By Gary Garner Sr.
I get many questions and see much written about the best time to mow your lawn. My answer is when you have time and when it’s convenient to do so. I know this sounds flippant, but in today’s busy world not everything can be done at the best time. If you work a nine to five job that’s makes doing lawn or garden work at mid-morning out of the question.
I will suggest some best times but remember whether it’s my suggestion or something you read or see put out by high priced garden experts its only suggestions. Your garden or lawn is not going to be a total failure if you do it when it’s convenient for you.
Getting a good start on the day by mowing at eight or nine in the morning is normally not that great for the health of the lawn. The grass will likely be wet with dew. Mowing wet grass usually results in uneven mowing heights, clumps of clippings, clippings sticking to the undercarriage of your mower and may cause disease problems.
Mid-morning nine, ten or eleven o’clock ideally will be the best time to mow your lawn. The dew or irrigation should have dried off the grass. It’s still relatively cool resulting in a good time to mow before the day heats up. If it’s convenient this would be my first choice in the right time to mow.
Mid-day would not be an ideal time to mow. It is the hottest time of the day. The grass may be limp from the heat which would cause the cut to be uneven. The heat also makes outside work difficult. Cutting during the hottest part of the day could also result in stress to the turf.
Late afternoon, during the four to six o’clock time period would be the second-best time of day to mow. The heat will be starting downward making mowing somewhat easier. The lawn will also have time to recover before the night falls.
Early evening may be the worst time of all to mow. This would be in the six o’clock plus time frame. The grass needs time to heal and recover before night falls. The lawn is most prone to fungus and other problems during the night.
Last words on mowing. Never try to mow your lawn on a weekly schedule. I know people that mow every Thursday afternoon or every Saturday morning while its cool. Grass does not grow the same every day. Rainfall, heat, clouds and humidity all effect the growth rate. The optimum mowing height for grasses in Central Virginia is 2 and ½ inches to 3 inches in height. Try to never cut off more than one inch at a time. There are times when grass will easily grow over an inch in two days, at other times it may not grow an inch in two weeks. Govern how often you mow by how fast the grass grows.