The lawn and garden season is here in Missoula. Longer days and more daylight means more time for us to get things done. Like yard work. It isn't uncommon to hear mowers and trimmers early in the morning and late into the evening on a summer night. Many nights in the summer those are the sounds that are echoing through the neighborhood as I try to go to sleep.

Lawn Mowers Can Be Heard In the Evenings

Because I work unusual hours, I don't mind when my neighbors mow or trim their lawns late into the evening or early in the morning. Our neighborhood hasn't had a lot of turnover in the past few years, so we all pretty much know each other and talk occasionally.

Is It Illegal to Mow Too Early or Too Late?

Not everyone gets along with their neighbors, and not everyone is ok with hearing lawn equipment into the evening hours. But is it illegal to mow your lawn too early or too late during the day in Missoula? According to the Missoula Noise Ordinance Chapter-930, there are regulations on where and when you can have your mowers going.

In Missoula's residential neighborhoods between the hours of 7 am and 7 pm you can create noise that does not exceed 60 decibels(dB) measured twenty five feet or more away. According to Audiology and Hearing here are some of the possible decibels of lawn care equipment:

  • Lawn mower 90dB
  • Edge trimmer 96dB
  • Leaf blower 99dB
  • Pressure washer 100dB
  • Hedge trimmer 103dB
  • Chain saw 110dB

As you can see all of the equipment is louder than what is legally allowed in Missoula during the hours of 7 am and 7 pm. During the day you can increase the sound by 10dB for short amounts of time, not to exceed 15 minutes in any given hour. The laws get even stricter at night. From 7 pm to 10 pm the maximum decibel level drops to 55dB. From 10 pm to 7 am the maximum decibel level is 50dB. The violation of these laws can be a fine of "not more than three hundred dollars". Electric mowers can put out up to 75dB, so they offer a more quiet option according to Cnet.com.

Technically It Is Illegal To Mow At These Times in Missoula

Yes, technically it can be illegal to mow your lawn, even during the middle of the day. Late evening or early mowing can be illegal as well. The best thing to do would be to make sure you have a good relationship with your neighbors and understand that they may need to take care of their lawns when it is convenient for them, not necessarily when it is convenient for you.

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