Can you mow new grass after 2 weeks?

Quick Answer

It is generally not recommended to mow new grass until 3-4 weeks after planting. Mowing too soon can damage the newly established roots and stunt the growth of the new lawn. However, there are some exceptions where mowing at 2 weeks may be okay.

When Is It Safe To Mow New Grass?

Most turfgrass experts recommend waiting until the new grass has been growing for 3-4 weeks before mowing. This allows time for the grass plants to develop an established root system that can better withstand being cut.

Mowing too soon after planting puts stress on the new transplants and increases the chances of damaging or tearing out the immature root system. This can lead to transplant shock and poor establishment.

Here are some general guidelines on when it’s safe to mow a new lawn based on the grass type:

Cool Season Grasses

– Tall fescue – Mow 3-4 weeks after emergence/planting
– Kentucky bluegrass – Mow 3-4 weeks after emergence/planting
– Perennial ryegrass – Mow 3-4 weeks after emergence/planting
– Fine fescues – Mow 3-4 weeks after emergence/planting

Warm Season Grasses

– Bermudagrass – Mow 3-4 weeks after planting
– Zoysiagrass – Mow 3-4 weeks after planting
– Centipedegrass – Mow 3-4 weeks after planting
– St. Augustinegrass – Mow 3-4 weeks after planting

These timeframes allow for ample root establishment before exposing the new transplants to mowing stress.

When Can You Mow New Grass at 2 Weeks?

There are some scenarios where mowing at 2 weeks after planting may be acceptable:

If the Grass is Getting Too Tall

If the new grass grows rapidly and gets much taller than the recommended mowing height within 2 weeks, it may need to be mowed to prevent excess leaf blade buildup. You still want to be cautious and use a high mowing height.

Overseeding Into Existing Turf

When overseeding thin or bare areas in an established lawn, the existing grass will likely need mowing within 2 weeks. Mow gently without scalping and use a high height setting.

Short Grass Varieties

Some ultra-dwarf Bermudagrass varieties can be safely mowed at 2 weeks after sprigging or plugging. Their growth habit and shoot density allows for earlier mowing. But be very careful not to cut below 1 inch.

Well-Established Transplants

If the new grass plants were very mature at transplanting and had significant root mass developed when planted, they may be resilient enough to mow slightly sooner at 2 weeks. But it’s still better to wait until 3-4 weeks if possible.

Getting Ready to Mow a New Lawn

When the 3-4 week establishment window has passed, here are some tips for mowing new grass for the first time:

– Use sharp mower blades – Dull blades will tear grass rather than cutting cleanly.

– Raise cutting height – Mow new grass slightly higher than normal – around 3-4 inches for cool season grasses and 1-2 inches for warm season varieties.

– Mow early – Best time is early morning when grass is dry. Avoid afternoon heat.

– Walk slowly – Go slow to prevent traction damage to new turf.

– Remove only 1/3 of blade – Don’t scalp new lawn by cutting too low.

– Modify mower – Install smooth rear rollers, add weight to wheels, or use lawn friendly tires to prevent rutting of soft new turf.

– Change directions – Mow perpendicular to previous pass to prevent ruts from always turning the same way.

– Avoid wet grass – Mowing wet new turf will pack down and damage the grass plants.

– Skip clippings – Hold off on bagging clippings until turf is well established, then start gradually.

– Check after mowing – Inspect for any plant damage or exposed roots and reseed/repair as needed.

New Lawn Mowing Schedule

Here are some general guidelines for mowing frequency after the initial mowing of a new lawn:

Time After Planting Mowing Frequency
First mowing at 3-4 weeks Once every 5-7 days
2-3 months after planting Once every 4-6 days
4-6 months after planting Once every 3-5 days
After 6 months Normal schedule for grass type

The mowing frequency should be gradually increased over the first growing season. This allows the grass plants to continue developing density and shoot growth while avoiding overstressing the maturing lawn with frequent mowing.

Signs the Lawn Is Ready for First Mowing

Some visible indicators that a newly planted lawn is ready for its first haircut:

– Grass is approaching double the desired mowing height

– Leaves extend well above the soil surface

– Shoots are vigorously growing upright rather than laterally

– Lawn has filled in and looks dense

– Grass grows easily when gently pulled

– Wheel from push mower leaves only minimal imprint

If most of these conditions are met, it’s a sign that the root system should be developed enough to mow without causing major damage. But waiting a couple extra weeks is recommended if still unsure.

