How Short To Cut Grass Before Winter + [More Tips]

How Short To Cut Grass Before Winter

It’s been a great summer, and your grass is looking great! But now that winter is coming, do you know how short you should cut the grass? Well, you don’t want to cut it too short, but you also don’t want it to get too tall and turn brown. 

So, how short to cut grass before winter?

You should cut your grass to 2.5 inches or a 1/3 of its normal height before winter. Cutting the grass protects it from diseases and prevents snow mold formation, a fungus that thrives in cold weather. Mow the grass as often as once every week or at least after 1.5 or 2 weeks before winter.

I’ll help you figure out whether you should mow your lawn one last time before cold weather sets in.

How Short To Cut Grass Before Winter

If you wonder how short to cut your lawn before winter, 2.5 to 3 inches should be enough. But why? 

When the grass is too short, it becomes more susceptible to cold weather and foot traffic damage. Short grass goes hungry during winter and is more likely to turn brown and die.

Secondly, after shortening your grass, you don’t need to remove all the leaves immediately.  The leaves add some natural mulching that protects your grass before winter starts. 

So, the dry leaves can be beneficial! They protect the grass and help it retain moisture. However, when winter begins, rake them away.

Also, the cut grass should also have enough exposure to sunlight. For the grass to grow or survive the winter, the roots and crown must absorb sunlight. The grass uses the carbohydrates stored in the roots to survive and rejuvenate after winter.

You will often hear self-proclaimed experts advising that the shorter you cut the grass, the better. And the argument is that shorter grass prevents mold growth beneath the snow. Well, it is not true. 

Contrary to the argument, mowing your grass too short shocks its roots. Additionally, it destroys the crown, the part where roots and leaves source from. Therefore, the grass won’t store enough carbohydrates or absorb the sunlight. 

Why You Should Cut Your Grass Before Winter

There is no debate about it! You certainly need to cut down your grass before winter. But why should you cut your grass before winter? 

Mowing grass protects it from diseases: When snow covers the tall grass and prevents it from accessing the light, it dies and forms debris. The resultant debris creates a conducive environment for the growth of mushrooms, causing fairy rings.  

Consequently, fairy rings can have terrible effects on your grass. They make the soil water repellant and extremely dry. As a result, your roots won’t get enough water to keep them alive and well beneath the ice. Eventually, the grass in the affected patches dries up.

Cutting grass before winter also protects your grass from having snow mold: Snow mold is a fungus that thrives in cold weather and could greatly affect your good-looking lawn. Unfortunately, it is hard to note snow mold before the snow melts as both are white. 

You might be wondering how not cutting your grass and snow mold relate? Snow mold is a disease that results from a combination of moisture and leafy vegetation. When you don’t cut grass before winter, the long grass creates a thick cover under the snow. The debris and thick grass cover results in snow mold.

The snow mold is mostly gray or pink, depending on the circumstances of its formation, though. The best possible way to prevent snow mold, therefore, is to mow your lawn before winter. Otherwise, you won’t restore the discolored grass to its original healthy color.

Therefore, trimming your grass before winter is worth it. It’s the only certain way to protect your lawn from diseases.

How Often to Mow the Lawn Before Winter?

There is no direct answer on when you should cut the grass. However, several factors influence the frequency of mowing. 

The three factors that influence how often to mow the lawn before winter include;

  • Sunlight
  • Temperature
  • Rainfall 

The optimum rain, temperature, and sunlight often experienced during summer bring about the grass growing season. Therefore, you need to mow at least once a week or often in such a season.

Mowing often before winter keeps the grass ready for the cold and dry snowfall season. If the temperature rise surpasses 40 degrees F and there is enough rainfall, the grass is likely to grow fast. Therefore, you should use the rule of third.

The rule of third guides that you should not trim the grass beyond a third of its normal height. The practice aims to protect against the damaging of roots and fibers when mowing. 

On the contrary, you don’t have to mow your lawn at all during winter, although that depends on the temperature and the snowfall in the region. During winter, some regions’ temperatures fall below 40F. As a result, the lawn won’t grow, and therefore no need to mow. Besides, the grass accumulates snow, making it near impossible to mow.

On the other hand, if the temperatures during winter are above 40 degrees F and the grass is growing normally with no snow accumulation, you can mow. And when mowing, ensure that you cut the grass at a higher level than the usual. Cutting it shorter as you would before winter might shock it and damage its roots.

How to Choose the Right Type of Blades for the Cutting Grass Before Winter

When it comes to cutting the grass before winter, you need to have the right equipment that are equal to the task.  One of the crucial pieces of equipment is a lawnmower. Even so, your lawnmower should have the correct type of blade. 

Here is how to choose the right type of blades for cutting the grass before winter:

  1. The type of grass: Different types of grass requires different types of blades. For example, if you have a particularly tough kind of grass, you need a blade designed to cut through the tough grass. Otherwise, the lawnmower struggles to trim the grass, and the lawn turns white.
  2. The height of the grass: The taller the grass, the sharper the blade should be. Also, if you have very tall grass, you may even need to use a lawnmower with a rotary blade. Longer grass needs much more effort to trim, and therefore, your blades need to be strong and sharp.
  3. The condition of the blades: The blades on your lawnmower eventually become dull. When this happens, then you need to replace or sharpen it. A dull blade often results in your grass turning white after mowing. 

The white section results from blades tearing the grass rather than cutting it. Resultantly, the torn grass fiber then dries and turns white.

  1. The time of year: The blades you use for cutting grass in the springtime should be different from those in winter. During winter, you need a blade that can cut through snow and ice.

When to Stop Mowing Before Winter

You need to stop mowing at the right time to let your lawn get ready for winter. Otherwise, bad timing messes up the growth when spring comes. So, when do you stop mowing before winter?

The best time to stop mowing is when the lawn starts its dormant stage. The dormant stage is when the lawn goes to sleep and shuts down. The stage often occurs during winter’s low and summer’s hot temperatures. During summer, the grass may turn brown.

You should stop mowing at this stage because the grass is conserving water and nutrients for the coming winter season.  

But how do you tell the lawn’s dormant stage has initiated? The best indicator that your lawn’s dormant stage has initialized is temperature.

The dormant grass stage often starts when temperatures drop below 50 degrees F during winter. However, the temperatures may vary between various grass species and regions. In some regions where low temperatures are the norm, the stage may start at 40 degrees F.

When you stop mowing, clear the debris and leaves that may mulch the grass during winter. Even though mulching conserves water and nutrients during summer, winter is a bad idea. Normally, decaying leaves and debris facilitate the growth of mushrooms and fungus.


So, how short should you cut your grass before winter? The answer is that it depends on a variety of factors. If you live in an area with a mild climate, you may be able to get away with cutting your grass shorter than someone who lives in a colder region. 

You’ll also want to consider the type of grass you have and what’s the last time you mowed it. As a rule of thumb, therefore, cut the grass between 2.5-3 inches before winter sets in. However, if you’re still unsure what height to cut your lawn or are worried about harming your lawn, consult with a local professional for more advice specific to your region and type of grass.