Can You Mow Over Utility Flags: Safe Lawncare Tips

You should not mow over utility flags as they mark underground utilities. Mowing them down could result in damage to utility lines and safety hazards.

Utility flags are small markers placed by utility companies or surveyors to signify the presence of underground pipelines, cables, and other key infrastructure. Mowing over these flags can lead to costly repairs, service disruptions, and potential harm to yourself and others.

Furthermore, ignoring these markers can bring about legal consequences if the damage leads to public safety incidents. Therefore, take extra care while mowing and avoid these flags to keep essential services running smoothly and ensure your lawn care practices don’t inadvertently create risks.

Understanding Utility Flags In Your Lawn

Spotting a variety of utility flags poking out of your lawn might pique your curiosity, or perhaps, cause a little confusion. These flags are not just arbitrary markers but bear great significance for homeowner safety and the preservation of essential services. Before you consider resuming your landscaping tasks or specifically, mowing over these colorful indicators, it’s crucial to understand what these flags represent and why they’re placed in your yard.

What Are Utility Flags?

Utility flags are small flags attached to wire or plastic stakes, used by utility companies and professional locators to mark the underground lines of various public utility services in a given area. These flags are color-coded according to the American Public Works Association (APWA) standards to signify different types of underground utilities:

  • Red: Electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables
  • Yellow: Gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or other gaseous or flammable material
  • Orange: Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
  • Blue: Potable water
  • Purple: Reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines
  • Green: Sewers and drain lines
  • Pink: Temporary survey markings
  • White: Proposed excavation site

Importance Of Utility Flag Markings

The chiefly purpose of these utility flag markings is to prevent damage to the utility lines during construction, excavation, or landscaping activities that involve digging into the soil. Ignoring these flags can lead to several consequences, including:

  1. Personal injury from severed lines
  2. Service outages for the neighborhood
  3. Costly repairs and heavy fines
  4. Potential legal action for damages

With this in mind, it is imperative for homeowners to commit to proper protocols upon sight of utility flags. Not only does this safeguard personal well-being and community services, but it’s also an act of legal compliance. Before any digging or lawn alterations like mowing, ensure you are well-informed about the locations of these utility lines and abstain from disrupting the flagged areas.

The Risks Of Mowing Over Utility Flags

Utility flags are a common sight in neighborhoods indicating the presence of important underground utilities. They serve as crucial markers for electric lines, gas pipes, water mains, or communication cables beneath our yards. Ignoring these colored signals and mowing over them can lead to some serious consequences. In this portion of our post, we’ll delve into the risks you might face by disregarding these small but significant markers.

Potential Damage To Underground Utilities

Mowing over utility flags is not just about ruining a piece of colored plastic—there’s a whole network of essential services lying just a few feet below the surface. Here’s what could go wrong:

  • Severed Connections: Running over a flag might mean cutting through a vital utility line, disconnecting services not just for you, but potentially for your entire neighborhood.
  • Expensive Repairs: Cutting a buried utility line can incur significant repair costs—and these might fall on you if you’ve ignored the warning flags.
  • Service Disruptions: Accidental damage to utilities leads to inconvenient outages for everyone affected, disrupting daily routines and business operations.
  • Lasting Damage: Beyond immediate repairs, the underlying infrastructure could be compromised, leading to long-term issues.

Safety Risks And Consequences

It’s not just about the infrastructure; personal safety is a major concern if you ignore utility flags while mowing:

  1. Risk of Electrocution: Mowing over an electric line can lead to serious injury or even fatal electrocution.
  2. Gas Leaks: Damaging a gas pipe could cause a leak, posing a risk of explosion and potential health hazards from inhaling gas.
  3. Water Contamination: Severing a water main may lead to water contamination, affecting the community’s health.
  4. Legal Repercussions: If your actions lead to damage or injury, you might face legal liability and fines.

Safe Practices For Lawncare Near Utility Flags

Utility flags are a critical safety measure, signaling the presence of underground utilities such as gas, water, or electrical lines. Lawn care becomes a matter of precision and caution in areas marked by these colorful indicators. To prevent damage to these essential services and avoid costly repairs or dangerous accidents, it’s important to adhere to safe lawn care practices when utility flags are present in your yard.

Precautionary Measures Before Mowing

Before starting your lawnmower, take the following steps to ensure a safe mowing experience around utility flags:

  • Identify all flags: Walk through your yard and note the location of every utility flag. This will help you map out a mowing strategy that avoids these areas.
  • Understand flag colors: Each color represents a different type of utility line. Familiarize yourself with the color code so you’re aware of what types of lines are running through your property.
  • Hand-trim first: Use a hand-held trimmer or shears to carefully cut the grass around the flags before mowing. This reduces the risk of accidentally hitting a flag with your mower.

Best Practices For Mowing Near Utility Flags

When it’s time to mow your lawn in areas near utility flags, follow these best practices:

  1. Keep a safe distance: Maintain at least a one-foot buffer zone from the flags to prevent any contact with underground utilities.
  2. Adjust your mowing pattern: Mow in a direction that allows you to steer clear of the flags, rather than heading straight toward them.
  3. Monitor flag stability: Ensure flags remain securely in place and upright to maintain clear visibility and avoid mower entanglement.
  4. Leave flags in place: Resist the temptation to remove or relocate flags. They should stay in position until the utility company or the initiating party has finished their work and removed them.

Following these guidelines will protect both your safety and the integrity of your lawn and home’s utility services.

Legal Implications And Responsibilities

Can You Mow Over Utility Flags: Safe Lawncare Tips


Frequently Asked Questions Of Can You Mow Over Utility Flags

What Happens If You Mow Over Utility Flags?

Lawnmowers can damage utility flags or even cut through the marked utility lines underneath. This can disrupt services, lead to costly repairs, or pose safety hazards. Always avoid mowing over them and remove flags carefully if needed.

Are Utility Flags Mandatory To Observe While Mowing?

Yes, utility flags are legal indicators of underground utilities and must be observed. Disregarding them during mowing can result in damage to utilities and may be subject to penalties or fines.

How Can I Safely Mow Around Utility Flags?

To mow safely around utility flags, use a trimmer or hand-held cutter. This avoids disturbing the flags and prevents damage to hidden utility lines. Always maintain a safe distance from the flags while mowing.

Can Utility Flags Be Temporarily Removed For Lawn Care?

Utility flags should remain in place until the marking is no longer needed or the related work has been completed. If necessary, carefully reposition them, ensuring they are put back exactly as found.


Navigating your lawn with utility flags presents a challenge. Prioritize safety and respect property lines. Avoid mowing directly over these markers. Remember, they signal vital underground services. For a secure, undamaged yard, heed the flags and adjust your mowing path accordingly.

Drive home the importance of utility flag awareness.

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