Does Mowing Weeds Spread Them?

Mowing your lawn is one of the quickest and easiest weed control methods.

But some people are worried that mowing a lawn of weeds will help the unwanted plants to spread around their yard.

So, does mowing weeds spread them?

In this article, I’ll give you the advice needed to mow weeds and get the best results.

Let’s dive in.

Does Mowing Weeds Spread Them?

Mowing weeds can cause them to spread if you’re not careful. There are two ways that this sometimes happens. Firstly, if you don’t collect the clippings in a bag while you mow, seeds can spread around your yard. And secondly, if you transport your lawn mower from one location to another without cleaning it, weed cuttings, and seeds trapped underneath the mower, can be deposited in new areas.

Do I Need To Bag The Clippings?

It’s not essential to bag the clippings. Although leaving the clippings can help weeds to spread, there are two things to consider:

With regular mowing, you can prevent weeds from developing flowerheads and seeds. Spreading seeds around your yard while mowing is only a concern if you allow the weeds to grow to maturity in the first place.

It’s also worth considering that weed seeds spread into your garden from many sources. Seeds are carried on the wind from neighboring fields and gardens. And they are often deposited by birds and other animals. Collecting clippings may prevent some weed seeds from spreading around your yard, but it won’t do anything to stop the majority of weed seeds that find their way onto your lawn.

If you choose to collect the clippings, you should attach a catcher bag. Some people prefer not to bag the clippings as you will need to empty the bag regularly if you have a big yard, increasing the time it takes to complete the job. It’s up to you if you think it’s worth it.

Cleaning The Mower

If you’re mowing more than one grassy area, it’s a good idea to clean the accumulated debris from the underside of your mower. You should also clean the machine before putting it into storage.

Carefully dispose of the material you clean from your lawn mower in a waste bag.

Do Lawn Services Spread Weeds?

Lawn services often mow many lawns in a day. If they are not cleaning their equipment between jobs, there’s a possibility they will spread weeds from one lawn to the next. But as they also kill and prevent weeds as part of their service, most lawns they are working on should be relatively weed-free.

man cutting weeds and grass with a lawnmower

How Mowing Can Control Weeds

Regular mowing helps to control weeds. Weekly cutting of your lawn to the correct height encourages the turfgrass to grow healthy and thick. By setting your lawn mower blade to a high height you make it harder for weed seeds to reach the soil. And new weed seedlings are crowded out and denied sunlight by the dense grass.

Regular mowing also prevents weeds from flowering and producing seeds. This is especially useful for controlling the spread of annual weeds that grow each year from seed.

Regular mowing can kill some weeds, especially if you cut them down while young before they establish a deep and extensive root system. Regular cutting removes the foliage and prevents the plant from photosynthesizing, eventually exhausting the root system. Sometimes it can take more than one season to eradicate the weed in this way.

But some weeds can be difficult to cut using your lawn mower once they are well-established. In particular, mowing tall-growing perennial weeds with thick stems can be challenging. And other weeds can adapt to your mowing height, continuing to flower and seed.

Another potential problem is that mowing is ineffective at controlling weeds that grow close to the ground.

Tips For Mowing Weeds

Here are some tips to help you get better results:

  • If you want to pull weeds, do it before mowing your lawn. You’ll find it easier to see the weeds before trimming them down to the same length as your grass.
  • Start mowing cool-season weeds as soon as you notice them growing on your lawn. Don’t wait until your grass needs cutting in the spring.
  • Because mowing won’t control low-growing weeds, you should pull them out by hand or use herbicide when you notice them growing.
  • It’s better to spray weeds before you cut them so foliage can absorb the herbicide. Leave it for at least a couple of days after spraying to allow systemic herbicide to move from the foliage to the roots and kill the weeds for good.
  • When deciding whether or not to collect the clippings, bear in mind that some weeds can reroot and grow from cut pieces of stem left on the ground. So preventing weeds from producing seeds might not be enough to stop their spread.
  • Perennial weeds that spread through runners and rhizomes will continue spreading until you exhaust the root system. So you may want to use a systemic herbicide to control them in addition to mowing.


Is it OK to mow weeds?

It is OK to mow lawn weeds, and it can help control some common types. But many weeds will continue to grow after you cut them down to size, so you’ll need to mow regularly to prevent them from developing and spreading seeds in your yard. Many perennial weeds will still spread through runners and rhizomes despite being cut down with your lawn mower.

Should I pull or mow weeds?

Pulling weeds is most effective for controlling small, young weeds with shallow root systems that you can easily remove from your lawn. Weeds with well-established root systems often continue to grow if you leave pieces in the soil. And all the effort you expend pulling them will be wasted when they grow back. Mowing weeds is quicker and easier but doesn’t remove the plants, and you can expect continued growth.

How often should I mow my lawn?

It’s important to mow your lawn regularly to control weeds. Mowing once a week will prevent the weeds from developing flowers and foliage, making it easier for you to stop their spread, even causing them to die sometimes. Regular mowing also encourages your turfgrass to grow healthy and thick, crowding out weed seedlings.

How do I stop my lawnmower from spreading weeds?

You can stop your lawnmower from spreading seeds by attaching a collection bag to catch the clippings. You should also clean the lawnmower before transporting it to a new location or area of your garden.

Leave a Comment