Can You Cut Wet Grass? Guide to Mowing a Wet Lawn After Rain
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It just rained and your lawn is all wet. Can you cut grass when wet? Normally, you should wait for the grass to dry before running your mower over it, but in some circumstances, you can go ahead and mow a wet turf.
When you cut your grass when it is dry, the clippings scatter and don’t stick on the wheels of the mower. That’s not the case when mowing wet grass.
In most cases, you’ll need a really good gas-powered lawn mower to be able to cut wet grass in the rain or even after it rains. It gets worse when your yard has tall, overgrown grass.
Is it bad to mow wet grass?
It is not a good idea to mow grass when wet. The task will be heavy, messy, and uneven. You also risk leaving moist clumps of clippings on your lawn, exposing it to extended periods of moisture that can lead to turfgrass fungus.
If the mowing task can wait, it is best to mow grass when it is dry. This way, you’ll get a much cleaner and even cut with the possibility of mulching and bagging the clippings without any problems.
I’ve discussed below more reasons why it is a bad idea to mow your lawn when wet and what you should do instead.
Why You Should Not Mow a Wet lawn
A little dew in the morning can appear as though it won’t trouble you when mowing, but once you get down to cutting the wet grass, you’ll soon notice how tough it can be.
Here’s why should you not cut grass when it’s wet:
You can damage the lawn mower
Rainstorms can easily cause waterlogged areas in your yard. For you to mow a wet turf, you will need a powerful lawn mower with a deck you can adjust high enough.
In addition, a wider deck may make it easier to move over the lawn especially if the grass has just a little dew on it.
For a push-behind lawn mower, you’ll really struggle to cut through a dense turf with wet grass. But that is not the only problem you’ll have.
Will mowing wet grass ruin lawn mower?
For an electric lawn mower or strimmer, you run the risk of being electrocuted. In addition, you can easily damage electric and battery-powered lawnmowers if you mow in the rain.
Mowing a wet lawn as it rains also risks contaminating the fuel in your gas-powered mower especially if you do not add a gas stabilizer in the tank.
See also my article on the type of gas to use for your lawn mower.
The wet clippings also pose the danger of blocking parts of your lawnmower that are important to its performance. For example, they can cause blockage on the blades, clogged vacuum, or even dirty air filters. Your lawn mower machine likely won’t start the next time you want to use it because of this damage.
If your lawnmower is not powerful enough, it can easily overheat when you trim damp grass, exposing it to possible damage.
Wet grass bends and lies closer to the ground compared to a dry turf. This is because the dew on the grass blades makes them heavy, forcing them to bend down instead of standing upright.
For you to cut the grass properly, the blades need to stand upright, otherwise, your mower will miss most of the grass, producing an uneven cut across your lawn.
As soon as the rainwater starts to drain away and the grass blades dry up, sections of your lawn will start to appear as though you did not mow them. This uneven cut will make you go over the lawn and mow it afresh to get that even cut.
Clippings clump on the lawn
It is not a good idea to mow wet grass, especially on a regular basis because the mower will produce wet clippings that easily clump together and lay over your grass.
When wet clippings bunch-up and stay on your grass for some time, they keep a lot of moisture over an extended period and leave your lawn prone to fungus and other diseases. It is best to cut dry grass because the clippings will be shredded and spread evenly over your lawn.
If you still prefer to mow your lawn after it rains, you might want to consider getting a drag unit to help you clear the soaked clippings off the grass.
In addition, check the deck frequently when mowing turfgrass after the rain to make sure the clippings are not clumping it, which can be a problem for air-tapered decks.
Easy spread of diseases
Lawn diseases usually spread in patches and that is why cutting grass when it is wet is not recommended. Wet blades of the mower easily carry disease-causing agents and transfer them onto freshly-cut grass blades.
The rate of spreading turfgrass diseases is higher when you mow immediately after rain or during rain.
If you see any signs of turfgrass infection, wait till the grass dries up before taking out your lawn mower to run over and snip the grass blades and cut them short.
