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Can You Mow Wet Grass? Here’s Why It’s Not Recommended

nickpeplow real still image of a mowing wet grass 99c6dcdc 9bf5 4f6d b135 ecef871ee05c min Can You Mow Wet Grass? Here's Why It's Not Recommended

Yes. Should you? No. Cutting wet grass will damage the grass and soil. It can damage the lawn mower. It can be dangerous to the person running the mower.

Mowing a wet lawn with dull mower blades can give you torn grass blades, and uneven cuts. You can damage the soil with heavy equipment leaving tracks. If it is wet enough you can leave footprints and crushed grass.

Using an electric mower can be hazardous to your health. Water is great at conducting electricity. Maybe right into the feet of the lawn mower operator.

Here are the important reasons to wait until the grass is dry before mowing the lawn.

Mowing Wet Grass Damages Grass Blades

Wet grass does not cut cleanly. Especially with dull mower blades. The blade will kind of shred the grass at the cutting point. It will not cut cleanly. Sharp blades cut better–wet or dry.

Wet grass, wet soil, and dull mower blades can combine to pull grass–roots and all–right out of the ground. If you must mow your lawn when wet, make sure the blade is sharp, the mower deck is raised to 3″ or 4″, and you use the side discharge.

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Mowing Wet Grass Leaves Uneven Cuts

Gravity works much better on wet blades of grass. After it rains, some grass blades hold more water. They are bent closer to the ground–maybe even on the ground. The lawn mower will cut erect grass to its normal height. It will not lift all of the grass to be cut.

After drying out, the bent grass blades straighten up. Giving your lawn an uneven and unkempt appearance. Most people do not even realize what they are doing until too late.

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Mowing a Wet Lawn Damages Grass Roots

Besides pulling wet grass roots out of the ground, wet mowing can damage roots in other ways.

  • Compacting Soil. Grass roots need oxygen to grow healthy plants. Compacted soil prevents oxygen flow. Lawnmowers are not heavy but their weight is concentrated in four 4 square inch areas of the wheels. You may be compacting soil and leaving ruts if your lawn is wet enough. Riding mowers are significantly heavier, to begin with; then add a rider. Walking behind your lawn mower will also compact wet soil.
  • Clumps. Even switching to side discharge leaves wet grass clumps on the lawn. If not picked up, they will prevent air, water, and sunlight from reaching the grass blades and roots. If left long enough, clumps will turn the grass yellow. Maybe eventually kill a patch.

Mowing a Wet Lawn Can Spread Fungal Disease

Fungus thrives in wet environments. Clumps of wet grass clippings are a perfect environment for diseases like Brown Patch– among others. If you mow in the wet, get the clippings picked up as soon as possible.

Using the side discharge has the benefit of not clogging your lawn mower. It also will spread fungal disease all over your yard–if your lawn is already infected.

Wet grass tends to build up under the mower. If left without cleaning, the grass will mold. Next time you mow the lawn, you will be spreading mold and fungus around.

nickpeplow real still image of grass with fungal Disease 51cf4fbd 3098 4dea b9c3 c1507686651a min Can You Mow Wet Grass? Here's Why It's Not Recommended

Mowing Wet Grass Can Damage Your Lawn Mower

As mentioned, wet grass sticks under the mower deck. If it is thick enough, the mower will shake while you are cutting–making for even more uneven grass. Having to spin the blade through built-up grass puts a strain on the motor.

Wet grass that sticks to the underside of your mower will eventually cause rusting. Rust pits metal. Making it easier for grass to adhere. Starting a nasty cycle. Clean your mower after each use but especially after cutting wet grass.

If your lawn mower is equipped with a side discharge, use it instead of trying to bag wet grass. Blowing wet grass into the bag is difficult to clean and prone to mold. Using the side discharge also reduces grass build-up under the deck.

Note: Many electric or battery-powered mowers lack the torque to even turn the blade through built-up grass.

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Mowing Wet grass Can be Dangerous

Traction on wet grass is much less than on dry grass. Even though most modern lawnmowers are equipped with auto shut-offs (when you let go of the handle), some people are still using old mowers without safety shut-offs. Even with safety systems in place, falling close to a mower with sharp turning blades is not a good plan.

Wet grass and a side hill can turn a heavy riding mower or a garden tractor into a curling stone in an out-of-control slide. Although difficult, it is not impossible to roll one over.

Note: Although not dangerous, wet grass stains on your clothes, sidewalk, or driveway are even harder to remove than dry grass stains.

When To Mow After Rain

Have patience. It is much better to wait a little longer than to damage your lawn or soil by being impatient.

  • After Rain. The lawn is usually good to mow within 2 – 5 hours after the rain shower stops. Heavier rains may require a day to dry out.
  • Sprinkler. Watering the lawn should be treated just like rain.
  • Best Time. The best times to mow are mid-morning after the dew is gone but the heat has yet to arrive. Or late afternoon after the heat but before dark.

It’s Rained 40 Days and 40 Nights – Now What?

If you absolutely have to cut the grass–or buy some sheep–use these tips. 

  • Sharpen the Blades. Sharpen the mower blade just before mowing to get the best cut possible.
  • Raise the Deck. Raise the mower deck to 3″ or 4″.
  • Discharge the Clippings. Use the side discharge option instead of bagging or mulching.
  • Clean. Clean the underside of the mower two or three times while cutting the grass.
  • No Electrical. Don’t use an electric mower.

Final Thoughts

mowing wet grass is not recommended. Wet grass can clump, breed fungal diseases, clog the mower’s deck, and dull the blades, leading to a less-than-optimal cut. Moreover, wet grass is slippery, posing safety hazards to the operator.

It is always better to wait until the grass has dried before mowing. This will ensure an efficient cut and protect the lawnmower from damage. So, avoid grooming your lawn when the grass is dewy or wet to maintain your yard’s health and a perfectly manicured look.