As a lawn care expert, I understand that maintaining a lush, green lawn requires careful timing, especially when it comes to mowing.
One of the most common questions homeowners ask me is, “Can I mow wet grass?”
The answer to this question depends on various factors, including the amount of rainfall, the type of grass, and your specific lawn conditions.
Let me share what I know about the best practices for mowing your lawn after rain and I’ll explain the risks associated with mowing wet grass and providing expert tips to ensure a healthy, well-manicured lawn.
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Why You Should Wait Before Cutting Wet Grass
Although it may be tempting to mow the lawn right after it rains, it is important to wait until the grass dries out.
Mowing wet grass can cause more harm than good, and it’s not just because you might slip and fall on that slippery lawn.
First and foremost, wet grass is heavier than dry grass, which means it can clog up your lawn mower’s blades and discharge chute.
This can cause damage to the mower and make it less effective at cutting the grass.
Since wet grass blades tend to bend over, that makes it more difficult for the mower to cut them evenly.
Another reason to wait before mowing wet grass is that it can damage the lawn itself.
Wet soil is softer and more prone to compaction, which can lead to poor drainage and root damage.
Mowing wet grass can also cause ruts and uneven cuts, which can make the lawn look unsightly and lead to more problems down the line.
It’s also important to consider the health of the grass itself.
Cutting wet grass can cause the blades to tear rather than cleanly cut, which can leave the grass vulnerable to disease and pests.
Wet grass clippings can also clump together and smother the grass, preventing it from getting the sunlight and nutrients it needs to thrive.
In short, it’s best to wait until the grass is dry before mowing.
This may mean waiting a few hours or even a day, depending on the weather conditions.
But taking the time to let the grass dry out can help ensure a healthy, lush lawn that looks great all season long.
Will Cutting Wet Grass Hurt My Lawn?
Cutting wet grass can be tempting, especially if you have a busy schedule and the rain has caused your grass to grow excessively.
However, I don’t recommend you cut wet grass as it can harm your lawn and your lawnmower.
Wet grass tends to clump together, which can clog up the mower and prevent it from functioning properly.
This can lead to uneven cutting and an unattractive lawn.
As if that’s not bad enough, wet grass can cause your lawnmower to rust and deteriorate more quickly, reducing its lifespan.
Even worse, cutting wet grass damages the grass blades, which makes them more susceptible to pests and disease.
Wet grass blades are softer and more prone to tearing, which can create entry points for pests and diseases, leading to brown spots and other lawn problems.
It is best to wait until the grass has dried before mowing.
This will ensure a clean cut and a healthy lawn.
If you must mow wet grass, make sure to clean your mower blades frequently and mow at a higher setting to avoid damaging the grass blades.
How Long to Wait Before Cutting Wet Grass
It is important to give wet grass enough time to dry before mowing it.
Mowing wet grass can be problematic not just for your lawn, but also your lawn mower and you.
Factors That Affect Drying Time
The length of time it takes for wet grass to dry depends on several factors, including:
- The amount of rain that fell
- The temperature and humidity levels
- The type of grass
- The soil type and condition
- The amount of sunlight the lawn receives
After a light rain or mild morning dew, it is possible to wait between 2 and 5 hours for the lawn to dry.
But after heavy rain, it’ll take as long as 24 hours for the grass to completely dry out.
To test if your grass is dry enough to mow, walk through the lawn and check if your shoes are wet. If they are, the grass is still too wet to mow.
It’s important to note that mowing wet grass can lead to several issues, including:
- Leaving clumps of clippings that could smother the grass beneath
- Clogging the mower, causing it to overheat
- Sticking to the mower’s underside, which is difficult to clean
Overall, it is best to wait until the grass is completely dry before mowing.
Tips for Mowing Wet Grass
Mower Maintenance Tips
Before mowing wet grass, it’s important to make sure your mower is in good condition.
Wet grass if often more difficult to cut, so a well-maintained mower is essential.
