When to stop cutting grass - experts agree that THIS is the month you need to retire your lawnmower for the winter

Get ready for one less garden chore...

Garden with lawn bordered by hedges, trees and foliage
(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you’re wondering when to stop cutting grass, you’re asking yourselves all of the right questions. After all, if you want to keep on top of your garden ideas, you also need to keep on top of the rules - and there are some pretty strict rules when it comes to lawn care

Of course, the sun may still be shining, but that doesn’t mean that the seasons aren’t changing. Most of us are waking up to the sight of morning dew on our grass, and there’s no doubt that the evenings are getting chillier. And according to the meteorological calendar, we’re already well into the autumn months.

But what does this change of season mean for your grass? For starters, you should know whether you should cut wet grass or not (especially with more rain predicted this month). But more importantly, you need to know when to retire your best lawnmower before the colder, frostier winter months draw in. 

When to stop cutting grass

Garden with lawn bordered by hedges, trees and foliage

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘Many Brits neglect their lawn as soon as the temperatures start to drop, but it’s those last few weeks before the colder months that are crucial to keeping the lawn healthy throughout autumn and winter,’ says Nick Ee from Black + Decker.

In fact, just as there’s an exact month for you to start cutting your lawn after winter, there’s also an exact month for you to stop cutting your grass before winter. 

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, it’s important to keep up regular mowing of your grass during the months of March and October. But when October hits, you should really start thinking about retiring your lawnmower to the shed for the winter. This makes it one of the best jobs to do in the garden in October.

Of course, the main reason for this is because there’s just no need to cut your grass during the winter months. As the temperature starts to fall, so does the growth rate of grass. And when it’s growing less, there’s less need to cut it. 

Garden with lawn surrounded by hedges, trees and flowerbed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Cutting your grass during winter could also spell disaster for the health of your lawn, too. Blades of grass actually serve as protectors for your garden, protecting your soil from being bogged down by excess water or being affected by frost - which could lead to disease and an increase in unwanted pests. 

In fact, Ryan Patterson from lawncare brand Husqvarna UK, says that cutting your grass during this cold and wet period is a dangerous game you don't want to play.

‘After that last cut of the season, it’s really important to leave your lawn to rest and not make any further cuts when it’s cold – especially when it’s wet and frosty. Not only could this damage your lawn mower, but it could do serious damage to the grass and the soil.’

But while experts would advise against it, it is technically possible to cut grass during the winter - but you need to be careful. Only do this if the temperature is above 5°C, and keep the lawnmower settings high for a long cut. 

The perfect grass height for winter

Garden with narrow lawn surrounded by hedges, trees and flower bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Val Corbett)

With October fast approaching, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your last cut of the year. But you might want to adjust your lawnmower blades before you get started. 

‘If you raise the mowing height slightly for the final cut of the season, the longer grass blades will provide some insulation for the grass plant and allow it to store more energy, which is beneficial when entering the winter season,’ explains Ryan.

Ideally, you should cut it to around 2-3 inches high. Any more than that, and you'll cause unnecessary stress on the grass, meaning you’ll no doubt be searching for ways to make your grass look greener when spring arrives. 

But if you’ve neglected your grass this year and it’s currently well overdue a haircut, it’s important to note that it may take a few mowing appointments before it’s ready for winter. Cutting grass too short too quickly can also cause unnecessary stress, so little and often works best if you’re dealing with an overgrown garden. 

How to care for grass over the winter

Front garden with lawn in front of brick house

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

It is possible to keep your garden flourishing over winter, and it’s also possible to care for your grass over the winter. And while leaving it relatively long during this season is the best way to keep it healthy and green year after year, there are some other ways to care for your grass during this time:

Keep garden furniture off the grass: It’s always a good idea to take care of your best garden furniture. But when you’ve stopped using it for the year, make sure you find a proper home for it. This could be in the shed or even covered up on the patio - but it should never be on your grass as this could cause unnecessary moisture build-up. 

Rake and collect fallen leaves: Although you may assume that fallen leaves act as a natural compost, fallen leaves can actually damage your grass during the winter months. They block out sunlight and smother the grass in moisture. This could ultimately cause waterlogging.

Remove grass clippings:  ‘Many are guilty of leaving grass clippings on the lawn, and while this can have both positive and negative effects,' says Nick from Black + Decker. 'If left for excessive amounts of time, the long grass clippings can contribute to thatch build-up.’ This build-up can ultimately destroy your lawn.

Keep off the grass: For the healthiest and happiest grass possible, it’s advised that you should keep off the grass during the winter - especially if it’s wet or frozen. This is the most vulnerable season for grass, and smothering or squashing down the blades of grass could impact the way it protects the rest of the soil. 

Fertilise your lawn: There are two kinds of fertilisers: spring/summer fertilisers and autumn/winter fertilisers. As you can imagine, you’ll want to feed your lawn with an autumn/winter fertiliser before the winter hits. This is normally a slow-release feed that will keep your grass ticking over during the colder months and allow it to thrive again next spring. 

Aerate your lawn: It’s possible to aerate your lawn during the winter months, but it’s important to note that you should only do this before the first frost. This will ultimately improve winter drainage and airflow, but try and do this no later than November. 

Garden with raised wooden flower beds backing onto brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC)


What month do you stop cutting grass UK?

Ideally, you should stop cutting grass in October, but you might be able to stretch to November if we have a particularly warm autumn. However, the general rule of thumb is that you should never mow your lawn if the temperature consistently hits 10°C or less. And you should definitely avoid mowing your lawn when the first frost hits. 

It’s important that you follow this rule, as cutting your grass during the winter months could be detrimental to the health of your lawn. Waterlogging or compacted roots could result in brown or dead patches, and your lawn may struggle to recover when it starts growing again next spring. 

Is it OK to cut grass in October?

Yes, it’s perfectly ok to cut grass in October. In fact, experts suggest giving your lawn one last mow in October to prepare it for winter. 

Always keep your lawnmower on the highest blade setting when you do this, though. While you need to cut your grass for winter, you don’t want to cut the grass too short as this could cause unnecessary stress on the grass.

Instead, opt for a length of around 2-3 inches in height. This will keep it looking neat and tidy over the winter while also keeping the ground safe from the harsh winter weather. 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.