It is too much work
On a wet turf, the clippings easily bunch up and clog the mower. Pushing it can be really difficult and a lot of work compared to when mowing wet grass. If you go ahead, you’ll be creating a lot more work for yourself than you’d expect.
Here’s how much more work you’ll have to do if you cut grass after it rains:
- You first want to remove the dew off the grass blades before mowing a wet lawn.
- Prepare to clear the clumps of wet clippings off the lawn to prevent diseases.
- If you’re using a push-behind lawn mower, it will take a lot of energy to cut a small area because of the slippery turf as well as the clogging mower.
It is best to cut wet grass using a gas-powered mower with a powerful motor. Mostly, commercial-grade lawn mowers are preferred for this kind of work over machines meant for small yards.
You risk slipping
After a rainstorm, your lawn is likely to be slippery and dangerous to walk on or even ride a lawn mower over.
- You risk slipping and spraining your leg.
- You can easily lose control of a riding lawn mower when the turf is wet.
How long should I wait to mow the grass after it rains?
These risks are heightened if you’re mowing a lawn on a slope after it rains, so you’d better wait for the turf to dry up.
How to Mow a Wet Lawn
There are times when you will still need to mow your lawn when it rains. In fact, it is highly advised that you attempt to cut the grass instead of leaving it to grow too tall as you wait for sunny days.
It is not recommended, but if you must, here’s how to cut wet grass:
Sharpen the blades of your mower
Blunt blades can make trimming a wet turf a tough job since wet grass weighs down instead of standing upright. The grass will evade the blades, making it difficult to get an even cut.
One way of fixing this is to ensure the blades are sharp enough to not brush over and push grass blades aside or sideways.
Use mowers with large wheels
A wet turf means soft ground that can easily be torn and damaged when too much pressure is exerted on it. Since you also risk tearing up your yard when mowing after heavy rains, you may want to choose the right mower for this job.
A lawn mower with wide wheels is highly recommended for this job to reduce the risk of rut damage because of the sinking soft surface.
However, I would advise you to check the soil first to see if it is muddy. If so, you’d rather wait and mow your lawn later when the lawn dries up.
Use a gas-powered lawn mower
A gas-powered mower is less likely to pose a bigger risk of electric shock when you mow your lawn in the rain. That is why I would recommend using it instead of a corded electric lawnmower.
Some experts recommend spraying silicone or some sort of oil under the lawnmower to prevent wet grass from sticking onto the deck and causing a sticky mess.
I have found grass-cutting machines with serrated blades to do a better job at cutting grass after rain. However, most of these are commercial-grade lawn mowers and may be too expensive for an average homeowner who wants to maintain a small yard.
Raise the mowing deck
To reduce load stress on your lawn mower, ensure that you raise the cutting deck of the mower you’re using. If you choose a mowing height that is very low, you’ll put too much stress on the engine and possibly lead to a mechanical failure.
Also, raising the mowing deck means smoother and easier passes compared to when using a lower mowing height.
You can compensate for the high mowing height by mowing more often than you’re used to – probably 2 more times per week.
Cut the grass in smaller swatches
If you decide to mow your lawn after it rains, cut the wet grass in small swatches than you would normally do.
Narrower passes will help reduce the amount of grass you cut in a single pass and reduce the load on the lawn mower, making your work easier while preventing instances of overheating the mower’s engine.
Also, it is better to use a zero turn lawn mower, otherwise ensure you do not make sharp turns that may put you in danger of injury.
Discharge the clippings
Since we all prefer bagging or mulching, this option will not work well when cutting wet grass. Bagging can easily damage the bag because wet grass cuttings are very heavy.
The wet grass clippings will also leave the bag extremely dirty and possibly discolored.
To successfully cut wet grass after rain, discharge the clippings onto the turf using the side chutes on your lawn.
Clean the clippings off the turf
Leaving clumps of grass clippings on your lawn is risking disease. After mowing in the rain, make sure you use a rake to collect the wet clippings and remove them from your grass.