Dangers of Mowing Too Early

Trying to mow new grass too soon carries some risks, including:

Root Damage

The roots are still shallow and delicate, so mowing can easily rip up the new transplants or sheer the roots right below the surface.

Growth Setback

Cutting too much leaf tissue before the roots are ready can shock the plant and limit its ability to generate energy through photosynthesis. This can delay further establishment.

Weed Invasion

Thinning out the grass stand with premature mowing provides sunlight to bare soil areas, fueling germination of weed seeds.

Poor Density

Overstressing young grass can force it to focus on basic survival rather than expanding and thickening up the lawn coverage.

Watering Issues

Removing too much leaf area reduces transpiration from the plants. This can lead to scalding of crowns and roots from excessive soil moisture.

Avoiding mowing for at least 3-4 weeks prevents these types of problems with new grass establishment.

Can You Mow Cool Season Grass at 2 Weeks?

Mowing cool season grasses like tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and ryegrass at 2 weeks after planting is generally not recommended. These bunch-type grasses need ample time to tiller and generate shoots in order to form a thick turf.

Cutting cool season transplants too soon can inhibit their growth and ability to knit together into a uniform lawn. It’s best to wait until at least 3 weeks, and ideally 4 weeks, after planting before mowing cool season grasses.

If the new grass gets very tall before 3-4 weeks, you can carefully trim back the tips using a string trimmer with the height well raised. But avoid mowing down to the base at 2 weeks on newly planted cool season lawns.

Can You Mow Bermudagrass at 2 Weeks?

Bermudagrass is more tolerant of early mowing than cool season turfgrasses. However, it’s still best to wait until 3-4 weeks after planting sprigs or sod before mowing for the first time.

The exception would be some ultra-dwarf Bermuda varieties that can fill in very rapidly. These cultivars may potentially be mowed at 2 weeks with caution and a very high cutting height of 1 inch or more.

Otherwise, it’s safer to give standard Bermudagrass varieties more time to root down before mowing. Cutting too early could slow the growth and fill-in of this warm season grass.

Tips for Mowing New Sod Lawns

New sod requires extra care when mowing because the roots were disturbed during harvesting and transport from the sod farm. Follow these tips when mowing a new sodded lawn:

– Wait at least 2 weeks before mowing, 3-4 weeks is better

– Mow when the sod strips have knitted together and roots are holding firm

– Use a very sharp mower blade to prevent tearing sod seams

– Make sure sod is getting adequate moisture before and after mowing

– Reduce mowing frequency compared to seedlings to limit plant stress

– Adjust mower deck to highest setting and remove no more than 1/3 of blade length

– Hand trim any uneven edges or ends of sod pieces for a smooth appearance

– Fill in gaps between sod strips to help stabilize and support the edges

– Roll or hand tamp areas after mowing to improve root-soil contact

Proper mowing technique ensures the sod establishes and matures into a lush, healthy lawn over time.

New Grass Mowing Tips

Here are some additional mowing tips and precautions for newly planted lawns:

Use a Sharp Blade

A clean, sharp mower blade makes smooth cuts through the leaf tissue instead of shredding or tearing the blades.

Mow When Dry

Let the grass fully dry out after watering or rain before mowing to prevent rutting and compaction issues in wet soil.

Alternate Direction

Mow perpendicular to the previous direction to avoid tracks from always turning the same way.

Check Sprinkler Heads

Ensure sprinklers are not spraying onto sidewalks or driveways where mower wheels can pick up debris that damages new turf.

Control Clippings

Bag or carefully disperse clippings to avoid smothering tender new grass plants.

No Herbicides

Avoid weed control products until the lawn is mature and better able to tolerate chemical applications.

Watch Your Step

Walk lightly on new grass and avoid excess traffic until the turf is well established.

Patience is key when mowing new lawns to promote healthy maturity rather than creating potential setbacks by rushing the first cut too soon after planting.


Mowing new grass too soon after planting or laying sod can damage the tender roots and slow establishment. It’s generally best to wait until 3-4 weeks after planting before mowing cool season grasses, and at least 2-3 weeks for warm season varieties.

There are exceptions where carefully mowing at 2 weeks may be acceptable, such as overseeding thin areas or mowing dwarf Bermuda. But err on the side of caution and allow new grass to mature further before exposing it to mowing stress.

When those vital first shoots reach mowing height, use sharp blades, go slow, keep cutting height high, and start with a conservative mowing schedule. Avoid overstressing developing roots and give your new lawn the best chance to fill in thick and lush right from the start.

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