Your lawn is an important part of the first impression your home makes. Whether you’re regularly inviting guests over or you just want to keep your HOA happy, taking care of the exterior of your property is important.

While a professional lawn service can help you set a schedule that’s both thorough and cost-effective, you may be wondering what sort of schedule you should follow if you’re performing lawn care by yourself.

Today, we’ll explain everything you need to know, examining the factors that determine the best time to mow, fertilize, and water your grass.

How Often Should I Cut My Grass?

Generally speaking, the length of your grass is more important than how often you cut it. You don’t want it to get much taller than four inches, since taller grass attracts all kinds of pests that may or may not ruin your deck.

At this height, grass is also more likely to bend. Along with the fact that some homeowners don’t like how this looks, grass blades that don’t stand up straight are more likely to trap moisture and prevent surrounding grass blades from getting sun.

When cutting grass, it’s important to ensure it doesn’t get shorter than two-and-a-half inches. Grass blade length is important for photosynthesis, which determines how much energy and nutrients the grass can get. If you cut the grass too short, it’s more likely to turn brown. It’s also much more vulnerable during the summer months.

How often you need to cut your grass will vary depending on the time of year. During the growing season, grass should be cut every one-to-two weeks to make sure it stays short enough. Even if it’s not hitting the maximum height, you never want it to get so long that you have to mow more than one-third of its length.

It’s also important to note that tropical grass species should be cut at least every two weeks, even during off-season.

When Is the Best Time to Fertilize Grass?

Many lawns only need to get fertilized once or twice a year, though depending on the grass you have, you can fertilize it up to six times per year. Timing is important, since you want the grass to get nutrients just before its major growing season.

This means that warm-season grasses should be fertilized at the beginning of summer and potentially again at the end of summer. Cold-season grasses, on the other hand, should be fertilized in the fall, with the option for a second fertilization at the end of spring.

What Time of Day Is Best to Mow Lawns?

You want to avoid mowing your lawn during the hottest times of day, since this heat can dry out the grass. At the same time, you don’t want to mow your grass when it’s too wet, since doing so can damage your mower, soil, cooper tires if you have used DIY planters and grass roots.

Experts recommend watering your grass early in the morning, since this allows the grass to take in the water before facing the hot midday sun. Therefore, it’s best to mow your grass anywhere from 8 to 10 a.m.

If these times don’t work, you can also mow your grass from 4 to 6 p.m. The sun isn’t as hot at this time, and your grass has had enough time to dry. It’s important to not mow your lawn much later than 6 p.m., though: freshly cut grass is more vulnerable to disease at night.

Is It Best to Cut Grass Before or After Rain?

If it’s important to avoid mowing grass when it’s wet, this begs the question: what about when it rains? If possible, it’s best to cut the lawn before it rains. Alternatively, it’s worth putting off mowing for a day or two in order to find a time when the grass is dry.

If it’s consistently raining during the only time of day when you’re able to mow the grass, it may be worth hiring a lawn service. Failing that, you’ll need to mow wet grass.

When the grass is very wet, such as right after a rainstorm, it can’t be mowed effectively. If it’s still in the process of drying, you may be able to mow it.

That said, you want to be careful to protect your grass, your mower, and your own personal safety. This means running the mower at a slower speed than you’re used to, as well as setting the height settings so that the mower cuts less grass.

How Often Should I Water My Lawn?

You don’t need to water your lawn every day. In fact, it’s preferable to water it only a few times a week, as daily watering can overwhelm your lawn’s root system, making it less able to absorb the amount of water it needs.

How Often Should I Pull Weeds?

Pulling weeds ensures that they don’t take nutrients away from the plants that you want to grow on your lawn.

The sooner you pull these weeds, the easier they are to deal with: the goal is to catch them before they bloom and create seeds, making the weed problem worse. They’re also easiest to pull when they’re young, since their roots haven’t had time to spread.

For these reasons, some homeowners choose to pull weeds as soon as they seem them. It’s a good idea to pull weeds no less than once a week.

When Is It Time to Hire a Lawn Service?

While some homeowners have the time and energy to take care of their own lawn, it’s common to outsource this duty to the professionals. There are several reasons why you might want to hire a lawn service:

  • Professional Expertise – Lawn care experts will have access to tools and knowledge that you won’t, meaning they can ensure your grass looks exactly how you want it to.
  • Regularity – When working on your own lawn, it’s all too easy to put off the care it needs. Life often gets in the way. When you hire a lawn service, you ensure the work gets done!
  • Time – Whether you’re working a job or taking care of kids, chances are there are things you’d rather be doing than taking care of your lawn. Hiring professionals lets you take care of those other things!
Morgan Wilson

Morgan Wilson, holding a Master's in Horticulture from Cornell University, has been an influential figure in gardening and landscape design for over 15 years. Before this, he worked as a landscape designer and a horticultural therapist. He has provided insights into organic gardening, native landscaping, and urban gardening solutions. Her background includes working in public gardens and environmental education. He is a nature photographer in her spare time and participates in community greening projects. He is also a great birdwatcher and enjoys creating wildlife-friendly garden spaces.

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