Maintaining a beautiful lawn is a joy for many homeowners. However, it’s important not to abandon your lawn care too soon. By November, most homeowners are eager to store away their lawnmowers and take a break from cutting grass. But ending your lawn maintenance prematurely can have negative consequences. So in this blog post, we look at “Lawn Care Tips for Annapolis, MD: Knowing the Perfect Time to Put Away Your Mower.”
Even during the fall, and sometimes even after the first light snowfall, if your grass is still growing, it requires mowing and attention. So, how can you determine when to cease mowing and begin winterizing your lawn? And what steps can you take to protect your property throughout the winter season?
In Annapolis, Maryland, the ideal time to stop mowing the grass typically depends on the weather conditions and the growth patterns of the grass species in your lawn. However, as a general guideline, stop regular grass mowing in late autumn or early winter when the grass growth slows down or becomes dormant.
The most common grass types include cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass. These grasses tend to grow actively in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler. During summer, they may slow down or become stressed due to heat and drought conditions.
As temperatures drop in the fall, you can gradually reduce the mowing frequency. Typically, when the grass growth rate slows and the grass blades are no longer actively growing, you can stop mowing altogether, which is usually around late October to November in Annapolis.
Remember that weather patterns can vary from year to year, so it’s best to pay attention to the condition of your lawn and adjust your mowing schedule accordingly. Additionally, if you have warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass, they may have different growth patterns and require adjustments to the mowing schedule.
Knowing When to Stop Mowing
Lawns typically consist of two types of grasses, each thriving in different climates:
- Cool-season grasses are commonly found in colder climates in the northern United States.
- Warm-season grasses are commonly found in warmer climates in the southern United States.
Cool-season grasses exhibit more active growth in the spring and fall, while warm-season grasses thrive in summer. However, both types of grasses enter dormancy and cease growth below specific temperature thresholds.
Warm-season grasses become dormant when the soil temperature reaches approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool-season grasses enter dormancy when the soil temperature drops to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a general guideline, once the air temperature consistently remains below 60 degrees Fahrenheit for warm-season grasses or below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for cool-season grasses, it is advisable to consider storing away your lawnmower. This means you may continue mowing until late November, even if there is an occasional temporary dip in temperature before it rises again.
Winterizing Your Lawn
However, it’s crucial not to store your lawnmower and neglect your lawn. Before winter arrives, mowing and caring for your lawn correctly is essential in preparation for the cold season. Follow the two steps below to winterize your lawn effectively:
Gradually Reduce the Height of Your Grass
Suppose you abruptly stop mowing your lawn while it grows in autumn. In that case, it may become excessively tall, leading to various winter lawn issues such as mold and fungus growth, pest infestation, and reduced airflow and nutrient absorption.
On the other hand, avoid mowing your grass extremely short all at once. Since the uppermost part of the grass blade is where most of the food is produced, it is advisable to only cut up to one-third of the grass’s height in a single mowing session.
As temperatures begin to drop in the fall, gradually reduce the height of your grass with each mowing session until your final cut leaves the grass at around 2 inches tall. Warm-season grasses can also be cut to a height of approximately 2 inches.
Provide Your Lawn with Fertilizer
Early fall is an ideal time to fertilize a cool-season lawn. During this active growth period, the grass can effectively absorb and incorporate nutrients, aiding recovery from summer stresses and fortifying the plants for the upcoming spring.
When selecting a fertilizer for your cool-season lawn in early fall, opt for one with a higher nitrogen content to promote blade growth.
You might come across “winterize fertilizers” in lawn and garden stores, which contain higher phosphorus levels to support root growth. If you use such a fertilizer, apply it in late fall.
If you take care of your lawn until the weather cools down, you will be rewarded with a healthy yard in the following spring and summer seasons. So, don’t rush to stop mowing or caring for your lawn as summer ends.