Leave Grass Tall or Short for Winter? (Best Grass Height for Cold Days)

Grass cannot be too short or too long when winter time arrives, so you’ll have to cut it to the right height to protect it from the cold. Cut your grass to 2-2.5 inches in height so it can last and stay healthy throughout the winter which is quite tall.

Cutting lawn too short in the winter can stress the grass and the roots and leaves can die back.

This article will explore the best grass height for winter and some tips to look after your lawn before winter arrives.

Best Grass Height for Winter

The reason your grass needs to be cut to the correct height before the winter is to protect the grass. If the grass is cut too short, it can cause stress to the plant once it turns cold, possibly destroying the roots or even the blades of grass themselves

Leaving the grass too long can also be harmful because long grass is at risk of getting fungal or other types of infections once the weather turns cold.

It is best to leave the grass 2 to 2.5 inches long and not shorter or longer than that.

When to Last Mow Your Grass Before Winter

Grass does grow during the winter months, but it grows slower and slower before finally becoming dormant, where it will remain until the temperature warms up.

You should continue mowing your lawn regularly until the daytime temperature is consistently lower than 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature gets below 50 or so degrees, its growth will begin to slow down until it finally stops growing altogether.

Check out this great video on how to step down your lawn for winter.

At What Temperature Does Grass Stop Growing?

Any time it gets below 50 degrees and stays that way, your grass will start to slow down until it finally stops growing and becomes dormant.

Grass does not stop photosynthesizing at night, so as long as your grass is growing, it will grow at the same rate both day and night. Some people believe that grass grows slower at night, especially in the winter time, but this is not based on fact.

3 Things to Do to Your Lawn Before Winter Arrives

Before winter time gets here, there are a few things you can do with your lawn to make sure it survives those months.

1. Overseed and Aerate

Roughly 6-8 weeks before the first freeze, you should go ahead and aerate and overseed your lawn. It is best if you irrigate, aerate, and then overseed your lawn for the best results.

2. Water your lawn before a freeze

Before you expect a freeze deep water your lawn to make sure that the roots can absorb the water. Do this 24-48 hours before a frost and this will help the lawn to survive the cold weather.

3. Mow your lawn to 2.5 inches

Keeping your lawn longer is a great way to protect it over winter. The blades of the leaves will still be able to photosynthesize while protecting the roots and stems. Keeping it this length will help to avoid fungal growth that can damage the leaves and roots.

How to Keep Your Grass Green in Winter: 7 Easy Tips

There are numerous ways you can keep your lawns nice and green in the winter.

1. Overseed Your Grass

If you live in an area where you can plant warm-season grass, you can overseed with cool-season grass afterwards. Once the warm-season grass starts to die and go dormant, the cool-season grass comes to life, allowing you to enjoy green grass throughout the winter. It is a simple task that helps your lawn to stay green when it’s cold outside.

2. Use a Good Fertilizer

In the fall, use a slow-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen so that the growth of the grass speeds up and it comes in much quicker. If it’s later in the fall before you remember this, try to fertilize sometime before the first freeze or frost so you get better results.

Fertilizers also speed up decomposition of clippings or mulch so they become more effective.

3. Use a De-Icer

A calcium chloride de-icer can be used to prevent your grass from dying in the winter months. Never use a de-icer that contains salt because it will likely kill the grass instead.

4. Get Rid of Leaves and Other Debris

It’s easy to ignore your lawn in the winter time, but once leaves and other debris fall onto your lawn, those things can stop the sun from getting to it, causing it to die and turn brown. Make sure you rake or mulch your leaves immediately and keep up with this task throughout the winter.

5. Keep Watering

It is easy to assume you never have to water your lawn when it’s cold outside, but that isn’t the case. Start by watering less often – once a week instead of two or three times per week and see how the grass responds. You can always water more often if the grass starts to look worse.

6. Aerate the Lawn

You’ll need to decompact your lawn periodically, and it’s easy to find a good aerator at your local home-improvement store. Go ahead and rent one to aerate your lawn, but make sure you do it when the ground is not frozen.

7. Apply a Surf Colorant

This is something a lot of people use to keep their lawn nice and green during the winter, and it is essentially a paint that you apply to your grass. If you’ve tried everything and your grass is still brown and dull-looking, feel free to use a surf colorant.


Grass should be kept 2-2.5 inches long during the winter months, and never shorter than two inches in height. Keep in mind that grass grows much slower in the winter, then stops altogether when it becomes dormant. But you can still do things to keep it looking great during the cold months.