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The Last Mow of the Year

Why it Might Be the Most Important for Your Lawn

Temperatures are beginning to plummet, which means that fall is well underway. Although it might seem like the perfect time to head indoors for a season or two of cold-weather hibernation, don’t leave your yard to its own devices just yet. This time of year is crucial for many turfgrasses, and your efforts now can greatly impact the state of your lawn come springtime. 


Keep Mowing


A growing concern in the world of lawn care is homeowners retiring their mowers too early in the season. Unlike summer, fall typically does not conjure up images of Saturday mornings spent outdoors on the lawn. That being said, the growing season can (and often does!) continue well into November, and it is essential to give your lawn the attention it needs before cold weather stresses set in. 


When it comes to cutting your lawn, we have a saying here at Weed Man: keep mowing if it’s still growing. Pay close attention to your turf’s growing patterns, particularly if we have an unseasonably warm autumn, and be sure to mow your lawn regularly until growth ceases. You’ll want to keep it at a height of around 2.5-3 inches and only remove 1/3 of the grass blade at each cutting session. Regular mowing will help keep your lawn healthy, strong, and well-fed as it gears up for colder temperatures. As an added benefit, mowing can help mulch leaves and other turf-smothering debris that may be coating your lawn. 


The Last Mow of the Year

 When you are ready to cut the lawn for the last time this year, be sure to mow low (around 1.5 inches for Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass lawns; 2 inches for tall fescue). This final mowing can be the most important cut of the year for your lawn, simply because the way you go about it will determine your lawn’s resilience and ability to resist diseases throughout the winter months ahead. 


Why Mow Low?


  • To prevent flopping/bending. If grass blades are left too long, they can flop over and provide too much shade to surrounding grass plants. This leads to a lack of photosynthesis and less “food” made for your lawn. 

  • To prevent matting. When grass becomes top heavy, it clumps together and provides a breeding ground for winter fungal diseases like snow mold. 

  • Short turf stands up like a wire brush, making it stiffer and better able to resist snow and ice damage.  


For the last cut of fall, lower your mower blade one notch or set your mower deck to the lowest mowing height recommended for your turf. If possible, use a mulching mower and leave grass clippings on the lawn, as they can provide additional nutrients for the roots to store for use over the winter and early spring.


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