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Mowing Grass after Frost, what is the best way?

If you spend time cultivating green grass, you reap many benefits enjoying the beautiful space you have created. Healthy grass always adds to your house’s beauty and satisfies the occupants. It makes everything around look better. But maintaining good and healthy grass requires some effort and care. Your grass will have to deal with different weather conditions throughout the year. Preparing your lawn for some of the more challenging conditions requires extra care from the owner. Winter is always tricky for your grass. Frost freezes the water inside the grass leaves, and any action on the grass can damage its blades.

Frost is a thin layer of ice on a solid surface, formed in the water vapor in the upper air that meets the solid surface below freezing, and which leads to a phase shift from water vapor to ice as water evaporates to the freezing point.

Mowing Grass after Frost, what is the best way:

Mowing grass after frost is a tricky process. Always wait for the frost to have a chance to thaw, and the grass is dry enough. In a lot of cases, this means you will have to wait for the afternoon so the sun can warm things up. Until the frost is gone, please do not step on frozen grass as it can damage the blades. If you expect really low temperatures during the night, you can water your lawn the night before. The water on the grass can protect it from frost damage.

Winter damage is a common problem, but this does not mean that everything is lost. Believe it or not, frost can help your grass by producing a solid root structure as the grass cells adapt to the low temperatures. In general, the grass is strong and, in most cases, is not damaged by snow. Damage will occur if you walk on it while frozen.

This article will explain how to mow your grass after frost and how to take care of your lawn to avoid damage.

Grass and Frost

It is common for the grass to be covered by frozen dew or even snow on a cold morning in the year’s colder part. If you walk on the grass in this situation, you can do a lot of damage to your lawn. But fortunately, grass can withstand frost as long as there is any emerging cold outside the plant. Cold can occur within the plant cells, not inside the cell walls. It also helps the ice to melt and evaporate later in the morning on the same day it forms.

Although frost on the turf is harmless, it is helpful to remember that frost is made up of ice crystals which can act as a sharp razor under certain conditions. If you walk or mow under these conditions, those crystals will penetrate the cell walls around them. This will kill those cells, making them unsatisfactory, eventually resulting in the brown grass.

During cold temperatures, grass does not grow that much. If you mow across a lawn when there is frost on it, the tire marks of your mower will be there until spring. The good news is that damage will eventually recover. Therefore, it is best to avoid being on frost-covered grass to ensure grass health.

Mowing Frosty Grass

Frost is unavoidable at temperatures below 32 °F. Whether there is a little snowfall or just a temperature below 32, there will be some frost on your lawn. Light or heavy, frost makes the grass brittle and can be easily damaged. How much will mostly depend on the temperature and weather conditions rather than a type of grass. Frost can have a huge impact when it comes to mowing your grass. We have done comprehensive research on this topic, and there is a lot of discussion about the proper time to mow before the winter kicks in and after the cold season. Cutting your lawn too late before the winter starts or too soon after it has finished can negatively impact how your grass will grow in the spring.

The Best Temperature to Mow your lawn

Taking care of your lawn is not only about maintenance itself, but the timing also plays a vital role. Before mowing your grass, make sure that the time and temperature are suitable. The ideal temperature for mowing the lawn is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Regardless of the temperature, you should also make sure that the grass is dry enough and there is no frost. This article focus on low temperatures, but also high temperatures should be avoided in the summer. Do not cut your grass when the sun is high in the summer.

When to cut your grass if frost is expected

As mentioned earlier, mowing your grass as soon as the winter ends can damage it, but will the frost damage the newly cut grass? Yes, it can.

While cutting your lawn before winter temperatures arrive can help, there is no need for it to be straight before the first snowfall. Briefly check the weather forecast when the first snow is expected, and if possible, plan your final fall or winter mow a week in advance.

Imagine grass that has been freshly mowed. When frost begins to cover the newly cut grass, it will damage the fresh-cut leaves much more quickly when the temperature drops. If you mow your lawn a few days or even a week before, there is much less chance that this will happen.

