When we think of lawn mowing, we think of revving the mower on a sunny summer day. The buzz of an engine, the warm weather, the refreshing scent of cut grass in the air.
But your lawn doesn’t stop growing even during rainy seasons – which leaves you with very wet grass.
Can you mow wet grass? Ideally, no. Wet grass clumps are bad for your mower, while the wheels can create ruts in the soil beneath. You’re also putting the cut grass blades at risk of disease. And of course, wet grass blades are slippery!
Don’t ruin all your hard work by mowing a wet lawn. Make the job easier for yourself by waiting for things to dry – then go and mow before the rain hits again.
Is It Bad to Mow Wet Grass?
Yes, and for many reasons. We get it – you had your heart set on mowing, but an unexpected downpour ruined your plans.
Maybe you want to defy the elements and rev your mower anyway. Take it from us: it’s not worth it.
Mowing wet grass is a pretty futile effort in itself. Wet grass just slumps over under the weight of the rain, so the mower blades will likely miss the grass entirely.
But there are more reasons why cutting wet grass is a bad idea.
Why Should You Not Cut Grass When It’s Wet
Even the best lawn mowers will have difficulty with wet leaf blades. Here’s why you shouldn’t be mowing wet grass.
Wet clippings don’t mix with lawn mowers
Even with sharp blades, damp grass clippings can clog your mower.
The blades will pick up the grass underneath, which could form clumps and build up in the mower’s undercarriage. This could damage the mower deck and even cause the motor to seize up.
Moreover, if the lawn mower spits out wet clumps that are left on your lawn, the clumps will smother the grass beneath. That’ll leave you with unsightly brown patches that you’ll need to fix up later on.
Rain means a slick surface
A wet lawn is slippery, plain and simple. It’s even worse if your lawn is sloped.
Don’t risk becoming a Final Destination character by pushing a running mower while walking on a wet surface.
Wet grass clippings equal to an uneven cut
It’s more difficult to cut through wet grass blades, especially when they clump together.
They also lie flatter, so the lawn mower might not catch all the leaf blades in one area. This results in unevenly cut grass on a wet lawn.
Also, if your mower blade isn’t perfectly sharp, it’s more likely to uproot the grass completely instead of cutting it.
Heavy mowers form ruts
Lawn mowers weigh a lot, even the simple push kinds. And soil gets soggy after it rains.
Run a lawn mower over wet soil and you’ll end up with ruts. You’ll also compact the ground underneath, which will damage the roots.
Plus, do you like the idea of cleaning dried mud off your mower’s wheels? We don’t, either.
Wet grass when cut becomes a breeding ground
Excess rainfall often leads to lawn diseases – especially fungal disease.
Your mower will spread that disease around as you push it across the lawn. It’ll do that with weed seeds, too.
Moreover, clumped wet grass lacks sufficient airflow, which makes it more susceptible to fungal diseases. That can spread over your lawn – and even cause mould to grow in your mower undercarriage if wet clippings get stuck there.
Mowing when wet causes more clean-up
First of all, you’ll need to rake up all that damp grass to stop it smothering your lawn.
Then you’ll need to clean out your mower deck.
Then you’ll have to wash out the grass stains from your shoes, socks, even jeans… It’s just not worth the effort!
Electric mower + water…
Can you cut the grass when it’s wet with an electric mower? General rule of life: water and electricity should never mix.
If your mower comes with a cable, you’re risking electric shock by mowing a wet lawn. And a well-manicured lawn is not worth your life.
Even if you have a petrol mower, there’s a risk of water entering your fuel tank.
That could lead to corrosion inside the mechanism and eventual engine malfunction, and then you’ll need to buy new equipment.
How to Cut Wet Grass
If you absolutely have to mow wet grass – then there are steps you can take to make things easier on your lawn mower.
- Test your soil, especially after heavy rain. Your shoes shouldn’t sink into the ground or push water out. There shouldn’t be any standing water either. If the soil feels soft to the point of sinking, don’t mow.
- Ensure you have sharp blades. This will give you a better chance to cut evenly while mowing.
- Raise your mower deck. You’ll cut less, but it’s more likely to be cleanly cut. Simply go over your lawn another time if you want the grass shorter.
- Clean the undercarriage regularly. Removing grass clumps will prevent it from clogging the blade, which could prevent the mower from cutting properly.
- Set the equipment to side-discharge. It means more clean-up after you’ve finished mowing, but it’s better than getting wet grass out of a bag.
- Wait an hour or two. Your lawn won’t be completely dry, but it’ll reduce saturation and make things easier.
How Wet is Too Wet to Mow Grass?
You might point out that some people mow in the mornings, when the grass is damp from morning dew.
That’s actually fine – cutting damp grass won’t do much to your mower blades. Moreover, the dew hasn’t seeped into the soil, so the ground won’t be soft and at risk of rut damage.
Wet weather, though, is definitely too wet. Anytime after the rain, even a light shower, means a wet lawn and wet soil. Avoid mowing grass after it rains.
The same goes for lawn irrigation, by the way. Don’t mow your lawn after the sprinklers go off, since the water will mean a wet yard.
Other Tips for Lawn Mowing
If you need help with that, just hire a professional mowing service!
Make sure you mow to the right height – too high and sunlight won’t reach the roots, but too low and you risk weeds.
If you find yourself Googling “Can you mow wet grass,” park the mower and save yourself the effort.
You’re better off not mowing the lawn when it’s wet, and instead waiting for a nice, sunny day. Otherwise, you’ll just give yourself and your lawn more stress!