Sharpen the blades regularly to ensure a clean cut and prevent tearing of the grass blades.
A dull blade can cause the grass to turn brown and make it more susceptible to disease.
Check the oil and fuel levels before starting the mower, and make sure the air filter is clean.
A dirty air filter can reduce the mower’s performance and cause it to stall.
It’s also a good idea to check the tire pressure before mowing wet grass.
Mowing on wet grass can be more difficult, and proper tire pressure can help ensure the mower has enough traction to cut the grass effectively.
Techniques for Mowing Wet Grass
Mowing wet grass requires a different technique than mowing dry grass.
Wet grass is more slippery, and the mower can easily lose traction or cause damage to the lawn.
First, it’s important to adjust the mower’s cutting height.
Wet grass is more susceptible to damage, so raising the cutting height can help prevent tearing or ripping of the grass blades.
It’s also a good idea to mow in a different pattern than usual.
Mowing in the same pattern every time can cause ruts and damage to the lawn.
When mowing wet grass, it’s important to take it slow.
Wet grass can clog the mower’s deck and cause it to stall.
Mowing slowly can help prevent this from happening.
It’s also a good idea to mow in shorter intervals.
Instead of mowing the entire lawn at once, break it up into smaller sections and mow one section at a time.
This can help prevent the mower from getting clogged and make it easier to handle.
Finally, it’s important to clean the mower after mowing wet grass.
Wet grass can stick to the mower’s deck and cause rust or other damage over time.
Use a hose or pressure washer to clean the deck and remove any grass clippings or debris.
Do Some Grass Types Cope Better With Wet Mowing?
When it comes to mowing wet grass, some grass types are more resilient than others.
Kikuyu is a tough grass that tends to cope well with wet conditions.
It is hardy enough to bounce back quickly after sustaining damage.
Matilda Buffalo is another grass that demonstrates an exceptional rate of damage recovery.
Empire Zoysia and Palmetto are also lovely grass varieties that recover quickly from damage.
I want to point out that even these resilient grass types should not be mowed when the grass is too wet.
Mowing wet lawns increases the risk of rut damage, since the soil is softer and more slippery for mowers, and the grass roots can more easily be torn out by the mower tires.
That said, lighter weight mowers with their large wheels enable you to mow over wetter ground with less risk of rut damage.
It is recommended to wait until the grass is completely dry before mowing.
In the case of morning dew or light rain showers, you might only have to wait between 2 and 5 hours for the lawn to dry before mowing.
With a heavier rainstorm, you should wait longer, around 24-48 hours, for the grass to dry out before mowing.
If you’re mowing the grass when it’s still wet, it’ll cause damage to both the grass and soil, which can lead to problems with your lawn in the future.
The Risks of Cutting Wet Grass
Cutting wet grass may seem like a good idea when you have a busy schedule and can’t wait for the lawn to dry.
However, experts (like me) warn that mowing wet grass can be problematic for your lawn, your lawn mower, and you.
Here’s some of the risks associated with cutting wet grass:
Cutting wet grass can be unsafe for you.
When grass is wet, the blades can clump together, which makes it difficult for your mower to cut the grass evenly.
This can cause your mower to become clogged, which can cause it to overheat and become a safety hazard.
Wet grass can also stick to the mower’s underside, which is difficult to clean.
It’s important to wear appropriate safety gear when mowing wet grass, including sturdy shoes, safety goggles, and ear protection.
Make sure to turn off the mower and remove the spark plug before attempting to clean the underside of the mower.
Never touch the blades with your hands, and make sure the mower is completely cool before attempting to clean it.
It’s also important to avoid mowing wet grass on slopes or hills, as wet grass can be slippery and increase the risk of accidents.
Overall, it’s best to wait until the grass is dry before mowing.
If you must mow wet grass, be sure to take the necessary safety precautions and be prepared for potential damage to your lawn and mower.