When to start–and how to mow the lawn in spring

By Allyn Paul, filed under Lawn Tips.

For some reason, you guys get super concerned about mowing the lawn in the spring. I get emails all the time asking me when to start mowing, should you mulch or catch the first cut and whether to mow tall or short for the first time in the spring.

Don’t get me wrong, I am super happy that you care so much. This article will answer those questions so you can mow with a clear head and an untroubled soul.

  1. When shoud I start mowing in spring? The key here is to make sure the ground is no longer frozen. We don’t want to be walking on frozen turf, because that will crush the crowns and cause dead spots. In addition, frozen turf is not actively growing, and cutting it can cause damage to the shoots. I usually tell folks that when the magnolia trees begin to bloom, that is a good sign that it is also time to start cutting.
  2. Should I mulch or catch on the first cut? Judging by the way my lawn looks right now, I’d say it’s a good idea to go ahead and catch the clippings and debris on the first cut this season. I have leaves, sticks and other junk laying all over the place, and I’d rather just get that sucked up and discarded at this point. I can bet this is a good idea for you as well.
  3. Should I mow tall or short? For this first cut of the season, I actually recommend you mow at around two inches. That is quite a bit shorter than the normal three-to-three-and-a-half I recommend as the norm. Again, this is to get things stimulated for the season.

I hope you guys feel better now. I sure do! Are you ready for the lawn care season?


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