RIVERTON, Kan. (KSNF/KODE) — A good-looking, well-manicured lawn is what most homeowners strive for during the spring and summer months. But once the leaves begin to fall, most people can’t wait to put the lawnmower away and take a much-needed break from cutting the grass.
Now that fall is here and the temperatures begin to cool, when should you stop mowing the yard?
Lawn care experts say the ideal time to stop mowing is when the grass stops growing. It’s a general rule of thumb with which Alex Lambert, manager of Lambert Tractor and Machine Sales in Riverton, Kansas, agrees.
“Last year, we had a pretty bad drought, and that lasted through most of the summer. When we have years with very little rainfall during the peak summer months, the trees brown up quicker and the grass will also turn brown and stop growing. So the end of the mowing season came much sooner — I’m talking late July or early August,” said Lambert.
According to a recently published scientific case study on drought, the summer of 2022 was a very dry one across Missouri and the surrounding regions, including much of the Midwest. Data from the National Centers for Environmental Information shows much of Missouri and Kansas experienced moderate to severe drought conditions that summer.
“This year, there are still some places in the Midwest that have experienced significant drought conditions. However, the majority of us are still getting plenty of moisture. We also haven’t experienced the season’s first frost, so mowing continues,” said Lambert.
This season, Lambert anticipates the grass will continue to grow through the end of this month, keeping folks busy maintaining their lawn.
Between the months of October and November, experts in lawn care suggest you gradually reduce how often you mow. It’s also a good time to adjust the mower’s blade height — so that the grass in your yard is approximately 2 1/2 inches tall after you’ve finished mowing — and maintain this height until it stops growing. A lawn that’s cut too short this time of the year can cause irreversible damage.
“Your final cut of the season should be done once the outside air temperature consistently stays below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s recommended that you store mowing equipment in a dry location that’s protected from the outdoor elements, such as a garage or shed. This will help prolong the life of your mowers and save you money in the long run,” said Lambert.
Completing that final cut doesn’t mean the yard work is done. Soon, the ground will be covered in leaves, and if they’re not cleared on a regular basis, the layer of leaves will trap moisture and prevent sunlight from getting to your grass, potentially leaving you with a yard full of fungus, mold and disease that can easily kill or damage the grass.
“It’s important to continue lawn care during the fall and early winter months. If not, your yard will likely suffer, and it will show once the next growing season arrives,” said Lambert.
Taking care of your yard during the fall months can be rewarding. However, as winter approaches, it’s wise to keep the following rule in mind: “When the grass stops growing, you can stop mowing.”