You may be tempted to mow the lawn but according to the experts that would be a big mistake. There are telltale signs that will let you know when it's time to break out the mower.

If you're like me, you've probably been watching the grass turn green wondering when it's time to break out the mower. The first mow of the year can be bittersweet. Yeah, it's great that summer is finally on its way, but once you start mowing you know you're going to have to keep doing it every few days until fall.

Now that the grass has greened up and started growing it's tempting to give it that first cut, but experts say that it's a mistake.

Mowing the Grass

Why shouldn't you mow your lawn yet?

I've combed the Internet for advice on when to begin mowing and found several reasons why cutting the grass too soon is not only a waste of time but also bad for your lawn.

Experts all seem to agree that lawn mowing shouldn't take place if temperatures will reach below 40 degrees. It may look like your grass is growing, but what's really important is what's going on underground. It's important to let your lawn establish strong roots in the spring. If you cut the grass when evening temperatures are still dipping into the 30s, you're probably stunting its growth.

Cooler April temperatures in the Hudson Valley is one reason not to mow, the other is rain. Recently we've had an insane amount of rain that's caused yards to get soggy. Experts say mowing before the ground has had a chance to harden up is another huge mistake because it will lead to an uneven yard and turf damage.

Man mowing the grass on a riding mower

OK, so when should I start mowing?

The general rule of thumb is to wait to mow until you can consistently mow the lawn every few days. If the weather and temperature conditions aren't ready for that, don't jump out on the first nice day and decide to just start mowing.

A few experts claim that you can start mowing when the magnolia trees bloom, but that may vary depending on where you live. Others say to wait until your lawn has at least two inches of growth. When in doubt, it's probably best to wait as long as possible to give your grass time to establish roots.

Of course, you don't want to wait too long and risk cutting off too much grass on your first pass. You should never remove more than 1/3 of the height of the grass or else you could risk shocking the lawn. You may need to adjust your blades and do a longer cut for your first pass.


Bottom line

While experts all seem to agree that it's too soon to cut the grass I decided to ignore all of them. My lawn just looked too unkempt and there were leftover leaves from the winter that I wanted to mulch over. Was it too soon to mow? Probably, but who cares. It's just grass and will keep growing all summer anyway.

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