How Early Can You Mow Your Lawn?

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I love to cut my lawn.  It is a time when I can escape into the serene yard around my home and get away from the hustle and bustle of life.  Life today is so much more complicated than it was even a decade ago.  So spending a few hours caring for the grass and the garden around my house is also a time that allows me to care for myself.  In this day and age, I think that’s important.

That being said, before you begin working outside, you have to make sure that you do not disrupt the lives of the people living in your neighborhood. Your therapeutic garden adventures may cause too much noise. The noise of your mower may be disturbing others around you.

Not only is it important for you to consider your neighbors, you also have to consider the health of your grass and your local ordinances.

Wait a second. The health of your grass?  Community ordinances?  Am I reading this correctly? Yes, you are.  There are a number of things that you must consider before you go outside to cut your grass.

Your lawn mower, unless you have a robotic model, is not a quiet machine.  Every time you trim the grass, there is an inherent noise that comes with the activity.  That sound is something you have to consider for several reasons.

So before you run out and crank up any heavy-duty equipment at the crack of dawn, keep reading.  Remember, there is more at stake here than just creating more work for yourself in your yard.

What Is the Earliest Time You Can Mow Your Lawn?

You may ask yourself, “How early can I cut my grass?”  Theoretically, you can do yard work any time you please.  It is your property, after all.  If, for some reason, you felt the need to fire up the engine at two o’clock in the morning and cut your grass, you certainly could.

However, it goes without saying that the middle of the night is probably not the best time to be outside mowing. 

What you may not realize is that you might be breaking the law by choosing to mow too early in the morning or too late in the evening.

Plus, there’s the fact that your neighbors will be very unhappy with you for disturbing them. 

Depending on where you live, lawn care professionals are not allowed to start working until 7 or 8 in the morning during the week.  These times are not a suggestion.  There are communal ordinances in place that dictate when work may start to avoid creating a ruckus too early in the morning.

On weekends and holidays, yard equipment is prohibited from running before 8 or 9 in the morning.  Again, this time is dependent upon where you live and what the ordinances say in your area.

So, take the time to do some research online or call your local officials to avoid facing a fine for making noise outside too early in the day.  You’ve already invested money in making your property look appealing, so you probably don’t want to shell out more money to pay a fine that could have been avoided.

What Is the Best Time to Mow Your Lawn?

Now that you understand what the law says in your area and what time you are allowed to begin cutting grass, it’s probably a good time to let you know that an early morning start is a bad idea.  Mowing in the early morning is harmful to the grass.

By early morning, we mean between the hours of 6 and 8 a.m. But even though you might be allowed to mow at this time, it doesn’t mean that you should.

There are several problems with choosing to start this early. 

First, obviously, is that you might violate the ordinances we mentioned earlier if you begin right at 6 a.m.

The second issue is that it is actually the worst possible time to cut your grass if you want to keep it healthy.

This early in the day, plants are still wet with dew.  The dew will make cutting grass less efficient than if it were dry.  It may also make your lawn more susceptible to disease.

So, avoid this early time of the day and prevent having to deal with unhappy neighbors and an unhealthy lawn.

The best time to mow your grass is mid-morning.  This means the time between 8 and 10 a.m. By this time of day, you shouldn’t have to worry about offending your neighbors.

Also, the sun has dried all the dew.  But the heat of the day hasn’t yet begun. So your lawn can “heal” before the heat of the afternoon that can put stress on your lawn.

Trimming your yard between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. is a very bad idea.  The heat of the day is already hard enough on the grass without you mowing it.  If you cut the grass now, you will draw moisture from the blades, which will cause heat damage.

Leave the mower in the shed in the middle of the day.

Operating yard machinery in the afternoon, meaning between 2 and 4 p.m., is also ill-advised.  Even though by 4 p.m. the temperatures may have dropped from earlier in the afternoon, there is still some risk of heat damage to the plants.

If, for some reason, you aren’t able to get the machine out in the morning to trim the yard, wait until the early evening, that is, between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m.

By then, the temperatures have cooled down, so the heat won’t be an issue.  This will leave nature to do its work and heal the blades before nightfall.

After 6 p.m., you should avoid trimming your grass.  Your neighbors are likely to begin settling in for the evening and probably don’t want to be disturbed by the sound of the engine of your mower.

Additionally, you risk hurting the grass.  The freshly cut blades will not receive enough sunlight to dry before night sets in. This will expose the plants to be invaded by disease and fungi.

FAQs

Where Can I Find my City Ordinances?

There are two preferred ways to find out what your city’s ordinances are.  One way is to go to the city or town hall and ask in person.  The second way is to search your city’s website.  The city usually posts its ordinances online.

What If My City Doesn’t Have Ordinances?

Even if your town doesn’t prohibit early-morning or late-night mowing, be a good neighbor.  Take the time to talk with your neighbors and discuss what times they don’t want you to run your equipment.  People will be pleased that you made an effort to be considerate and will be more understanding if something comes up that forces you to run your machine at an inconvenient time.

I Mow at the Right Time of the Morning. Do I Do This Year-Round?

No.  At some point, cold winter temperatures will cause plants to go dormant.  You shouldn’t ever cut a dormant yard.  Plus, you are unlikely to enjoy being out in the cold.

Sun rises over a yard with long grass that needs to be mowed

I Use a Commercial Lawn Care Service Because I Work Long Hours. The Service Does a Great Job, But I Think They Are Bothering my Neighbors.  What Should I Do?

First, you should check with your neighbors and discuss the specific nature of the problem.  Then, speak to your lawn care service and tell the management about the issue.  Lawn care services are in the business to make money, and they certainly won’t want to lose yours.  Any reputable company will work hard to ensure the issue is fixed promptly.

However, lawn care companies are allowed to begin their work whenever the city ordinance allows them to.  If your service handles many lawns a day, the schedule might not be flexible enough to accommodate your neighbors.

So, you may be faced with having to choose between risking an unhealthy lawn and risking an unhappy neighbor.  In situations like this, you can’t win them all.  Choose wisely.

My City Ordinance Says That I Can Start Mowing at 7 a.m., But I Live in a Developed Neighborhood with an HOA.  The HOA Says I Can’t Start Until 9 a.m.  Which One Applies to Me?

You may not like it, but you signed an agreement when you moved into a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association.  Legally speaking, you could start at 7, but there will likely be some sort of ramification from the HOA for violating its contract.

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The Green Pinky

About the author: Jeffrey Douglas is a horticultural hobbyist that loves everything related to plants and gardening. He specializes in gardens and houseplants.

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