How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn? Expert Tips and Advice

Wondering how often you should mow your lawn? You know how much time and care it takes to maintain your lawn and keep it healthy. Finding the perfect lawn mowing schedule where you strike a balance between mowing frequently….but not too often can be tricky to figure out at first, but it’s definitely something you can master.

How often should you mow your lawn?

The common recommendation is that you should mow your lawn about once a week, but you have to know that this can easily vary depending on your type of grass. To create your perfect lawn mowing schedule you should become familiar with the factors that determine how often you should mow your own lawn.

The Backyard Master

To provide some context, certain professional lawns with high-quality grass, such as those you would find in parks, stadiums, and golf courses, are maintained and mowed daily.

Now, this most likely won’t apply to the average lawn owner, but it demonstrates the fact that every lawn is different, and determining how often you should mow your own lawn will ultimately come down to your own diagnosis.

Today we are going to walk you through the key factors to help you figure that out.

Judging When to Mow Your Lawn

When you’re trying to decide how often to cut your grass, the general rule of mowing your lawn about once a week is a very reasonable guideline.

But again, this doesn’t apply to every type of lawn.

You need to know that this “rule of thumb” results from long-standing mowing advice and techniques; the rule itself is not standardized. Mowing once a week is also heavily influenced by the average person’s work schedule and using the weekend as a convenient time to keep the yard from getting out of control.

But really it’s not so much about following a rigid schedule; it’s more about properly judging when you actually should mow your lawn, which is what we will discuss.

The main factors to keep in mind when deciding whether you need to mow your lawn or not are:

  • Grass length
  • Season
  • Weather

Grass Length

The easiest way to decide when you should cut your grass is too look at it.

Even people who aren’t obsessed with lawn care at all probably have the basic idea: “When the grass looks too long, cut it.”

What also makes this approach so effective is that you can set up your own schedule to correspond with the length you like your grass to be. If you prefer your grass a little longer, then you might be able to get away with only mowing every 10-12 days, as opposed to someone who prefers the appearance of a tightly cut lawn.

While personal preference and opinion can definitely be your guiding factor when choosing the length of your lawn, you also want to consider what is best for the health and growth pattern for your specific type of grass.

You can use this chart to help you see what the ideal length for many common grasses below:

Suggested Mowing Height Guidelines for Common Grass Types
Bermudagrass0.5-2.5 inches
Centipede1-2.5 inches
St. Augustine1-3 inches
Tall Fescue1.5-4 inches
Kentucky Bluegrass1-3.5 inches
Perennial Ryegrass0.75-2.5 inches
Source: Turf Magazine

As you can see in the chart above, there is a range of ideal cutting heights. What is important to note is that most grass types do not do well when cut shorter than 1 inch. Perennial Ryegrass and Bermudagrass are the exceptions to this rule, so if you prefer a tight cut lawn and have the time to mow frequently those are good grasses that can tolerate frequent mowing and a shorter height.

Seasonal Cutting

Another factor that also affects when you should mow your lawn is the current season.

Grasses are categorized into one of two groups based on their preferred climate: 

  • Warm-weather – warm-weather grass grows best during spring and summer
  • Cold-weather – cold-weather grass grows best during fall and winter

This seasonal distinction indicates the peak period of growth that the grass will have.

As you might guess, this will also impact often to cut the grass because the season will affect how fast the grass will grow after it’s been cut. 

So if you have a warm season grass and it’s during the spring or summer that grass is going to be growing at a very high rate. During this time, you might find yourself mowing for frequently in order to keep your grass within the suggested height guidelines and not getting out of control.

Make sense?

In addition to the broad season, the local weather will also impact whether you should cut your grass or not. This kind of judgment would happen more on a case-by-case basis, but some general examples are that you should avoid mowing your lawn when it’s wet, and you should keep your lawn a little longer when it’s thawing from winter.

Determining Your Ideal Lawn Mowing Schedule

Once you’ve determined what type of grass you have and how tall you want it to be, it’s time to create a good schedule that you can follow for consistency and optimal conditions for a healthy and happy lawn.

When it comes to making a schedule for your lawn mowing, you should be aware of three things:

  • Deciding when you have time to mow
  • Knowing the growth pattern for the current season
  • Determining how much of the grass you will need to cut

Let’s begin by discussing the ideal frequency for lawn mowing.

Ideal Lawn Mowing Frequency

We’ve now arrived back at our essential question you came for, which is how often should you mow your lawn. Again, the general idea is that when you mow once a week it will keep your lawn looking great and for the majority of lawns this schedule will also keep your grass within the suggested cutting heights by grass type.

Like we’ve mentioned before, the season will impact how often you mow because different grasses will grow at different rates depending on the season at hand.

How Often to Mow in Spring/Summer:

During the warmer months, warm season grasses will be experiencing their growing peak. This means that you will need to increase your mowing frequency. If you are really into your lawn and want it looking it’s best you may be mowing every 3-5 days during this time.

If you have a cool season grass type, they will be entering a period of slower growth and you will be mowing less frequently.

How Often to Mow in Fall/Winter:

The growth patterns during this time are going to be the exact opposite of what we just discussed.

Now is the time that you will see cool season grasses at their growth peak, so if that is what you have in your lawn your mowing schedule may need to be adjusted to account for the increased growth.

At the same time, the warm season grasses will now be entering a period of latent growth and you will most likely be able to extend your lawn mowing schedule back to once every 7(ish) days and still get the length you desire.

Knowing everything you can about your particular grass and the climate in which you live, along with your own personal preferences will help you determine how frequently you will need to cut your grass.

The One-Third Rule

When it comes to mowing your grass, there is one important rule that you need to be aware of: the one-third rule. 

This straightforward rule says that you should never cut off more than a third of your grass length.

This is important to keep in mind when you have a lawn that has gotten unruly. While it is very tempting to get in their and whack it down, this can severely damage your lawn.

Instead you want to adjust your mower to take off no more than 1/3 of the total length of the grass blade. If you still want it shorter, wait a few days for the grass to recover and then mow again to get it to the height you desire.

When to Let Your Grass Grow

One last factor to establish a good lawn mowing schedule is to give your grass a natural period of rest and growth.

While it’s obvious that your grass will grow after you cut it, you want to make sure that you let it grow long enough, before the next cutting or the grass will become stressed and the overall health of your lawn will suffer.

Lawn Mowing FAQ’s

Does frequent mowing thicken grass?

Frequent mowing will help to improve the health of your grass as well as make it thicker and improve density. By cutting your grass more often during the growing season it will train your grass to grow in a more in a lateral manner compared to just growing upright. This method works great for all grass types but is especially effective with grass that has stolon’s and/or rhizomes like Kentucky Bluegrass or Bermuda grass.

Is it bad to mow a lawn twice a week?

If your lawn is actively growing mowing it twice a week will improve the quality of your lawn. When you more your lawn more often you are going to be taking off less of the leaf blade. Removing and cutting less tissue from the grass blade will decrease the stress on your grass and promote a healthy lawn.

Can I get away with just mowing once a month?

Mowing once a month will be hard on your lawn and your equipment. During a month of growth your lawn can grow up to 6 inches or so. If you are going to only mow once a month you would want to cut your lawn as high as you can preferably around 4 inches or so. By doing this it will put less stress on your grass. By increasing your mowing interval to twice a month you will have a better quality of turf.

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