Cutting Grass In Spring: When is the Best Time?
While lawn care may seem simple at first, there are a lot of things you may begin to question when considering starting up your springtime lawn care. Especially if you are new to Colorado or a first-time homeowner, you may not know the answers to questions like when to begin cutting your grass, how short to cut your lawn, or what time of day is best to mow. That is why we are here to help! We want you to feel confident in maintaining your lawn and want to make sure you are aware of everything there is to know about how to take care of your lawn so you can keep it lush and healthy throughout the entire year.
When To Cut Grass First Time in Spring
It is best to wait to cut your grass until your irrigation system is turned on. Early spring precipitation may be enough to encourage your grass to start to grow, but cutting your grass back when it isnt getting consistent water can do more harm than good. Cutting it back too early in the spring when it isnt actively growing can also shock your grass. It is important to be able to water your grass after you cut it to help it bounce back and continue to grow. So, if you are considering when to mow lawn in spring, we recommend waiting until you turn on your irrigation system for the season. If your grass is vigorously growing and needs to be cut before you have had a chance to turn on your sprinklers for the season, go ahead and mow, but try to water your grass manually afterwards.
Can You Mow Your Lawn Too Early?
It is definitely possible to cut your crass too early in the spring. As we briefly mentioned above, cutting your grass too early can do more harm than good if you are not able to water your grass right after cutting it for the first time in spring. Grass cannot be actively growing without water, and cutting it back without it being able to actively rejuvenate can damage and even kill your grass. So, when considering cutting grass in spring, wait until your sprinkler system is turned on or make sure you are at least able to manually water your grass thoroughly after you mow.
How Short To Cut Grass in Spring
If you have ever wondered how short to cut grass in spring, it is ideal to cut your grass to 3 inches tall, and you should never cut it shorter than 2 inches tall. Cutting your grass shorter than 2 inches decreases its drought tolerance and increases the likelihood of weeds, disease, and pests. Another important thing to be aware of when cutting grass in spring is to never remove more than 1/3 of the grass at a time. If your grass is very tall and cutting it back to the desired height would mean cutting it back to half the height, be sure to cut it back incrementally, cutting it back to no more than 1/3 of its current height then waiting a couple of days and cutting it back again, and so on until it reaches the desired height. Removing more than 1/3 of your grass can send the grass into a shock and can do significant damage to your lawn. Keep in mind also that this means that the shorter you keep your grass the more frequently you will have to mow.
Should You Cut Your Lawn at a Certain Time of Day?
It is ideal to cut your lawn right away at the beginning of the day or later in the evening when the weather begins to cool off. Cutting your grass when the temperature is coolest will help with the recovery of your grass by reducing the amount of moisture that escapes from the damaged ends of your grass.
When Should You Not Cut Grass?
While it may not kill your grass, mowing your lawn during the hottest part of the day is not recommended, as this will affect the health and recovery of your grass. You also want to avoid cutting your grass when it is wet, as wet grass can lead to a very uneven, irregular, clumpy, or patchy cut, which can cause more problems than it is worth. Wet grass clippings also have the potential to damage your mowing equipment, create a mess to have to clean up, and do not spread out evenly over your lawn if you mulch your clippings. You will also want to avoid mowing your grass right after fertilizing. Every lawn fertilizer is different, so be sure to read the instructions on the packaging for specific information regarding how long to wait to mow after applying the fertilizer. Usually it is best to wait several days, though this varies.
What To do with Your Grass Clippings?
There are two common ways grass clippings are handled. Either your lawnmower sucks them into a bag to be thrown away or disperses them across your lawn as you cut your grass. You may be wondering if one way is better than the other, and in our opinion, it is best to mulch your clippings. Grass clippings are a great source of nitrogen for your grass and mulched clippings basically act as a natural, organic, and free fertilizer that puts nutrients back into your lawn. Mulched clippings can greatly benefit your lawn, however, be careful not to leave too many clippings behind. Excessive clippings left on your grass can end up smothering your grass, so mulch your clippings in moderation and use any extra clippings in your garden beds, as they will also greatly benefit your garden fruits and vegetables.
How To Prepare Your Lawn for Spring
There are a handful of things you can do to help prepare your lawn for the growing season. Here are a handful of our top recommendations for how to prepare your lawn for the spring season.
Watering Your Lawn in Spring
Obviously, watering your lawn sufficiently in the spring will help it bounce back quickly and get a good, strong start to the season. Your lawn will benefit from approximately an inch of water per week, and new lawns will need even more than this to establish themselves well. Developing a watering schedule and watering at night are just two things that will help get your lawn off to a good start. Learn more about how to water your lawn here!
Fertilize Your Lawn in Spring
Fertilizing your lawn in the spring will give it a nice boost of nutrients that will encourage strong and healthy growth. Many fertilizers also include chemicals that discourage weed growth in your lawn as well. Hindering weeds right from the get-go can help to keep the population of weeds in your yard at bay for the rest of the season. Always be sure to water your lawn after fertilizing so that the fertilizer does not sit on the tender foliage and cause burn damage. Be sure to read all instructions for fertilizing carefully, as application instructions vary depending on what product you use.
Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating your lawn is not always necessary, but can help your lawn if you have really compacted soil. Aerating your lawn allows oxygen to get into the soil and the roots of your plant which will encourage your lawn to grow strong and healthy! If you are unsure if your lawn would benefit from aeration, get in touch with a lawn care specialist for their professional opinion.
Rake Your Lawn to Remove Dead Grass and Debris
Raking your lawn can be very beneficial in the spring. Not only does this remove any debris that has potentially accumulated over the winter, but it will also help to remove dead grass to make way for the new grass to emerge. This process is referred to as dethatching, and can be just what your lawn needs right at the beginning of the growing season.
Reseed Bare or Dead Patches of Grass
Early spring is a great time to reseed dead patches of grass or overseed areas of your lawn that are thin. Grass seed is best planted either early in the season or late in the season. Grass seed will not grow well in the middle of the summer when the sun and temperatures are so overwhelmingly hot. Applying grass seed in the spring will give the new grass plenty of time to establish itself before winter comes around again, and will ensure you have a full and beautiful lawn throughout the year.