There’s a general golden rule when it comes to mowing your lawn, but many people don’t follow it. The rule is to never mow your grass when it’s wet. There are many reasons why you should do this, but there are some times in life that we are forced into situations we don’t want naturally, so you may have to mow your lawn even when it’s wet, or after a rain (or rainy day). In this guide, we’re going to talk about whether or not you can actually mow your lawn if it’s wet, why you should or should not, and how to do it if you have to.
Why Shouldn’t You Mow Wet Grass?
There are many people who absolutely refuse to do this. But there are often consequences that follow with not mowing your grass frequently enough too. Either way, when your grass is soaking wet, you are going to end up with more clumps, sticking to your lawn mower and causing clogs, sticking to the wheels making it hard to steer, and you can also end up with ruts in your yard. Mowing wet grass is harder on your lawn mower, and if you have an electric mower, you may run the risk of electrocution as well – if it is life threatening, your yard can wait until it’s dry. If it is a very long time before you can mow again, then you can simply get rid of or compost the old grass for other areas of your lawn later.
Cutting Wet Grass Causes Unevenness
Even the morning dew can cause your lawnmower to not cut properly. A single blade of grass can lean and be weighed down from one drop of dew. Think about this when you’re cutting. If you cut when it’s wet, then you’re cutting leaning grass, and the way the grass leans may affect how straight of a cut you’re getting done. Your grass should stand upright, not lay over. You may not be able to avoid that if it’s wet.
Diseases Spread with Moisture
Different turfgrass diseases and funguses develop with excess moisture. This is the most common thing that you want to avoid, because once a grass disease starts in one spot, it can literally spread in a short amount of time throughout your whole yard. When you mow your grass wet, you’re increasing the chance for these funguses to develop. Even “mower’s mushrooms” are a form of fungus, and if you have a lot of clumps around when they form (they are bound to happen from time to time naturally), it can spread fungus throughout your entire lawn. Other diseases can literally wither and wilt your lawn to an almost nothing in a matter of months. Wet grass is more susceptible to damage due to the sun and heat as well. You’re creating more of a greenhouse effect, and exposing fragile grass to the blistering sun.
Safety is Key Too
When you mow on a wet lawn, whether it’s a rider or a push mower, you’re risking your safety and health. With a push mower, you can easily slip, and that’s how accidents and limb injuries often happen. You can also just have a trip or fall easier, and if the blade doesn’t hurt you, something else (or the fall itself) might. When you mow with a rider, traction is harder to obtain at all times with a wet lawn. This can cause things like sliding, slipping (on slopes) and you can get hurt by your mower.
But Can You Mow a Wet Lawn?
Yes, you actually can mow your lawn. You shouldn’t as much as possible, but life doesn’t always hand us that bowl of gravy. There are things you need to do however to make sure that you don’t damage your lawn. Because of this, it’s important to do the following things when you absolutely must mow a wet lawn, mow early in the morning, or after a rain. Some of these things are:
- Make sure your mower blades are extremely sharp. This will minimize tearing of your grass, and allow for even mulches and cuts. A mower somewhat creates a vacuum that lifts the grass (much similar to how an electric razor works to lift hairs up then cut smoothly). By having sharper blades, you’ll make sure that the blades cut instead of pushing or pulling the grass while it’s being cut.
- Larger wheels are better than smaller wheels. It will guarantee more traction and cause less ruts in your yard, as well as make it easier to control your mower in general for things like turning. Wet grass is harder to navigate through for a smaller wheel. Also, be sure to use a gas-powered lawn mower because they’re stronger, the blades spin faster, and you avoid risking being electrocuted.
- Don’t mow your grass as short as you usually do. This will help you navigate easier, cause less strive on the grass, and your mower, and you will have smoother cuts. Raising the desk of your mower will also help to keep your grass more even. You may have to mow more times a week though, lowering it to the next size down the next time (unless it’s wet yet again).
- Use narrower swipes when you mow wet grass. This will help lessen the load and give you a little bit less clumped clipping. Also, make sure you get rid of any clippings when you have to mow wet grass to avoid fungus. Bagging and mulching is harder to do with wet grass, so fine a way to rake up the clumps and get rid of them. And always make sure you clean your mower.
Nobody wants to have to mow their lawn during or right after a rain, or in heavy heat. Most importantly though, you can really damage the soil under your lawn if you mow it wet, so you may have to take it a little slower. Either way though, you can avoid a lot of the trouble you’d normally have if you follow our guide.