When to Mow Your Yard this Spring

green grass on sunny day

Considered by many a gateway to the home, a neatly trimmed lawn sets the stage for a welcoming, nurturing atmosphere. Since the first mow of the season is just around the corner, there’s no time like the present for you to learn the ropes of springtime mowing. 

To get you started, we unveil when to mow your yard this spring to help eliminate some of those first-cut jitters and usher in a lush, velvety carpet of green.

How Do I Know It’s Time to Mow My Lawn in Spring?

Photo Credit: Kativ / Canva Pro / License

If it’s springtime, you’re probably anxious to get your lawn care regimen started. But it’s hard to say when you should start cutting your grass, as the timing depends on several factors. These key indicators can tell you when it’s time to take your mower out of storage.

Grass Height

In most areas of the country, the mowing season starts around May. But a better indicator that it’s time to mow is grass height. When your grass reaches about 3 inches, it’s time to start the mower. Of course, depending on your grass type, you’ll need to get a bit more specific. Consider these recommended mowing heights for different types of grass:

Grass nameGrass typeRecommended cutting height
Tall fescueCool-season3 – 3 ½ inches
Fine fescueCool-season2 ½  4 inches
Kentucky bluegrassCool-season2 ½ – 3 inches
Perennial ryegrassCool-season2 ½ inches
BentgrassCool-season¼ – 1 inch
BermudagrassWarm-season1 – ½ inches
CentipedegrassWarm-season1 – 2 inches
St. AugustinegrassWarm-season2 – 3 inches
ZoysiagrassWarm-season1 – 2 inches
BuffalograssWarm-season2 – 3 inches
BahiagrassWarm-season3 – 4 inches
CarpetgrassWarm-season1 – 2 inches

Pro tip: Never remove more than one-third of the grass length. Routine close mowing will turn your lawn brown, increase vulnerability to disease and pests, harm the crown, and damage tender root systems.


Warm-season grasses grow most vigorously throughout late spring and early summer, which is when you should pay attention to the height of your grass and cut it accordingly. Ideal temperatures for warm-season grass growth are 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

A picture showing growth of warm season grass round the year
Infographic by Juan Rodriguez

In contrast, cool-season grasses thrive in spring and fall temperatures above 60 degrees but below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re well adapted to areas that experience seasonal extremes: freezing winters and hot summers.

A picture showing growth of cool season grass round the year
Infographic by Juan Rodriguez

During each grass type’s growing season, you may need to mow two times a week. In the spring, try to mow your lawn every three to five days to keep it looking green and healthy. Regular mowing is key to creating and maintaining a healthy and happy lawn; ultimately, letting your grass guide you is the best course of action.

Weather Conditions

The weather in your area should factor into your mowing schedule. If you’re experiencing a wet spring, you’ll have difficulty cutting your grass to your liking. Mow a dry lawn to avoid clogging your mower with wet grass clippings and cutting your lawn unevenly. Dry grass is also easier to cut because it sticks up straight.

Likewise, try not to mow in the heat to avoid putting stress on the grass and yourself. The best time of day for mowing is in the early morning (before 10 a.m., but after morning dew evaporates), late afternoon, or early evening. Heat stroke, sunburn, and exhaustion are no laughing matter, so take appropriate breaks and stay hydrated.

Keep an eye on soil temperatures, as they play a key role in grass growth. Cool-season grasses start coming out of dormancy when temperatures are between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas warm-season grasses need temperatures of between 70 and 90 degrees.

How to Achieve a Pristine Lawn

close-up of lawn mower blade that is chipped
Photo Credit: JJ Gouin / Canva Pro / License

Mowing requires attention to detail. Otherwise, your grass will suffer for it, and that dream of having a breathtaking lawn will disappear like smoke. We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks for successful mowing.

