I’ve been asked over a half dozen times in just the past few days “when should I stop mowing and how short should the lawn be for the final cut?” It must be time to answer those questions via a new blog post.
October is a great month to slowly drop your mowing height from the recommended summer height of 3” down to 2.5”- 2” by at least Halloween. Even in our New England growing area, grass generally continues to slowly grow well into November. Your final cut of the growing season should be in November at a short 1.5”-2”. See the mowing gauge above for a lawn at the final cutting height in November.
What is the downside to retiring the lawn mower in October? Healthy grass will continue growing and if left uncut, your lawn could end up very long by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Long grass will mat easier during the winter making it more susceptible to winter kill, promote snow mold and may harbor voles that make tunnels beneath the snow and eat your lawn. A shorter cut seems a wise decision based on the ramifications of putting your lawn mower away in October.
A shorter cut will promote a faster green lawn in the spring because the soil will warm up quicker since there is no long foliage keeping the ground cold. Less debris and leaves being caught up in long grass means an easier spring cleanup and generally less damage. Don’t reach for your snow blower or shovels just yet, your lawn mower is still up to the task of keeping your lawn looking good.