When is the last time to cut grass before winter?

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When is the last time to cut grass before winter?
Mowing becomes less frequent in autumn and may even stop in winter. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Conventional wisdom has it that grass should not be mowed during winter because of the reduced rate of growth. However, winter weather conditions can vary greatly. As a result, it may sometimes be necessary to cut grass in winter. Deciding on whether and when to cut grass depends on a number of factors.

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Typical mowing schedule

The frequency of mowing depends on the weather. In the UK, most lawns experience their highest growth rates during the hot, but relatively damp months of May and June. During this period, mowing might be as frequent as once a week. This schedule may be kept through the summer if it is wet, or even into September. Typically, however, mowing frequency falls in late summer and then rises again in September. The last regular mowing of the year usually takes place in November.

Winter without mowing

The conventional wisdom that grass shouldn't be cut during winter comes down to the fact that British winter weather usually keeps grass growth to a minimum. When the air temperature drops below 5 degrees, grass will stop growing. However, some may find that even the reduced growth of the winter season can still leave a lawn looking scruffy.

Grass conditions in winter

If a lawn is to be mowed in winter, it's important to make sure that it happens under the right conditions. Winter brings a number of new threats to grass. Frost can make grass brittle. Pressure on a frosted grass blade will break off its tip, causing unsightly patches your lawn. Wet weather can also lead to muddy ground. Walking on soft ground can cause lasting damage to the grass.

Mowing in winter

The trick to mowing in winter, then, is to choose a day with the right conditions. The mowing day should be mild and dry. Because grass grows more slowly in winter, the height of the cut should be higher than a summer or spring cut; the goal is only to cut away the tops of the blades, creating a neat, even appearance, rather than to cut back growth.

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