  • Sharpen your mower blades. You wouldn’t whip out a rusty pair of shears to cut your baby’s hair for the first time, so don’t do that to your lawn,  either. Sharpen your mowing blades before firing up that mower for the first time. You can either do this yourself (carefully!) or take them to a shop to have them serviced professionally. A sharp blade will leave your lawn looking good and contribute to its overall health.
  • Level the deck. If you have a push mower, adjust the wheels to the same height. With a riding lawnmower, make sure both wheels are inflated equally. Whichever type you have, you’ll want a nice, even deck for a level cut. Otherwise, you’ll have crooked mowing patterns and compromised lawn health.
  • Vary your mowing pattern. Repetition can lead to your grass blades leaning toward your mow, and they won’t stand up for a crisp, clean cut. It also can form ruts (compacted areas), requiring you to loosen up the soil. Shake things up by mowing in a different direction every time.
  • Don’t set an arbitrary schedule for mowing. Rather, mow as often as needed for your grass type, growing conditions, and season. 
  • Don’t leave clippings on the grass. While a small amount is recommended for fertilization purposes, providing your grass with water and nutrients, too much will cut off sunlight and kill your grass.

FAQ About Mowing Your Yard This Spring

What’s the Ideal Mowing Height for that First Spring Cut?

Your first mow should be more like a trim, resulting in longer grass, around 3 or 3.5 inches in height (regardless of grass type). After that, you can begin cutting your grass according to type.

How Do I Get My Mower Ready for Spring?

Start by cleaning your mower. Remove any solidified grass and dirt clumps that may have become caked on your tool. Use a power washer to remove any additional clippings, twigs, or debris. Finish up with some wax for shine.

Did you know you have to lubricate your mower’s moving parts? Applying oil will ensure the mower runs better and all components glide smoothly during a mow. After about 50 hours of use, it’s also a good idea to change the oil in your mower and fill it up with fresh gas. Gasoline can go stale after 30 days and cause engine damage.

Finally, we recommend inserting a new spark plug to help your tool start and work properly. 

What Time of the Year Should I Stop Cutting My Grass?

Depending on where you live, you may have cool-season grass, warm-season grass, or a mix of both (if you’re in the Transition Zone). Once temperatures in your area drop to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll notice your grass won’t grow much anymore, entering dormancy.

What are the Best Ways to Get My Lawn Ready for Spring?

Once springtime rolls around:

  • Scrutinize your lawn. Check for bare spots or weeds that may have sprouted as well as brown patches, an indication of disease or pests. Should you find problems, apply the proper treatments immediately.
  • Get weeds under control before they have a chance to sprout by applying pre-emergent herbicides.
  • Heavy foot traffic, dog urine, or negligence can take a toll on your lawn. Consider overseeding to return it to its former glory.
  • Test your soil and apply lawn fertilizer if necessary, promoting new, healthy spring growth. 
  • Water your lawn according to its needs and weather conditions. Cool-season grass needs around 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week from either rainfall or irrigation. Warm-season grass can thrive on less water, but try to stick to around 1 inch for this variety as well.
  • Remove excess thatch. While some amount is recommended, as it provides important nutrients for your grass, protects against damage, and helps the soil better retain water and fertilizer, more than 1 inch can suffocate your lawn and attract pests and fungi.
  • Aerate your lawn as needed. If your lawn gets heavy foot traffic, your soil may become too compacted and block grass growth. Aerating in spring will allow existing grass to push through and grow thick by summer.

Hire a Pro to Help

Do you want to transform your lawn into a masterpiece and elevate your curb appeal but don’t have the time for DIY? You’re in luck. A local lawn care expert can transform your lawn and bring out the best in your outdoor space. They can fertilize your lawn, remove thatch, aerate, and apply herbicides to your liking. All so you don’t have to.

Main Photo Credit: oatawa / Canva Pro / License

Andie Ioo

Andie Ioo

In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband, sports, trying out new recipes, reading, and watching reruns of '90s TV shows. As a way to relax and decompress, I enjoy landscaping around my little yard and DIY home projects.