Preventive Measures for your lawn before the First Frost arrives

These are some of the preventive measures that you can take before the first frost comes are:

  • Good health: Make sure your lawn is in good general health so that it can withstand the frost better. Consider applying fertilizer with expanded iron before any snowstorms to strengthen your lawn for the more challenging months.
  • Watering: Water your lawn on the night before the frost is expected. Irrigation allows moisture to evaporate slowly from the grass, causing friction with the grass blades’ heat. As the night temperature falls below freezing, your grass’s temperature will be slightly higher from the outgoing heat system, allowing your grass not to reach the cold temperatures that cause damage to the plant cell wall. Water also serves as a protection against this scourge. The extra water causes the grass to release less heat, so the blades can hold on to heat longer if they are dehydrated. All of this makes the cells inside the grains stronger.
  • Slightly higher mowing height: When you cut your grass before the first frost arrives, use a slightly higher setting for the period where you have frost during the night and acceptable temperatures during the day. This allows some long leaves to help protect grass crowns from the cold. When you expect heavy frost, this matter less, and shorter grass will be better.
  • Irrigation: In the winter, your grass does not need the same amount of water as during the summer. If you use an irrigation system, change the settings if you have not already done so. How much water is still needed greatly depends on your location and the type of grass. In cool conditions, stop irrigating entirely. If you live at a location with a cold winter, you have to stop using sprinklers altogether and make sure you winterize them.

Mowing your lawn after Frost

Frost does not mean that you do not need to cut your grass anymore. If the day temperature is still fine it will still grow, but you need to proceed with caution. Always wait until there the grass is thaw, and only trim your lawn when the grass is dry. When the day temperature is still acceptable, ice will leave quickly at sunrise as the temperature rises.

As long as the soil is not frozen, your lawn can be trimmed. Of course, when it is colder, the grass will grow much slower, and there will be less need for mowing. Before you can start mowing the grass after frost, you should take some preventive measures to avoid damage. Try to avoid walking and other activities on the grass when frozen, as the pressure can damage the grass blades. At this time of the year, mowing in the early morning is not the best option.

In cooler conditions, set the lawnmower at a lower cutting level than in the summer. While a thin layer of dead grass can be good for warmer conditions, the opposite is true for cooler conditions. Grass needs to re-grow in the spring, so a dead grass layer can prevent it from growing quickly. Set the mower to a lower level than in the summer, about ¾ inches long. The best height for your situation will depend on your grass type. Shorter grass will be less influenced by heavy frost, but the downside is that it will improve moss. Ensure that you do not trim it too short, as longer leaves help protect grass crowns from the cold.

There are some conditions when you should avoid mowing your lawn altogether. After heavy rainfall in winter, mowing should be avoided entirely. Using a heavy lawnmower over wet and muddy areas can be extremely harmful to your lawn. The blades of your mowing machine will kill the new shoots of grass because of the soil’s softness. If the grass is too long, the moisture can bend it, giving an uneven cut.

Preventive Measures for Grass after Frost

Frost can sometimes damage your lawn. Preventing this can be a tricky procedure, but it is possible.

  • Do not walk on it: Always prevent people from stepping on your grass under these conditions. When they step on frozen grass, it can damage the blades of the grass.
  • Countermeasures: If you find it difficult to prevent people from stepping on the frosted grass, you can do the following:
  • Water the night before: You should water the grass the night before an expected frost to prevent your lawn from frost damage.
  • Longer length: When you know a frost period is coming, keep the blade length longer to protect grass crowns.
  • Mowing after frost: After frost, avoid cutting it too quickly. Your lawn as can severely damage the grass blades. Aways, wait for the grass to be frost-free completely.
  • Do not mow when wet: After the frost has gone, your grass will often be wet. Avoid mowing your lawn when the grass is wet, as this is also not healthy. Mowing on a muddy surface should also be avoided.
  • Weed control and nutrition: Weed control and nutrition can provide benefits during such conditions. Using mulch helps to maintain the soil’s temperature by providing insulation. After the first frost, applying the mulch layer to a depth of 4 inches can prevent frost from damaging your grass.

Treating Frost Damaged Grass

We have shown how to mow your grass after a frost to minimize damage. But what should you do when your lawn is already damaged? If this is the case, it is not too late. You can rehydrate the turf by watering it in the morning. Also, be sure to wait to fertilize your lawn until a month after the frost period has gone. The reason is that excess nitrogen from ice can cause further damage.

If the grass is still damaged, you may need to reseed it when the temperature rises in the spring.


With the article’s information, you know what to do to prevent your grass from damaging after frost. Some of us live in a climate that rarely experiences this type of weather, but many other parts of the US and the world will experience many cold winter nights. Proper preparation will help your lawn through the winter, and in case it experiences some frost damage, we have given tips to improve the situation.

During most winter days, the grass should be left alone in its sleeping stage until spring, when it starts growing again. To keep your lawn in good condition during the winter requires a lot of patience, preparation, and attention. But proper maintenance will give a beautiful reward when spring arrives.