Cutting your grass when it is wet is never recommended. Often, it does more harm than good. Apart from obvious safety concerns, mowing wet grass is not good for grass health. It can also damage your equipment and make your lawn look less tidy. However, sometimes you do not have a choice. For instance, when it has been raining for three weeks straight, and you are not sure when it will be dry. So, how to mow wet grass?
Photo Credit Mowing wet grass is not good for lawn health, your mower and you!
Once again, it is always best to let the grass dry before you mow it. However, if absolutely necessary, set your mower to a higher setting and cut the grass to around 3 or 4 inches long.
Also, if your grass is wet, only perform full-stripe mowing and leave the grass clipping behind to feed the lawn.
However, there is much more to cutting wet grass than just mowing a bit high and leaving the grass clipping behind. Keep reading this article to find out!
Why Should You Not Mow Wet Grass?
Photo Credit Mowing wet grass creates uneven and unclean cuts.
Before we discuss the tips and tricks of mowing a wet lawn, let’s quickly go over the reasons and risks of mowing wet grass.
Unfortunately, when mowing a wet lawn, there is no way to avoid muddy tire ruts. These ruts not only look unsightly, but grass clippings inside the tire ruts form clumps. These clumps can suffocate and kill the grass below.
When the grass is wet, it cannot stand upright because the water is weighing it down. This results in the mower blades missing quite a few grass blades or tearing through them disorderly. The result is unsightly and unequally cut grass all over your lawn.
Fungi thrive in moist conditions, and when the grass blades are not clean, they become prone to a fungal attack. So, the combination of water lingering on your turf and unclean grass cuts all but guarantees a fungal disease.
Mowing wet grass is riskier than it is worth. No matter how good your traction sneakers are, there is always a risk that you can slip and fall. And then there is the added danger of falling close to the sharp and spinning mower blades.
Wet grass clippings can stick with the mower’s blades and black them from spinning. These blockages force the mower to work harder until it shuts down. Moreover, excess moisture can corrode your machine and contaminate its fuel reserve.
Aside from making grass prone to fungal infections, mowing wet grass is also detrimental to the base of your lawn. Driving around heavy machinery on the lawn can cause soil compaction, damage grassroots and prevent healthy growth.
Grass clippings get clingy when they are wet and tend to form clumps. The result is that you have to work extra hard to clean your mower and remove the grass clumps from your lawn, or the clumps can suffocate and kill the grass underneath.
Another reason why you should not mow wet grass is because freshly cut wet grass blades can stain your shoes and clothes more readily than dry grass. And if you have ever tried washing clothes stained with grass, you must know how annoying it is!
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But You Have To Mow!!!
Mowing wet grass is unclean, unsafe and unworthy. You might end up doing more harm to your turf than good.
In addition, there is the added issue of soggy shoes, stained clothes and a clogged-up lawn mower.
So, it is in the best interest of everyone (you, your mower and your lawn) that you avoid mowing your grass when it is wet.
However, if it has been raining for weeks, there is no prediction of a sunny day, and you cannot bear an untrimmed lawn, there are some important rules to follow and considerations to make before you mow your grass. Let’s take a look!
Check To See If The Lawn Is Too Soggy
Photo Credit Do not mow the lawn if your shoes sink into the muddy soil.
Before stepping into your lawn with a mower, make sure that you check how saturated your lawn soil is.
Even if you really have to mow wet grass, it is not worth it to mow it immediately after a heavy downpour. You should only make a decision to mow your lawn or not after confirming its moisture content.
If there has been just a light shower and only the grass blades are wet, you can mow your lawn. However, if it has been raining for days on end and as soon as you step into your lawn, water starts rinsing around your feet and your shoes sink, do not mow your grass.
Choose The Right Mower
Photo Credit If you really REALLY have to mow wet grass, use a walk-behind or self-propelled gas mower.
If you need to mow wet grass, the type of lawn mower being used is of critical importance. For instance, a riding mower is likely to slide around on the wet grass even at the slightest inclines.
If you have never seen a riding mower roll over on wet grass, you might downplay the risk, but we highly recommend that you don’t try it!
The last thing you want is to tip over and fall in the range of fastly spinning sharp mower blades. Wet grass is extremely slippery and can be very dangerous if cut using a riding lawn mower or a lawn tractor.
As the saying goes, electricity and water never mix! So, you should never EVER use an electric mower on wet grass.
Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and using an electric lawn mower on wet grass will significantly increase your chances of getting shocked.
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Best Lawn Mower To Cut Wet Grass
The most reasonable lawn mower to use on a wet lawn is a gas-powered self-propelled lawn mower. It does not use electricity, so you will be safe from an electric shock and also, there is no risk for you to fall off as in a riding mower.
Raise The Mower Deck
Photo Credit Mower cannot handle cutting grass too short when it is wet.
You must have heard many people saying that you should mow your grass low. Though it is beneficial when the conditions are normal, mowing the grass short when it is wet will not work and create many problems.
So, experts suggest that if you are mowing wet grass, you should raise the height of your mower deck to around three to four inches.
Raising the mowing deck height will also allow the side-discharge of wet grass clippings from under the mower.
Use Sharp Mower Blades
You must know that wet grass blades tend to shred instead of cut if you have ever tried to cut wet grass. This can create many problems.
However, you can avoid many issues by using a sharp mower blade when cutting the wet grass.
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Clean After You Mow
Wet grass clippings tend to stick to the underside of the mower. It can quickly turn into a moldy mess if not cleaned correctly in time.
That is why it is very important to clean the mower every time you trim and especially when the grass is wet.
How To Mow Wet Grass!
Here is a step by step guide to mowing your lawn when the grass is wet:
- Spray a silicone lubricant on the underside of your mower. It will prevent grass clipping from sticking to your mower.
- Sharpen the mower blades as much as you can. Wet grass is particularly challenging to cut and tends to shred.
- Use a fuel stabilizer as the outside moisture mixing with gas can damage the engine.
- Check the air filters and make sure that it is clean and dry.
- Raise the height of your mower deck to around 3 to 4 inches.
- Cut the grass slower than usual and mind where you step.
- Mow the grass in multiple directions as wet grass tends to lie down.
- Never use a mower when it is raining.
- Never use an electric mower when the grass is wet.
- Never mow when lawn soil is water-saturated and mower tires are sinking.
Conclusion | Mowing Wet Grass
Try your best not to mow the grass when it is wet and especially immediately after it has rained. However, if necessary, make sure that you take all the precautionary measures.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will mowing wet grass ruin a lawn mower?
Wet grass blades tend to stick to the mower. If not cleaned in time, they can form a moldy mess. Moisture can also rust the metal parts of your mower. So, make sure that you properly clean and dry your mower after every use, especially when the grass is wet.
How long should I wait to mow the grass after it rains?
If it is just light showers, you might only need to wait for at least a few hours before the soil dries. However, if it has been raining for days, ensure that the soil is not water-saturated before you mow the grass, which can take a few days.
What height do you cut wet grass?
Wet grass should be cut at around 3 to 4 inches.
Sources for Further Reading
When It’s Too Wet to Mow the Lawn – K-State Research and Extension
Mowing turf through the rain – Michigan State University Extension
Mowing Wet Grass – Purdue University Extension Service
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