lawn.


The Joy of the First Mow

There’s something incredibly rewarding about the first mow of the season. It’s not just about the act itself, but what it represents: the commencement of another cycle of growth and the promise of lush, green days ahead. Remember, the goal of the first mow is to trim lightly, removing no more than one-third of the grass height to encourage healthy growth without stressing the lawn.


Preparing for Success

Before that eagerly anticipated first mow, ensure your mower is up to the task. A bit of preseason maintenance—checking the oil, sharpening the blades, and ensuring all parts move smoothly—can make all the difference in achieving that satisfying, clean cut.

Determining the right time for the first mow of the season combines science, observation, and a bit of patience. By paying attention to the temperature, grass length, and soil condition, you can ensure that your lawn gets off to a healthy start. And when you finally do start up the mower and make those first passes over the grass, it’s not just the lawn that’s being rejuvenated—it’s your spirit, too. Here’s to a season of growth, satisfaction, and the simple joys of mowing.