Yes, you could just put the mower away now and forget about the last trim, but according to experts, that would be a big lawn care mistake. “It’s very important to look after your lawn well now, preparing for the winter season, to make sure it emerges healthy and strong in the spring,” explains Peter Challoner, managing director of Cobra Garden.
When do you last mow your lawn before winter?
According to gardening expert Chris Bonnett, founder of GardeningExpress, early November is the best time to mow your lawn for the last time before winter.
“Mowing the grass nicely and short at this stage of the year will help keep the grass healthy throughout the winter, and will encourage better growth next spring,” says Chris.
However, the final time to mow the grass before winter will be a little later this year than usual according to Peter Challoner, of Cobra Garden. ‘The recent unseasonal weather means that the grass is continuing to grow voraciously and will continue to grow while temperatures remain above five degrees. This means that the final mowing of the season is likely to be later than usual and subsequent mowings will need to be done carefully.’
It’s currently forecast to be rainy this weekend, so you’ll likely need to delay your final mowing until it dries out. “It’s important that you cut when the grass is dry and remember to do it little and often, gradually lowering the cutting height as you go, but keeping it at least 5mm lower than you would in the summer months,” Peter recommends.
Gardening expert Oliver Johnson at HomeAdviceGuide agreed that November is the best month to do the last mowing, explaining: “At this time of year, the grass will grow much slower and you won’t need to cut as much anyway.” Frost can stunt growth, so after the first frost, your grass won’t need to be cut at all again until the weather starts to warm the following year.
Chris explained that mowing your lawn at this time of year will allow it to stay in top condition even when cold temperatures threaten its health. “It is important to keep the grass healthy throughout the winter so it is more resilient to cold conditions,” he says.
“Ideally, you will also want to cut the grass shorter than usual to prevent it from tangling, which can make it more susceptible to disease.”
Is it too late to mow your lawn in November?
Since temperatures have been unseasonably warm this year, it’s certainly not too late to mow your lawn in November. In fact, most experts generally recommend mowing your lawn for the last time in the first weeks of November.
The main reason to stop mowing in November is that this is the first time temperatures drop below five degrees and the grass begins to grow more slowly. As such, mowing your lawn in the winter when temperatures drop below this is fairly meaningless, because it’s unlikely to grow very unruly, even within a couple of months.
However, it is wise to avoid mowing your lawn too late in November and in the winter due to the wet conditions this season brings. It is usually very difficult to drag a mower across a lawn when it is wet and muddy, and doing so can damage it, resulting in an uneven lawn when everything starts growing back.
How can I keep my garden in good condition during the winter?
So, apart from mowing your lawn in early November, how can you keep your lawn in good condition during the winter months?
Oliver explains that one of his biggest tips for lawn care at this time of year is to aerate your lawn (i.e. poking holes in it), when it’s not too wet or too cold. He says this is the perfect way to keep them good in the winter. “You should aim to do this when you make the last cut,” he says. “This will allow for proper drainage and will prevent water from pooling when there is heavy rain or snowmelt.
“You can aerate the lawn with a special tool or with a fork,” he continues. Using a tool like Amazon’s Colwelt lawn aerator, Oliver says, “Simply poke several holes evenly across the surface of the lawn to help with drainage. Doing this will keep your lawn healthy and prevent it from dying in the winter.”
If you have some, it’s also a good idea to apply any last drops of fertilizer during the final cut, to keep the grass healthy. Cobra’s Peter Chaloner also recommends using fallen leaves to give your garden an extra boost.
“If your lawn has a cover of fallen leaves, mowing them will help feed the grass a great free soil conditioner that will help it retain moisture and stay healthy through the winter.
“You’ll need a lawnmower for this, which is designed to recycle grass clippings so that they are cut into small pieces and can be left on the lawn instead of being collected and bagged,” he adds.
Once the frost hits, take that as a cue to safely pack up your mower until warmer weather heads our way.