How Cold Is Too Cold To Cut Grass?

Taking care of a lawn seems relatively simple at first, but keeping your lawn dense and green can be quite challenging.

This is particularly true if you live in an area where temperatures drop significantly over the fall and winter months.

Learning when to stop cutting your grass can help ensure your lawn returns to its healthy, lush state the following spring.

frozen grass

How cold is too cold to cut grass?

During cold temperatures, grass goes into a dormant stage. During this time, the grass stops growing and conserves nutrients, getting ready to grow again when the weather is warmer.

If you cut grass when it is in its dormant stage, you can stress the grass. Stress makes it harder for the grass to recover and survive the winter, and you’re more likely to end up with sick or dead patches of grass in the spring.

ice forming on grass

During the later fall months, you may notice that your grass doesn’t need to be cut as often since it’s not growing as much.

This is a sign that the grass is going dormant, so you can stop cutting it altogether until the weather warms up again.

You can also use the outdoor temperature to tell when to stop cutting your grass. Grass starts to go dormant when the average temperature is below about 50 degrees.

Grass won’t go dormant right away, though. Instead, it will begin to slow down its growth cycle as the temperature gradually drops, and the plant will only go dormant when there have been several days in a row with temperatures lower than 50 degrees.

man cutting grass with trimmer

How should I prepare my lawn for winter?

If you’ve noticed that your grass has slowed its growth cycle or the daytime temperature has been hovering around or below 50 degrees, it’s probably time to start preparing your lawn for winter.

First, you should fertilize your grass one last time.

Although this won’t encourage growth, it will allow the grass plants to store nutrients. This can help the grass make it through winter with less die-off, and it can also jumpstart the growth cycle during the spring.

Before the first frost, it’s also a good idea to cut your grass one last time. Try to time your last cut to about three days before the first overnight freeze.

Ideally, grass should be between 2.5 and 3 inches tall before you head into freezing temperatures. It’s better to keep grass relatively short for winter, as this can reduce the spread of plant diseases.

If you’ve already experienced a freeze, though, don’t cut your grass again. Once grass has frozen, cutting it can stress the plant.

spreading lawn fertilizer

Can it be too hot to cut grass?

Grass also goes dormant when temperatures are too warm. Most grass will stop growing when daytime temperatures average 90 degrees or higher.

You may notice that your grass has stopped growing, much like it does when the weather is too cold for growth. You can stop cutting until the temperature goes down.

What temperatures grass will go dormant at depends on the grass variety. Some grass types are heat-tolerant, while others are cold weather hardy.

You can use temperature to judge when to stop cutting grass, but it’s also a good idea to pay attention to the grass and mark how much it’s growing and how often it needs to be cut.

man mowing lawn in hot weather

How do I know when my lawn has started growing again?

Once your lawn begins to turn green again, the grass has probably left its dormant stage. You may notice small patches of yellow or brown, and these are likely places where the grass has died.

If the entire lawn is yellow, though, the grass is probably still dormant.

Once your grass has left its dormant stage and has resumed growing, you can start mowing the lawn again.

However, make sure that there won’t be any more freezing temperatures before you start cutting the lawn again.

It’s usually best to start cutting grass again at least one week after the last frost.

Once your lawn has left its dormant stage, you can help it enter the growth cycle by controlling weeds and refraining from stepping on the grass as it grows.

You can also fertilize the grass, but make sure not to offer too much fertilizer, as this can actually burn the grass. It’s also a good idea to create and maintain a proper watering schedule.

Creating a schedule for mowing your lawn is also a good plan, but always take the lawn’s growth rate into account before mowing.

Even though it’s tempting to mow on a schedule, grass may grow at different rates depending on the weather, the temperature, and overall watering and fertilizing.

You should only ever cut off about 1/3 of the grass’s total height. Cutting grass too closely can damage the plant and cause burned or dead spots.

cold grass with frozen leaf