Mowing is an essential lawn care practice that should be done regularly to encourage healthy grass growth, eliminate pests, prevent accidental damage, help your lawn recover faster, and get nourishing mulch.
Even though you can mow your lawn at any time of day or night, most lawn mowers are noisy tools, some as loud as 80 dB and 90 dB similar to a small rock concert.
Have you ever said to yourself, “Who the heck is mowing their lawn at night” while you are hunkered down inside for the night? I know I’ve said that a few times. But how late is too late to mow your lawn? And is it even legal to mow your lawn early in the morning or at night? You might think there are no issues in doing so but actually different states have different laws about this and some towns and counties as well.
We all have perhaps done this at least once or twice right? Mowing after the sun sets just because you’re trying to get it done because you already started, or perhaps there is weather coming in the next day that you want to get ahead of.
This begs the question — is it illegal to mow your lawn early in the morning or at night? The answer however is a bit tricky.
Mowing your lawn isn’t per se illegal, but running a horrendously loud lawnmower late at night or in the wee hours of the morning is not something your neighbors would appreciate, which could lead to police intervention.
Below I’ll highlight the most strict rules that I know of and give some safety guidance if you do need to mow at night.
Is Mowing Lawn at Night Good for Grass?
It’s a good idea to first understand whether mowing your lawn at night is indeed good for your grass health or cause damage to your turf. Some lawn care professionals claim that it doesn’t matter what time of day you mow your lawn, while others strongly disagree, and say there’s an optimal time to perform the task.
But most will agree that early morning (6-8 am) is the worse time to mow lawns because the grass is covered with fresh morning dew. This dew overlay can make it hard on your lawn mower, form clumps, and cause the grass to tear, resulting on poorly cut grass.
And when grass tears or is cut poorly, it becomes susceptible to infections, caused by diseases and fungi. Mid-morning or late afternoons are considered optimum times to mow your lawn, and here’s why!
By mid-morning, the dew on the grass has already dried out, and the heat of the day hasn’t peaked yet. The grass at this time of day also has time to fully recover before the onset of the full heat of the midday sun.
Late afternoon (4-7 pm), that is after the period of the midday heat, is also a great time to mow your lawn, as it causes less stress for the grass, owing to the gradually cooling temperatures. This gives your grass enough time to heal before nightfall.
There’s often a big debate on whether moving your lawn at night is beneficial for your grass. But as mentioned earlier, dew tends to settle on grass when temperatures drop in the night and early morning, making it more likely to be affected by fungi and turf diseases. Dew-wet grass is also hard to cut, and may cause damage to your lawn mower.
To reduce the chances when mowing your lawn at night, you can use a reel mower. Using a reel lawn mower is a great idea, as it provides a clean, even scissor cut compared to rotary lawn mowers that tear the leaves apart.
This not only leaves finer trimmings without any clumping to create natural mulch that decomposes quickly on your yard but also seals in the moisture on grass blades to keep out disease organisms.
What Are The Laws For Mowing After Hours?
For the most part, it’s not illegal to mow your lawn early in the morning or at night, because there’s no law in any of the 50 states that restricts you from doing so. However, and as mentioned earlier, lawn mowers can be extremely loud, which may merit police involvement.
Many jurisdictions have laws defining loud music as a criminal offense, where the exact definition of what constitutes loud sound varies by location. These restrictions are during specific hours of the nighttime, for example between 11 PM-7 AM.
So, whether it’s your dog barking excessively or you’re running your lawn mower across your lawn early in the morning or at night, you are in essence being a nuisance to your neighbors.
What’s worse is that your neighbors can even sue you for money damages if you continue to disturb them by mowing your lawn in the middle of the night. Your neighbors can even order you to stop the noise via a court order aka “abate the nuisance,” in legal terms.
How to Prevent Legal Action when Mowing Lawn Early in the Morning or at Night?
If you have a genuine reason for mowing your lawn at night, the best approach is to speak to your neighbors about the issue it may cause, and resolve the issue amicably.
Normally, mowing your lawn once a week is the rule depending on how fast your grass grows, you and your neighbors can reach an agreed time for you to cut grass at night.
