When Should You Start Mowing Your Lawn in the Spring?

A verdant, well-manicured lawn is the result of patient, consistent maintenance and is the pinnacle of home gardening success. Beautiful beds can only be enhanced by a lawn that's in top shape. You wouldn't expect your trees and shrubs to perform well year after year with improper or neglected pruning, and the same holds true for grass. Mowing at regular, scheduled intervals will greatly enhance the quality of your lawn, which represents the largest cultivated square footage in many home landscapes.

Boy on lawn mower
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Begin Early

Where you live will directly affect when you begin to mow your lawn in the spring. For example, experts from the University of Illinois Extension suggest that, for the northern part of that state, April is typically the month for the first mow. The true key to mowing on time is to watch the height of your grass. When new seedling blades or established lawns reach 3 inches in height, it's time to begin the mowing schedule.

Watch the Height

Once the grass height has reached 3 inches, your job is to maintain a schedule of mowing that allows you to remove only the top one-third of the blades at each mowing. Remove more than that and you may stress the grass, causing damage. Allowing the grass to grow too tall leaves you little choice but to do multiple cuttings if you are following the one-third guideline. A good rule of thumb is to allow the grass to grow to 3 inches, then remove one-third of that height, or 1 inch, for a level lawn of 2 inches at all times.

Monitor Grass Health

Each lawn will behave differently depending on a variety of factors. Whether you have sod or seed, the type of seed you planted, climate conditions, soil type and water availability will all affect the health of your grass. Monitor the grass carefully beginning in early spring for signs of growth and overall health. Keep in mind that a lawn kept at 2 inches and mowed regularly discourages weed growth, maintains moisture better, and reduces disease frequency.