While this is an extra turf you may not have planned for, it will go a long way in helping maintain healthy turf.
Clean the lawn mower when done
When done, clean the lawn mower or strimmer to remove any grass clippings that may be stuck on the blades and the underside of the cutting deck.
If you leave that much dirt on the lawn mower, there will be moss growing on the blades and other parts of the machine. The next time you go out mowing, you’ll be spreading fungi and moss.
Leaving the mower dirty with grass damp clippings and moisture exposes it to the risk of rusting and getting spoiled.
You might also want to drain the fuel just in case it is contaminated with moisture. Contaminated fuel can mean the lawn mower won’t start the next time you want to use it.
How to Mow Wet Grass
It’s happened to all of us at one point or another—it’s been raining for a week straight with no end in sight and you really need to mow your lawn. While most of us know that mowing in wet weather isn’t ideal, it’s something that cannot be helped on some rare occasions.
Knowing how to mow effectively and safely when your grass is wet can help you keep your lawn safe and healthy without sacrificing the quality of your mower or putting yourself at risk.
Why Mow My Grass at All?
If it’s been raining for days or even weeks on end, it can be tempting to forget about mowing your lawn altogether. Though mowing might seem like a pointless task (especially when the weather is bad) it’s important to remember that mowing your lawn on a regular basis is crucial to maintaining the health of your grass. Here are a few of the biggest benefits that come with following a regular mowing schedule.
- Mowing keeps your lawn healthy: Your lawn is only as healthy as its roots. Unfortunately, when you allow your grass to grow too high, water and oxygen has a tougher time making it down to the roots of your grass. Mowing your lawn on a regular basis and maintaining a consistent height helps facilitate air and water flow between your soil and the atmosphere, which helps your grass grow in healthier and fuller.
- Fallen shoots of grass fertilize your lawn: Mowing your lawn doesn’t only help it look great immediately after you put the mower away—it can also help you cultivate a healthier lawn over time. After mowing, leave dry lawn clippings on your grass and allow your yard to enjoy an all-natural free fertilizer.
- Your grass becomes stronger over time: Another benefit of regularly cutting down your grass is that only the strongest, healthiest roots will be able to stay in your lawn. Over time, mowing your lawn consistently can leave you with healthier and fuller grass, as weaker shoots die off and are replaced with stronger blades of grass.
- Mowing distributes resources more evenly: Does your lawn regularly grow in clumps or patches? If it does, the answer might be to mow more often. Mowing reduces your grass blades to a uniform length, which results in water, oxygen, and other nutrients being more evenly distributed across your lawn.
- Depending on where you live, you might need to mow: If you live in an area with a homeowner’s association or other neighborhood control group, you might have regulations requiring you to keep your grass at a certain height. If you fail to keep your grass within these guidelines, you could face a fine from your homeowner’s association.
Even if you aren’t required to mow your lawn, regular mowing improves the exterior appearance of your property. This can add to your home’s curb appeal and even the value of your home if you decide to put your property up on the market.
Why You Shouldn’t Mow Wet Grass
You should avoid mowing your lawn when it’s wet for a variety of reasons. Mowing when your lawn is wet can result in a wide range of safety and grass health issues that you’ll want to avoid whenever possible. Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should do the vast majority of your mowing on days when the weather is dry.
- It can make your lawn look uneven: when you mow your grass, you want each blade of grass to be standing upright. This allows you to get an even, consistent length across your lawn. When grass is wet, it can become overly saturated in select parts of your lawn, causing the blades to droop down. After mowing a wet lawn, you’ll likely notice that your grass is uneven and even patchy—and in some extreme cases, you might even need to mow again later to get the look you need.
- Mowing wet grass can leave your lawn susceptible to disease: When you mow wet grass, you’re not cutting erect blades like you typically do when you mow your lawn dry. Instead, the resulting cut is similar to tearing the top of the grass blade, which can damage the health of your lawn and leave it more susceptible to diseases.
