Homeowners have often struggled with the decision on whether or not mow wet grass. If your grass is getting long or you have people coming over you might be wondering, “Can I mow wet grass?” We’re here to tell you it’s not a good idea and explain why.
As a rule of thumb, mowing wet grass is highly discouraged because:
- You could potentially further damage grass already weak because of the water.
- You run a risk of not cutting the grass uniformly.
- The mower might be damaged from the clogged grass that blocks the blades.
Even though it can be super tempting, it is always better to wait until the grass dries.
But that’s not all. Read on for more reasons why you should never plan to mow wet grass.
Why You Should Never Mow Wet Grass
You’ve noticed that your lawn is looking pretty shabby during the wet season due to overgrowth. In fact, you are even considering trying to mow it hoping to improve its appearance. However, following through on this well-intended idea could create more harm than good.
So, before you power up your mower and get to work, you should know how this decision will affect your beloved lawn in at least one of the following ways:
You Run a Risk of Damaging your Lawn
The soil in your lawn gets soft and weak after a few rainy days, which offers very little support to your grass. It’s easy for the mower to uproot the grass from the fragile surface, which offers very weak anchoring. As a result, you might end up with very little grass on your lawn that will survive.
There is also the issue of the visible wheel tracks left by the mower, and not to mention your footprints, on your lawn.
Such a physical disturbance is hard to miss, especially if the ground is soaking wet. Rut formation is to be expected when you mow wet grass, and it leaves your lawn looking damaged.
The Fungal Infection Problem
Freshly-cut wet grass is susceptible to fungal infection. The infection will appear as brown stains spreading across the lawn.
In many cases, the mower is responsible for spreading the fungus from the infected area of your lawn to other parts that are not infected.
To reduce the risk of spreading a fungus throughout your entire lawn, your best bet is to mow when the grass is dry.
It Would Result In an Unevenly-Cut Lawn
Wet grass is sticky, especially when it’s freshly cut, and will band together to form clumps.
These clumps will make your lawn appear uneven unless you use a rake to disperse it. This would mean more work on your hands compared to mowing during dry seasons.
Even then, your lawn might not get the desired look. The cloggy grass that is left behind by the mower often makes the lawn have an uneven appearance. This wet grass could also sit there and end up killing the grass below, essentially suffocating it.
If you observe carefully, you will also notice that wet grass tends to bend towards the surface. When this happens, the blades from the mower might not reach it properly. As a result, you will have parts of your lawn with uncut grass, which tends to show once it dries up.
You Run a Risk of Damaging the Mower
The mower is meant to cut dry grass. Wet grass will mostly just clog the motor, which forces the engine to work twice as hard to get the job done. If you make a habit of mowing wet grass more often, you’re risking the lifespan of your mower.
There is also the issue of rust on the metallic underside of your mower. Prolonged exposure of the mower to moist grass will result in corrosion and rust, significantly reducing its lifespan and effectiveness.
Undesirable Stains on your Clothes and the Driveway
Wet grass has a tendency to spread more brightly colored chlorophyll when cut. The green color creates stubborn stains that are hard to clean. It’s easy to ruin your clothes, shoes, or even the driveway.
You will end up with more work on your hands in the long run because you’re going to end up cleaning and removing these stains from your clothes and your yard.
It Could Be Dangerous
A combination of wet grass and wet soil significantly increases the chances of slipping and falling.
Deciding to take care of a wet and soggy lawn could result in serious injuries, especially if you’re mowing on slopes.
If you have an electric mower, you aslo run a risk of electrocution as well as additional mower damage to the electrical circuitry.
What If You Must Mow Your Wet Grass?
Even though it’s highly discouraged, some circumstances could cause you to mow anyway.
- Are planning to have some friends over
- Have plans to list your home for sale
- Forecasted that the wet season might continue for longer than anticipated
While we highly encourage you to follow these tips to dry up your wet lawn first, we know that isn’t always possible.
If waiting is no longer an option, adhere to the following advice:
Unclog and Clean the Mower as You Go
It’s easy for the wet grass to clog the blades, which in return reduces their effectiveness. Turn your mower on its side after a few minutes to unclog and clean off the wet grass that might have stuck on the blades.
Clean mowers have proven to work better and last longer since there is no pressure on the engine to work twice as hard.
Sharpen the Blades after Mowing
Sharp blades are perfect for cutting wet grass. You should make it a habit of sharpening the blades after you’re done mowing. Make sure you take precautions and observe safety measures when you’re doing this, such as wearing gloves, to avoid injuries and cuts.
Raise the Mower a Bit from the Ground and Set it in An Optimal Cutting Setting
Make sure you raise the mower at least one or two notches higher. By doing this, you will take off less of the leaf blades and make the cutting of the wet grass more manageable. As the lawn dries out you can drop your mower back to its normal position. This practice will put less stress on the lawn.
Avoid using the mulching option, as the wet grass will make the plastic bag appear messy and increases the chances of clumping. Instead, it would be best if you opted for the side-to-side option of discharge.
Make sure you set the mower in the highest cutting settings to help cut off the grass easily without uprooting them from the ground.
Use Fungicides to Deal with the Fungal Infection
It’s a nightmare to see your lawn being infected by fungus. Use fungicides to put a stop to the outbreak and prevent it from spreading further. In time, the damage will reverse, and your lawn will regain its aesthetic look once more.
Rake the Grass Clippings
Your lawn will look messy once you are done mowing. It might look uneven with grass clippings scattered around the lawn. However, you can use the rake to either move them to the compost bin or spread them across the field. Their nutrients are essential to keeping the lawn soil fertile.
Mowing wet grass is not ideal, as it presents problems such as damaging your lawn and mower, fungal infection, unsafe working conditions, and staining your clothes and driveway. Waiting until its dry, if you can, will make your day a whole lot easier.
However, if you must mow in wet conditions, make sure you find the right way to disperse the grass clippings, raise the mower a few feet from the ground, clean the mower more often, and sharpen the blades once you’re done mowing. Alternatively, you should be proactive and mow your lawn before the wet season starts.
More Lawn Care Tips:
How long should I wait to mow the grass after it rains?
There are a few different things to consider before you mow after it rains. Everyone’s lawn and soil drains and tolerates water saturation at different intervals. The first step is assess the lawn and see how wet it is by walking on it. If the lawn is spongy and water is noticeable around your foot prints it’s too wet to mow. If the leaf blades of the grass are wet but the soil beneath is not saturated you should be good to mow.
Can I mow with dew on the grass?
Yes, you can mow with dew in the grass. As mentioned above, as long as it is only the leaf blade and not the soil that is wet you are in the clear and good to go. It’s still better to wait until it’s dry but a light morning mist isn’t going to cause any major issues.
How do I know if my grass is too wet to mow?
If you have standing water in the low spots of your lawn or if the soil beneath your lawn is soft and squishy when you walk on it, it is too wet to mow.