How Short to Cut Grass for Winter

Preparing your lawn for winter will help keep it healthy and looking good. You can do several things to prepare your lawn for the winter months, including cutting it short and raking up fallen leaves.

If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, it’s best to mow the grass before the first snowfall. This will give your lawn a chance to adjust by stopping all growth during the coldest months of the year. However, it’s best not to cut your grass too short, or it will suffer and may become patchy. The less stressed your lawn is at the beginning of winter, the better chance it has of staying green throughout the harsh weather conditions.

Let’s look at how to prepare your lawn for the coming winter. We’ll tell you how short to cut grass before winter.

Should you cut your grass short before winter?

How Short to Cut Grass for Winter
Cut BEFORE it snows

It’s best to mow your grass before the first heavy snowfall of winter. Leaving your grass long won’t cause mold problems as fallen leaves and other organic matter would. If possible, remove all organic matter such as leaves and thatch from your lawn after leaf drop occurs in the fall. This minor task will save you a lot of trouble later on when it comes time to aerate and fertilize your lawn for spring growth.

After fall rolls around, there are a few jobs you’ll need to do in your yard to get your lawn ready for the winter months. Rake up any leaves that have fallen onto your grass, or use a leaf blower to clean them up. Raking leaves and other organic matter up will improve the lawn’s appearance and reduce the likelihood of fungal growth on the grass.

If you have a sprinkler system or an automatic irrigation timer, make sure both are out of commission for the winter months. You don’t want your irrigation system to suffer damage due to freezing temperatures.

If you have trees in your yard, you can use grass cuttings, leaves, and fallen conifer needles to create a mulch. The organic matter will rot down and feed the trees throughout the winter.

How short to cut grass before winter?

How short to mow lawn for winter

Ideally, you should mow the grass down to between 2.5 and 3 inches. Some people recommend mowing grass down as low as possible in the fall or winter. This is never a good idea. Don’t scalp your lawn, or the grass will go into shock and may not recover. It’s best to cut your grass one last time at the end of fall and cut it to roughly the same height as you would at any other time of year.

There is no benefit to cutting your grass unnecessarily short. Scalping your grass will make it challenging for the grasses blades to absorb enough light and rays from the sun. Mowing your lawn too short will also damage the grasses crown and mean that it will need to recover. Many homeowners find that some of their grass dies after scalping, and they end up with a patchy looking lawn that needs to be reseeded in the spring.

Any remaining clippings should be raked or blown off the lawn. After the grass has been cut, it’s okay to walk on your lawn because the grass blades are stiff enough not to be easily bent over. However, avoid excess traffic, so the blades don’t have a chance to break.

This allows more sun and water penetration down into the root system, helping it become stronger after winter comes. It will also help keep weeds at bay during springtime growth.


It’s best to mow your lawn to the same height as you would at any other time of year. Most grass varieties can be mowed to a height of between 2.5 and 3 inches before the winter. There is no benefit to scalping your lawn, and this will stress the grass and will mean that it will take longer to grow and recover in the spring.

When preparing your lawn for the winter, it’s also a good idea to rake up any fallen leaves, move other organic matter such as fallen branches and remove your sprinkler or irrigation system.