Fungal diseases are a notorious culprit when it comes to post-rainfall lawn infections. Fungi require a cool, damp environment in order to take root. When you mow your lawn when wet, you expose the interior of your grass to any fungal spores that happen to be in your lawn, which creates the ideal environment for infection. If you allow clumps of wet grass to rest on your lawn, you might even see a stubborn fungal infection called “brown spot” emerge in your yard. Avoid the hassle of treating these types of lawn diseases by mowing your lawn only when it’s dry out.
- It’s bad for your soil too: Mowing while your grass is wet isn’t only bad for your grass’s health—it can also harm the quality of your soil. After a heavy rainstorm, your soil becomes more malleable. When you run a lawnmower over damp soil, the wheels of the mower can sink into the ground and damage the roots of your grass. This can also cause your soil to become compacted, which makes it more difficult for your grass to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow.
- Mowing while your lawn is wet is dangerous: If you have a riding lawnmower, you’re at a higher risk of tipping over when you mow on wet grass. Riding a mower on a wet, slippery lawn can create a hydroplaning effect, which can put you at risk of injury.
- Wet grass clippings can damage your mower: Moisture can mean major problems for your lawn mower—especially if it’s able to mix with the gasoline in your tank. Clumps of wet grass can also get caught in the wheels or blades of your lawnmower, which can be a hassle to correct after you’re finished.
Mowing your lawn while it’s wet can leave you with more work and a lawn that looks patchy or uneven. It can even be unsafe if you attempt to operate a riding lawnmower on a wet patch of grass.
Tips For Mowing Wet Grass
In some circumstances, you may not be able to avoid mowing your lawn when it’s wet. Thankfully, there are a few steps and precautions you can take to mow your lawn effectively and safely, even after a rain shower.
Use only safe mowers
Though no type of lawnmower was built to mow wet grass, certain types of mowers do better in damp environments than others. The best type of lawnmower you can use on wet grass is a manual push mower, but gas-powered push mowers can also be used safely after it rains.
Never use a riding mower on wet grass, as this type of mower can easily roll over and injure you even on a small slippery incline. You should also never use an electric mower on wet grass, as the water on your lawn may conduct electricity from your lawnmower and electrocute you. If you live in the Northeastern United States or another area where rainstorms are regular occurrences, you’ll likely want to invest in a type of mower that’s safe for use on wet grass.
Set your mower up for success
You can also optimize your lawnmower’s setting to avoid damaging your grass. Here are a few steps you should take before you begin mowing.
- Sharpen your lawn mower blades: Sharpening your lawn mower blades will help you avoid the “tearing” effect of cutting wet blades of grass. Be sure to sharpen your blades regularly, especially if you live in an area where rain storms are common.
- Raise your mower deck: In damp conditions, you’ll want to mow between three and four inches high to prevent clogging your mower or scalping your lawn. Set your mower to its highest setting before you begin. If you don’t like your grass on the longer side, remember that you can always return when your lawn is drier to refine the length.
- Clean out your mower deck: If you need to mow a wet lawn, you should always start with a clear deck. This helps prevent clogs and damage to your mower.
Taking just a few minutes to adjust your mower’s settings can mean the difference between a healthy lawn and a damaged lawn mower when it comes to cutting wet grass.
Add stabilizer to your fuel
Gasoline contains a compound called “ethanol” which can easily bond to moisture in the atmosphere or your grass and render it less effective at utilizing energy. If you need to mow a wet lawn, it’s important to add a stabilizer to your fuel. This will prevent the gasoline from bonding with moisture in your grass or the atmosphere while you’re mowing.
You should also avoid buying more gasoline than you can use in two weeks’ time if you live in an area with higher humidity or rainier weather. Purchasing only the amount of gasoline that you need will help you save money and retain the effectiveness of all fuel you purchase.
Once your lawnmower is ready to go and you’ve stabilized your fuel, you can begin mowing your lawn. Depending on the length of your grass and your lawn’s condition, you might want to use a slower speed to prevent skidding. Be aware of your footing and wear shoes with plenty of traction to avoid slipping and falling.
