Thinking of mowing your lawn after a night of rain or a morning shower? Cutting wet grass is not a good idea. It can ruin your lawn, damage your mower and put you at risk.
Read on to discover the pros and cons of mowing wet grass.
Why you shouldn’t mow a wet lawn
Mowing a wet lawn can damage both the lawn and the mower. It can put you at risk of falls and electric shock if you’re using an electric mower.
You’ll also have to work harder because of all the wet, clumping grass while the result won’t be a neat cut. On top of it all, there are chlorophyll stains.
Let’s take a closer look at the major cons of mowing a wet lawn:
You’ll damage the lawn
Mowing wet grass can ruin your lawn in more ways than one.
- Clumps of grass smother the lawn beneath. This makes it harder for the lawn to breathe and take in sunlight.
- You’ll give the blades of grass an uneven cut. When they are wet, they stick together and are harder to slice.
- The wheels of the mower will leave ruts in the grass. Mowers aren’t made to work in wet conditions. Their weight and the design of their wheels make lawn damage inevitable.
- You will compact the soggy soil with your feet. This can damage the roots of the grass.
- Fungal lawn diseases like Brown Patch Disease can spread more easily. This happens because clumps of wet grass block the airflow of the lawn. Mould may also form under the mower, which can spread the next time you use it to cut the grass.
Wet grass can clog and corrode the mower
Wet grass clumps together and can clog the mower blades or its vacuum. Overheating may occur, which can damage the mower’s engine.
If you’re cutting wet grass with a petrol mower, the excessive moisture can contaminate leftover fuel in the tank. It can corrode the tank and other parts of the mower.
Wet grass also makes a mower harder to clean. Despite all your efforts, bits of grass and moisture may cling to the blades and deck.
You’ll have to work harder
Wet grass is harder to cut than dry grass. You’ll need to drive the mower over the same wet patch several times for a decent cut. The cut also won’t be as neat as if you mowed the grass when it was dry.
You’ll also need to put in extra work removing wet clumps of grass from the lawn and scrape off all the wet clippings from the mower (and your shoes).
Risk of electric shock
Using an electric lawn mower? That’s a safety hazard and all the more reason not to mown your lawn when it’s wet. If the moisture reaches any connections or exposed wiring in the machine, you could get electrocuted.
A worn power cord can be a major danger too. Extension cables also pose risks since moisture can get into the socket where they meet. The dangers are even higher if you cut the grass in the rain.
Risk of slipping and falling
Wet grass is slippery, and having to push the mower only increases the risk of a fall. With the blades of the mower near, taking a tumble on wet grass could have dire consequences. Best not take any chances.
Another drawback to cutting wet grass is that the chlorophyll from the cut grass clippings will stain the mower blades and everything they touch. Fencing, paving, and your shoes included.
Chlorophyll stains are tricky to clean once they set. You may need to use vinegar or even bleach, depending on the material affected.
What if it’s raining?
It happens to every gardener at least once in their life—you start mowing when it’s a bit overcast, and before you’ve finished, raindrops start falling.
It’s usually best to stop mowing when the rain starts to fall, but you can keep going for a short while, provided you’re not using an electric lawn mower.
Whether you should keep going or call it a day depends on what lawn mower you have, how much grass you have left to cut, and how hard it’s drizzling.
- If you’re using an electric lawn mower, it’s best to stop to prevent damage to the machine and to avoid the risk of electric shock.
- If you’re using a petrol mower, you can keep going. But only if it’s a light drizzle and you don’t have much grass left to cut.
- If you’re using a manually powered push mower, you can keep going if you can finish within a few minutes.
So, are there any benefits to mowing grass when it’s wet?
The only potential advantage of mowing a wet lawn is getting to cut the grass before it grows too long. Grass that grows over 3 inches tall will droop and smother surrounding grass. It will also trap moisture, creating a breeding ground for fungal diseases.
If you live in a wet climate, your lawn may never be entirely dry. Even then, however, it’s best to mow it when it’s the least wet to get a good cut and avoid damage to your mower.
Can you cut wet grass with a petrol mower?
Avoid cutting wet grass with a petrol lawn mower. Excessive moisture can contaminate leftover fuel in the tank. It can also corrode the tank and other parts of the mower. If it starts raining while you are already mowing you can keep going, but only if it’s a light drizzle and you don’t have much grass left to cut.
Should I cut a lawn if the soil is muddy?
It’s not a good idea as you may damage the roots of the grass. The wheels of the mower, together with your feet, will press into the soil. Clumps of wet grass can also smother the soil and clog the lawn mower.
How soon can you mow grass after it rains?
Wait until the grass is dry enough that you can walk on it without your feet getting wet. Depending on your location, the season, and the type of soil, you may have to wait a day or longer.
Pay attention to the blades of grass. If they are bent over, wait a bit longer as they are still wet with rain. Once they become upright again, you can get to work.
What if I have to mow partially wet grass?
Living in a wet region means you may have to mow a partially wet lawn from time to time, or the grass may grow too tall. To make the task easier, use a powerful non-electric mower with sharp blades. A lightweight mower with large wheels works best since it’s less likely to make ruts in the soil.
It also helps to wear lighter shoes, to minimise the damage from compacting the grass as you step on it. Also, avoid mowing the lawn right after rain. Give the soil some time to drain excess water.
Set the mower blades to a high setting, if possible, as giving wet grass a close cut is tough. Work slowly and stop often to rake up the clumps of grass you leave behind.
You’ll also want to keep cleaning the mower as you go to make sure it keeps on working properly. Be careful to turn it off first so you don’t run any risks.
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