If trying to solve the problem head-on doesn’t work out, you can use a high-quality reel lawn mower for the job. Reel lawn mowers aren’t just inexpensive tools but require little or no maintenance, are environmentally friendly and produce less noise.
Take for example the Scotts Reel Mower, which is considered an American classic to this day, because it doesn’t produce any toxic fumes for the environment to absorb, and doesn’t do anything more than whisper during use.
Reel lawn mowers are also safe to use especially when mowing at night, because they stop when you do, and don’t throw rocks or debris.
Are Electric Lawn Mowers Quieter than Gas Lawn Mowers?
If you have a larger size lawn real estate to cut, using a reel lawn mower may not be the right tool for the task, especially if you want to get the job done quickly. This leads to two choices — electric lawn mowers or gas lawn mowers.
But the big question is — are gas lawn mowers quieter than electric lawn mowers? Short answer is “NO”, and here’s why!
In terms of numbers, the gas lawn mowers emit a decibel level between 90 and 100 dB, whereas electric lawn mowers are roughly 75 dB. That may not sound as much, but it is actually pretty significant, considering that 100 dB is 8x louder than a level of 70 dB.
How to Make a Lawn Mower Quiet?
There are myriad different things you can do to make your gas lawn mower quiet. However, if you’re going to mow your lawn regularly at night, you may be better off investing in a quiet electric lawn mower such as the Greenworks corded lawn mower.
The first thing to do is to take a closer look at the muffler of the gas lawn mower for any signs of damage. Even though the job of the muffler is to reduce exhaust noise, a damaged muffler can cause a loud, low roar or rumbling sound. Another great way to make your lawn mower quieter is to install silencers to reduce the noise produced by the tool.
Nighttime Lawn Mower Safety
When it comes to safety when mowing lawn at night, there are two important aspects to consider — safety for yourself, and mowing the lawn mowing safely to prevent damage to accessories in your lawn such as sprinkler heads.
If you have camper lanterns in your garage, you can attach them to the front of your lawn mower with duct tape to see clearly in low light conditions.
Camper lanterns however aren’t the best lighting sources for lawn mowers, and can add weight to your lawn mower, and make it unstable during use.
As an alternative, you can install a pair of sleek yet powerful CREE LED headlights that provide 60-degrees 19-watts high output. Plus, they are rustproof, dustproof, and waterproof, and come with an adjustable bracket to easily change the direction of the light beam to avoid going over tree limbs, rocks and other debris.
While lawn mower lights will help you maneuver the lawn mower in the right direction, you should wear a hard hat with a light to help you see the turf ahead. You can even hold a flashlight in your hand, but this is going to get uncomfortable after a while, especially if you have a large area of turf to cut.
Electric Mower Options
If you’re using a gas or a cordless lawn mower, then you don’t have to worry about tripping over or dragging around a pesky power cord.
But if you have an electric mower, then you should ideally connect the power cord of the lawn mower with a retractable extension cord reel. You can either choose to lock the cord in place when pulled out, or retract it back automatically to keep it out of the way.
Don’t cut the grass when wet, as the turf may be slippery, or may jam the blade of your lawn mower.
It is highly recommended that you wear steel-toed footwear instead of tennis shoes, sandals, flip flops or bare feet for protection against the lawn mower blade.
When is the BEST TIME TO MOW YOUR LAWN?
Your grass will appreciate it if you mowed later in the am, like from 9-11 over the summer months, as that will give your grass time to recover throughout the day, plus the morning. dew should have dried up by then.
- Getting back to the big question – is it illegal to mow your lawn at night? Of course not, it’s your lawn and your lawn mower!
- But, if you crank up your gasoline-powered or noisy electric lawn mower at night and disturb your neighbor’s sweet dreams, expect to have them invite the police for disturbing the peace.
- To save yourself from legal consequences, you can simply hire your neighbor’s kid to cut your lawn for you during the day.
Hi, Alex Kuritz here. Growing up I remember that my family had one of the best lawns in the neighborhood. Richly green and lush. I did a lot as I grew up in terms of caring and tending for not only my family’s lawn but also my neighbors. I can say I have years of experience, and I am here to share it with you.