Clean up after you mow
As you mow a wet lawn, you’ll want to avoid bagging or mulching your lawn clippings. Instead, use the side-discharge setting, which will leave clippings on your lawn. After you finish mowing be sure to clean up your lawn clippings to avoid future issues with fungal infections.
You should also take time to clean off your mower after you use it on wet grass as well. Wipe down the blades of your lawnmower and scrape the deck clean. Use a wire brush to clean any stray grass clippings from the wheels of your lawnmower. This will help keep your mower in its best possible condition.
Mow more often in the future
If you live in an area where heavy rainstorms are common, you may want to increase your mowing schedule and mow more than once a week. Mowing more often prevents your lawn from becoming too shaggy, which is more difficult to cut when wet.
Keeping Your Lawn Looking Gorgeous
Every homeowner wants to keep their lawn looking lush and green throughout the year. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or expertise to give their lawn the TLC it needs to thrive. If you’re dealing with a stubborn lawn care issue, call the team at TruGreen in to take care of it for you. TruGreen is your local source for all of the lawn care services your grass needs to stay healthy. Give our team a call today at 877-349-9084 to learn more.
Mowing when Wet
Mowing a wet lawn is not only a hazard to the person mowing it, but also the lawn itself. If it is at all avoidable, it is recommended that mowing not be done when the lawn is wet.
Substantial problems can arise when trying to mow a lawn while it is wet. One of the biggest concerns is personal safety. A wet lawn is a slippery lawn, and a slippery lawn in combination with high powered blades can be extremely dangerous whether walking behind or riding on the lawn mower.
Damage can be unavoidable when attempting to mow a wet lawn. No matter the experience level or the grade of mower, accidents happen and damage to a once manicured lawn is the result. Tires from a lawn mower, as well as any walking traffic, can easily sink into saturated areas leave ruts and uprooting the grass plant. This can be expensive to fix and may involve seed or sod depending on the severity of the damage.
Clumping is another result of mowing the lawn while it is wet. Clumping is not only bad for the lawn mower and consumes more time because of bogging down or dyeing all together, but it is also bad for the lawn. A lawn does not grow properly when it is covered or blocked. A large clump of clippings lying on top of the lawn can result in the death of the plant.
If it Must Be Done
During the rainy season, it is almost impossible to avoid mowing when the lawn is wet. There are a few tips to follow if it has to be done.
- Clean the mower once completed. Get all of the wet grass clippings out from under the deck and off of the blades. The moisture can cause these areas to rust if left for too long and can also allow for mold to grow and be spread the next time the lawn is mowed.
- Cut more often if possible. If the typical mowing schedule is every seven days but it rains on day 7, try switching to an every 5 day schedule. This will allow the chance for more dry time yet allow a couple extra days before it has to be cut.
- Raise the mower deck. Mowing at a higher setting will give the lawn a freshly mowed look without having to take too much off during a wet cut and jeopardize the grass plant itself.
- Sharpen the mower blades. Sharp mower blades are more effective during wet or dry conditions and are overall better for the grass plant. Sharp blades allow for the grass to be cut rather than torn or ripped.
- Side shooter rather than mulched or bagged. When mowing tall wet grass, it may be better to shoot the grass out of the side of the machine rather than attempting to mulch it or bag it. Wet grass clipping clump together and can result in a clog under the mowing deck and bog dawn or ruin the lawn mower itself.
Sum it up
To sum it up, waiting for dry weather is the best and safest option. If it is absolutely essential to mow under wet conditions, extreme caution should be applied to avoid accidental damage to the lawn, mower, or self.
It is always a good idea to consult with a lawn care professional and ask any questions you may have. Look around, ask friends or family, and research companies on the Better Business Bureau to find a company that you can trust.
