Mowing one’s lawn has long been considered a wholesome weekend chore and, given how busy we can get during the week, that does not look like changing anytime soon. However, is there any etiquette or law that governs when you can tend to your lawn?
As a homeowner, mowing your lawn on Sundays is permitted in every state. For professional lawn care crews, the opposite is true. Commercial companies in nearly every state cannot mow on Sundays. Noise ordinances will regulate how early or late mowing can take place every day of the week.
That is exactly what we will be discussing in the following article. We talk about the most appropriate days (and times) for cutting your grass, as well as any governing rules and precedents. Let’s get started.
What To Know About Mowing Your Lawn On Sunday
In the U.S. and most of the western world, Sundays are widely regarded as a day of rest, religious activity, socialization, and other leisurely pursuits. Some families go to church, some people go jogging or cycling, and some people take the opportunity to catch up on some precious sleep.
This also applies to many landscaping crews. There are very few instances where you will see professional crews that will work on Sundays. I never worked on Sundays for religious purposes whereas some I worked with did the same to at least have one day off even during the height of mowing season.
There are even ordinances in most every location that prohibit professional landscaping crews from mowing on Sundays.
Alternatively, some see Sunday as an opportunity to catch up on some long overdue housework. Cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and mowing the lawn are just a few of the tasks some people may be too busy for during the week.
The latter activity is our primary focus today because it can easily trigger controversy at both neighborhood and societal levels. The question of whether it is “OK” to use a lawnmower on a Sunday can be approached in one of two ways.
The Legal Side Of Mowing On Sundays
The first is concerned with legality. In other words, is it legal to mow one’s lawn on Sunday?
As far as American law is concerned, you are 100% allowed to mow your lawn on any day you wish. No local or state law explicitly bans the use of lawnmowers on certain days. In fact, most cities and states actually compel you to cut your grass as much as necessary, with many homeowners being given deadlines for doing so.
That said, the fact that something is “OK” in the eyes of the law does not always make it right.
Is It Reasonable To Mow On Sundays?
This brings us to the second approach to the above issue: is it reasonable to cut my grass on Sunday? This approach is a bit more nuanced, as it requires the individual to assess their circumstances to determine what counts as “within reason”.
However, for this issue, the main consideration is the impact your mowing will have on other people.
Without a doubt, the main concern with lawnmowers, and other power tools, is noise. At this point, other forms of lawnmower-related pollution (such as air pollution) are well taken care of by emission laws and ordinances, with machines that violate these being completely banned in some areas.
Noise, however, is still part and parcel of using mowers, especially those that have combustion motors. As such, homeowners have the responsibility of determining when it is reasonable to make such a noise.
Would it be reasonable to crank your mower up at 6 AM on a Sunday, when most of the neighborhood might still be in bed? Probably not. A wiser move may be to wait until later in the day when people are up and about.
Of course, clearly defined rules and laws on this issue would be most welcome. In the absence of law, the best solution might be for local homeowner associations to meet and set up their own guidelines and lawnmower noise hours.
Want to mow your grass on Sundays in a way that your neighbors and HOA can’t say one word about? Amazon has a very popular Reel Mower that for the right sized yard could be just the thing you need.
One thing you cannot do on a Sunday is hire a lawn care company to come work on your yard. Commercial lawnmower operators in the U.S. not only choose not to work on Sundays, they are not allowed to operate on Sundays.
Would you like to know more about noise concerns and lawn care? Here are some other articles that deal with just that…
How Early Can I Mow My Lawn On Sunday?
As we have seen, there is no law prohibiting you from using your mower on Sunday. However, you still have to consider the impact on your neighbors, as well as what’s best for your lawn.
Most experts recommend that you avoid cutting your grass too early because of morning dew (and sleepy neighbors). Mid-to-late morning (8-11 AM) is typically the best time to mow your grass on most days, but it may still be too soon for your neighborhood. Late afternoon is also a good time.
To be safe, the best time to mow on a Sunday is in the late afternoon (3 PM onwards), after the day’s peak photosynthesis window. Your neighbors are also less likely to complain at this time. Again, you can speak to your neighbors and agree on a time that suits everyone.
While American laws are not too fussy about mowing on Sunday, other countries are a bit touchy. Switzerland, for example, completely prohibits mowing and other noisy chores on Sundays.
Australia imposes strict noise hours for private mower users. Most of its states and territories allow the use of mowers after 8 AM. People in the other states have to wait until 9 or 10 AM. The latest cutoff time among all the states is 8 PM.
How Early Is Too Early To Cut Grass?
There are several reasons why certain periods may not be ideal for cutting grass.
Being Neighborly When Mowing
Firstly, you have times that would be strenuous for neighborly relations. Midnight, for example, is a terrible time to be starting up a mower or garden tractor.
Cutting grass between 12 AM and 8 AM is too Early. Most cities in the U.S. have “acceptable” residential noise ordinances that forbid excessive noise. The typical unacceptable mowing range is 11 PM to 7 or 8 AM, for weekdays and nights, and 11 PM to 8, 9, or 10 AM on weekends or holidays.
You should definitely check with your local regulations.
I once was using a circular saw in Burbank, California and was told by an angry neighbor that the police would be called promptly at 9 pm if I was still using it. After checking with the city council’s public relations office, I found that I could have been cited for that level of noise after 9 pm.
Keeping A Healthy Lawn As Well As Community Relationship
Secondly, you have times that are bad for the development and wellbeing of the lawn itself.
Cutting your grass at the break of dawn might seem like a great way to get the jump on your day, but it is not a good idea. At this point (7 AM or earlier), your grass might still be wet with dew. Wet grass is more likely to get ripped up by the mower, which can affect how it heals. Ripped grass is also prone to infections and fungi.
Cutting wet grass can also clog up the mower deck and blades, and the inconsistent cuts may produce unsightly tracks.
Another bad time to cut is mid-day. This is when the sun is at its highest, which makes this time the peak photosynthesis window. Cutting the lawn at this time would be disrupting the grass’s daily nutrition uptake.
You should also avoid mowing your lawn in the evening or at night. The lawn needs a few hours to heal sufficiently to prevent fungal infestation. Cutting the grass in the evening will not afford it this time, making it more susceptible to fungal spores.
When is the best time for mowing?
The best time to mow your lawn is, without a doubt, mid-morning. This is usually between 8 and 11 AM. This period is great because:
- The grass is free from dew
- It gives the grass the rest of the day to heal
- It is not the peak photosynthesis window
- Most fungi do not spawn during the day
- Your neighbors are most likely up and about. Some may even be heading out for the day during this time.
- This time is not in breach of any city ordinances
Alternatively, the mid-to-late afternoon is another good time, although it gives your grass less time to heal.
The Final Touches On Mowing A Lawn On Sunday…
So, as you can see you CAN mow your grass on Sunday without breaking any social or legal regulations. Yet, the question still remains if you SHOULD mow your lawn on Sunday.
The answer has a lot to do with your community, the religious affiliation of you and your neighbors, and the time you wish to do it. Checking with local noise ordinances and your immediate neighbors is a good idea before you set this weekly chore into your schedule.
With there being no law against it, it comes down to how it will effect your neighbors. Being neighborly is not always the number one concern, but it usually should make one of the top considerations.
If you would like to know more about how noise from lawn care can effect others, read one of these articles that cover it as well…