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When Should You Mow Your Grass After It Rains?

Depositphotos 68677585 XL 2 When Should You Mow Your Grass After It Rains?

“Don’t mow your lawn after a rain.” When you hear that you should have questions. How long after it rains? What kind of rain? Does it hurt the grass? The lawnmower?

So, How Soon Can I Mow The Grass After It Rains?

A short answer is “After the pavement is dry” if it was a light rain. Realistically, it depends. How heavy was the rain? How long did it rain? How soft is the soil? Is the mess I make worth mowing a wet lawn?

Your job and Mother Nature can conspire to mess up your lawn-mowing schedule. You may even have to mow wet grass or mow during a drizzle. Just to get her done.

Cutting wet grass has some problems. We are here to give you some useful lawn care suggestions.

How Long Should I Wait Before Mowing?

There is no hard and fast rule about when to cut grass after it rains. But these general guidelines will help 

  • Pavement. If the street, sidewalk, and patio are dry, it is probably safe to cut the grass. This is not the perfect indicator if you just had two solid days of rain. Asphalt and concrete dry out way more quickly than soaked grass.
  • A Few Hours. After a light rain, a four or five hour wait is probably sufficient. The grass should be dry enough to be cut safely and efficiently.
  • Wet Shoes. Having wet shoes after a short stroll across the lawn is a sure sign that you need to wait. If your shoes remain fairly dry, the grass is dry enough to cut.
  • Soft Ground. If you see water pooled in spots or the ground feels soft when you are walking, it is too wet to cut. Wait a while longer unless you enjoy repairing wheel ruts in your lawn.
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How Long Does it Take For the Lawn to Dry After A Rain?

A combination of factors helps you decide when it is time to mow. 

  • How Much did it Rain? After a light shower, you can probably be cutting grass in a few hours. If it was a heavy rain or a three-day soaker, it is better to wait–probably even a few days.
  • How Dry was the Soil? Dry soil soaks up water more quickly than moist soil. If your lawn has gone without rain for a couple of weeks–and no watering–it will feel dryer quicker.
  • Local Climate? Lawns dry out more slowly in cooler climates.
  • Time of Year? Lawns are wetter in the spring after snow melt or wet winters. The sun is not as high. It is still cooler than in summer. Meaning that your grass will dry slower.
  • Type of Lawnmower? Wet lawns and riding mowers are not a good combination. The mower sliders easily and leaves deeper ruts because of weight. Electric lawn mowers used on wet grass increase the possibility of shocks or even electrocution.

Can I Damage My Lawn By Mowing Too Soon After a Rain?

Yes. Mowing wet grass too soon after rain can cause all kinds of problems. 

  • Ruts. From the lawnmower, and if it is wet enough, from your shoes–especially if, like me, you are a little on the heavy side. Compressing the soil not only leaves ruts but damages grass roots–inhibiting growth. Riding mowers are heavy and with a rider can leave pretty deep ruts and do more damage.
  • Uneven Cuts. Water on grass blades will bend some of them over farther than others. When they dry after cutting they will be taller than the cut grass. Also, wet grass will stay bent over after the lawnmower wheels go over them.
  • Newly Seeded Grass. New grass does not have fully formed root structures and does not cover the soil fully. Mowing it when wet will compress and damage roots and the topsoil could stick to your wheels.
  • Clumping. Wet grass clumps up under the mower. It is difficult to get it into a rear bag. Using the side discharge leaves clumps of grass on the grass. Some clumps will drop out from under the machine and be stomped into the lawn and soil.

Will I Damage My Lawn Mower if the Grass is Wet?

Not likely. But you should be aware of a few things. Most mowers cut grass fairly easily. 

  • Blade. Keep your mower blade sharp. Not just for wet grass. Sharp blades help keep your grass healthy and disease-free. A dull blade stresses your lawnmower.
  • Height. If your mower is laboring while cutting at its normal height, raise it a bit. Or even raise it a lot if necessary.
  • Clumping. If too much wet grass clumps up under the lawnmower, it will start shaking because the blade is having trouble getting around.
  • Discharge. Bagging wet grass can be difficult. The grass clumps under the mower and can plug the bag entrance. The bag also needs a thorough cleaning and drying after having wet grass clippings in it. Use the side discharge onto the lawn. You can run the mower over it later to pick up the clippings after the grass dries.
  • Clean. Although you may have to remove wet clumps of grass as you work, make absolutely certain the machine is cleaned after you finish. Compacted wet grass can dry into a moldy smelly mess that removes paint and rusts the underside of the mower.

Is It Safe to Mow if the Grass is Wet?

Usually. Wet grass can make a few situations a little more dangerous than normal.

  • Riding Mowers. Riding mowers not only flatten wet grass blades and leave ruts, but they also tend to slide quite easily on a wet grass side hill. They can resemble a curling stone–no control and no brakes. They can also tip over in some conditions.
  • Slipping. Not only can riding mowers slide, but you can also slip and fall. Falling usually hurts, but falling close to sharp rotating blades can turn ugly.
  • Corded Electric Mowers. NO! Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Standing on a wet lawn while 120 volts pour into it will not get the grass mowed quicker. In fact, you may lose all interest–in everything.