Should you mow wet grass? Experts explain the best time to cut your grass for a healthy backyard
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Whether or not you should mow wet grass is one of the great debates among gardeners. You’ve probably heard your dad warn against mowing the lawn after a heavy rainfall and wondered what could possibly go so badly but, like most things in life, it turns out your parents know best.
Mowing the lawn when it’s wet is one of those scenarios where just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should. There are a whole host of risks associated with cutting wet grass, from damaging the blades of your mower to impacting the health of the blades of grass themselves. For a green and luscious lawn this spring, you’ll want to make sure it’s dry before you cut it.
With lawn mowing season finally upon us, make sure you start off on the right foot. To understand more about the risks involved with cutting wet grass and when the best time to mow the lawn actually is, we’ve spoken with some gardening experts who share everything you need to know for a healthy backyard.
Should you mow wet grass?
As it turns out, that old wive’s tale about mowing wet grass has some legitimacy to it. If it can be avoided you should never mow your lawn when it’s wet, be that after a rainfall, watering with a sprinkler, or simply a glistening morning dew.
‘Mowing wet grass is not recommended for lawn health, equipment functionality, or operator safety,’ says Stephen Webb, expert gardener at Gardens Whisper. ‘Wet grass clumps together and easily gets clogged in your mower blades, slowing them down and making the engine work harder to turn them, which can cause damage to both your lawn and your mower.’
‘The clippings from wet grass can also be expelled from your mower in large sections, where they then can actually smother your planted grass, causing patches of your lawn to die or dry up,’ adds Jeremy Yamaguchi, lawn expert and CEO of Lawn Love. If your lawn is prone to discolored or uneven patches that ruin your backyard landscaping, you might want to rule out the possibility that mowing the grass while it’s still wet is the culprit.
Besides those surface level problems, cutting wet grass will likely cause some issues deeper underground, too. ‘Wet grass is more susceptible to rut damage since the soil is softer and more slippery for mowers,’ Stephen explains. ‘The blades can also tear out the grassroots more easily, leading to a sparser looking lawn.’
How long should you wait to mow grass after rain?
There’s a high chance you’re here because there was a heavy downfall of rain last night. You’ve got places to be later this morning, but you’re also well aware that your lawn is overdue a trim. So, how long should you wait to mow the grass after it rains?
‘It’s best to wait until the grass is completely dry before you mow,’ says Lina Cowley, gardening expert and blogger at Trimmed Roots. ‘After heavy rain, it can take up to 24 hours for the grass to dry out completely so you’ll need to be patient.’ The good news is, your grass isn’t going to grow a noticeable amount in that time, so you can certainly spare another day.
Jeremy’s advice follows the same lines. ‘If it has rained, wait at least a day to mow,’ he says. ‘It’s also important to note that wet grass doesn’t just apply to post-rainfall either, it also includes early morning dew.’ (Why not go a step further and give no mow May a go to attract more wildlife to your garden and give your grass a rest?)
What time of day should you mow your lawn?
Mowing the lawn undoubtedly feels like a morning activity. It’s often incorporated into our slow Sunday routine, ticked off the list early in the day then followed by a lazy afternoon on the lounger with a good book (weather permitting, of course). The problem is, mowing in the morning might now be such a good idea after all.
‘It’s understandable to want to mow your lawn early in the morning in order to avoid the hot sun, however, since yards are often covered with dew in the early morning, I’d recommend avoiding it if possible,’ says Jeremy.
Instead, you should aim to mow your lawn late in the afternoon or early in the evening. ‘Doing so will help to protect the grass from the heat of the day, and reduce the risk of damaging the grass due to direct sunlight,’ Lina adds. ‘Plus, mowing at this time can help to ensure that the mowing job is even and neat without the risk of wet grass clumping.’
Lawn care in winter and summer both have different requirements, but there are some enduring lessons that will always remain, and avoiding cutting wet grass is one of them. For a luscious and healthy lawn all year round, always endeavor to mow the lawn on a dry afternoon or evening. We’re sure your garden will thank you for it.
Mowing Wet Grass In The Rain! RAW MOWING FOOTAGE!!