Mowing your lawn in the winter

By | 20/12/2017
A snowman on a winter lawn

Should I mow my lawn in the winter? On my rounds as a lawn care technician, I am often asked this by customers. My answer is always “it depends“.

From a horticultural perspective, grass does not need mowing during the winter. Grass needs a temperature of at least 5°C for shoot growth. Soil temperatures in the winter are often lower than this.

In the UK, some years we do have a warmer winter. Even then, low light levels do not promote very much growth in lawns.

So should you mow your lawn in the winter if it is hardly growing?

Mowing your lawn in the winter

Here are some good reasons to mow your lawn in the winter.

  1. Clean debris from the lawn. In the winter, trees lose their leaves and shed dead twigs in the wind. Winter debris blows all over your garden. Grass needs access to light and if it covered by leaves over the winter it will yellow. Leave this over the winter and you may find that the grass under the leaves is dead. This may be expensive to repair in the spring. Keep an eye on the corners of your garden and areas at the edge of your lawn, as these are most at risk for debris build up.
  2. It makes it look good. If you mow your lawn in the winter it will make it look a lot more attractive. Cleaning the lawn and helping the grass to stand up makes your whole garden a much nicer place to spend a cold day. It will also benefit your grass.
  3. Forces you to check the lawn over. Running a mower over the lawn during the winter will force you to check the lawn. Fungal diseases and grub damage can appear on your lawn over the winter. Mowing your lawn forces you to check for any issues. Keep an eye on your lawn and call your local lawn care expert if you find anything which may be unusual. Catching any problems early can prevent further damage later on.

When NOT to mow your lawn

Do not mow your lawn in the winter if it is frosty.

Image from Max Pixel

Do not mow your lawn in the winter if it suffers from any of the following:

  1. Frost or snow. If your grass as it is under snow you don’t want to be mowing it. If there is some snow melt left over or a frost, stay off it. Pushing a heavy machine on frozen grass will snap the grass blades, damaging the lawn.
  2. It is too wet. If the soil is very wet, also stay off the lawn. Walking around on very wet soil can destroy its structure. This will cause problems for the grass later on in the year. Also, trying to mow wet grass can rip it, leading to untidy, damaged grass.
  3. It is very long. You should not cut down long grass in the winter. Long grass tends to have leaves towards the top of the plant. It needs these over the winter to maintain health. If you mow long grass short, you will cut off these leaves, leaving grass stalks. Grass will take a long time to grow replacement leaves when it is cold, so the grass will suffer. Wait until spring before cutting it if the grass is long.

If the conditions are correct and your grass needs a trim, you will not do it any harm mowing your lawn in the winter. It can be part of your winter lawn care regime.

If you have any questions about your lawn, please leave a comment below or ask a lawn care question.

Main image downloaded from Max Pixel.

Snow on grass

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