Does Mowing Weeds Really Spread Them and How? (Question Answered!)

Anyone trying to nurture a beautifully landscaped lawn will agree that weeds are the enemy of aesthetics and the lawn’s health. And your current lawn care practices could be why weeds take over your lawn.

How can you change that?

It turns out that mowing weeds can help to control them, but it can also help to spread them if it’s not done correctly. With the correct mowing practices, you can get your weed problem under control.

And it’s easier than you think!

In this post, you’ll find out if mowing weeds spreads them and what you can do about it.

In Short

  • Mowing weeds can keep them under control.
  • Leaving grass clippings on your lawn with weeds seeds in them can spread weeds.
  • Mowing lawn with the mower’s exhaust captured is the solution.

mowing lawn with riding lawnmower tractor and attached spreader

To Mow or Not to Mow? Is it a Good Idea to Mow Weeds?

News flash!

Mowing weeds is actually an effective form of weed control.

Here’s the catch, though. It’s only highly effective when mowing weeds that are still young plants and only spreads through seed propagation. The idea is that if you trim them back before they can spread their seeds, they will eventually die out. Then, the spread will be over!

But wait, there’s more to the story!

You can’t just whip out the mower and go wild! If you’re mowing weeds, you must ensure that there’s a clippings bag attached to your mower. This is to trap any pesky seeds so that they can’t spread.

Does Mowing Weeds Really Spread Them, and How?

Weeds that spread by means of seeding can be a hassle to get under control, but it’s not impossible.

Here’s the honest truth…

Weed seeds have a nasty habit of being stored in the earth for many years and slowly reappearing over time. Mowing can be used to get rid of weeds over the long term.

It’s a process that requires time and consistent effort, but the payoff is well worth it.

Andy using weed killer on green lawn

When Mowing Won’t Work as Effective Weed Control

Sadly, mowing isn’t the sole solution to a weed problem. Mowing may help control seed-spreading weeds, but it’s an entirely new ball game regarding weeds that spread through stolons or runners. These weeds will continue to spread even if you mow them.

What’s the solution?

Herbicide, aka weed killer, made specifically for weeds, should be applied to the affected area.

There’s more bad news…

Certain weeds, such as the infamous Bindiis, grow super-low to the ground, making it impossible for a mower to reach them. In this instance, a weed specific herbicide is the answer.

Lastly, another scenario where mowing won’t work is if you’ve left it too late and the weeds have matured. In this case, some of the seeds may have already dropped and be spreading, so they won’t be trapped in your clippings bag.

Is Pulling Weeds Before Mowing an Option?

If you’re worried that your mowing schedule won’t be enough to keep weeds at bay, you may start to think of innovative control techniques, such as pulling weeds out before you mow the lawn.

When considering if mowing spreads weeds, it’s only natural to think that pulling weeds will help the problem.

And the clincher is this…

Pulling weeds out before mowing is undoubtedly the best course of action. In fact, if you manage to pull out the weeds when they are small and haven’t had a chance to bloom, you stand a better chance of getting rid of them completely than just by mowing them.

woman wearing gardening gloves and holding lawn weeds

Tips to Consider when Pulling Weeds Before Mowing

  • Act quickly when you see weeds – don’t let them grow to maturity.
  • Securely grip the weed at the base of the stem and tug gently until you know how much effort will be required to remove the entire root system.
  • For difficult and deeply rooted weeds, make use of weeding tools that will simplify the process and make it easier.
  • Consider a no-till garden. If you turn the garden soil twice per year to get oxygen into the soil and inspire new growth, you could also be inspiring new weed seed growth. If you’re worried about tilling and bringing up weed seeds that spread, consider a no-till setup where you don’t turn your soil.

Do This One Thing if You’ve Already Mowed Mature Weeds with Seeds

If you’ve already mowed mature weeds and started the spread of seeds, you may be worried that the weed problem will soon become insurmountable.

Don’t fret! There’s a solution, and it’s called a pre-emergent!

Pre-emergent is a granular herbicide that is typically sprinkled on the surface of the lawn in the affected area. It stops weed seeds from germinating.

How does it work?

With watering, the pre-emergent dissolves and soaks into the soil where it forms a barrier around the seeds. You can reapply pre-emergent every 12 weeks to keep seed germination at bay.

Something to be aware of…

Pre-emergent doesn’t discriminate. So, if you’ve applied to the soil in a specific area, the weed seeds won’t germinate, but other seeds (even beneficial ones) won’t germinate there either.

How Do You Stop Your Mower From Spreading Seeds?

It may feel like your mower is working against you, and you may want to drop to your knees and wail, “Why is my mower spreading seeds?”?” but the reality is that your mower is just a mower, and it’s up to you to take precautions to stop weed seed spread.

Does mowing weeds spread them? We’ve come to the conclusion that it can.

But here are some tips to follow to stop your mower from spreading weeds:

  • Use an exhaust cover or clippings bag to trap all the seeds that may come off the lawn while mowing.
  • Clean the mower and its blades to ensure you don’t spread seeds to different areas.
  • Pull as many weeds out as you can before you start mowing.
  • Use a lawn mower that’s best suited to weed control.

In Summary

In closing, does mowing seeds spread them? Mowing doesn’t necessarily have to spread weeds in your lawn if it is done correctly.

That said, if you don’t take the necessary precautions, mowing weeds can spread them. Use the tips above to get a better handle on your mowing when dealing with a weed problem.

Do you have any tips and tricks for managing weeds in lawn that you’d like to share? Leave your comments below.

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

Recent Content