The age-old question of lawncare: can I mow wet grass? Maybe it’s not the first question in your mind when you think about lawn care, but it’s important. And the answer isn’t completely straightforward!
Typically, it’s best to wait for wet grass to dry before mowing. Wet grass clippings can clog your mower, causing it to choke and spit out clumps of wet grass that could smother and kill your lawn if left unraked.
But as we said, the answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no. Sometimes, you may need to tend your lawn even when there has been frequent, heavy rain. We’ll help you break down the potential risks and issues associated with mowing wet grass. Then, we will cover some tips on best practices if you find yourself in a situation where you must mow wet grass. Read on for more!
One of the biggest concerns if you choose to mow wet grass is the risk to your physical safety. Using an electric lawn mower on wet grass, especially with an extension cord, runs the risk of electric shock. When the connections and wiring beneath worn or damaged portions of the cord are exposed to moisture, it can damage the machine and electrocute the operator.
Additionally, just walking across a slick lawn with enough force exerted forward to push the mower could cause you to slip and fall. Injuries related to a fall can be exacerbated if you happen to fall too close to the mower’s blades. Ouch!
Aside from potentially hurting yourself, if you attempt to mow wet grass you may also wreck your mower. Excessive moisture can corrode your lawnmower from the blades to the fuel tank. Grass clippings can also interfere with the mower’s functionality by sticking to the equipment in wet clumps that block the vacuum or the blade itself. In either case, these blockages force the machine to work harder until it shuts off or breaks down.
If you’ve ever tried, you know that it is tough work trying to mow wet grass. Wet grass blades are slick and tough to slice, creating an uneven shred rather than the clean-cut you aim for. Unless your mower’s blades are in peak condition, i.e. newly sharpened or replaced, it may even take two or three passes over the same patch of wet lawn. All that work just to get even a fraction of the cut you’d get if the lawn were dry. Thus, mowing wet grass often isn’t worth the effort.
Tips to Mow Wet Grass
Ideally, you should just skip mowing a wet lawn. However, sometimes the job still needs to be done. In that case, there are some things you can do to help avoid damaging your yard.
The main way to avoid damaging your lawn if you are mowing it while it is wet is to prep your lawnmower. Make sure you only fill the fuel tank with as much as you need to get the job done. This is to lighten the weight of your mower. Added weight can increase your chances of causing ruts in your wet and malleable yard.
You should also spray some silicone lubricant on the underside of the mower deck. This will help the mower blades glide as smoothly as possible along with the wet grass blades. And before you start, always ensure that your mower blades are clean, sharp, and undamaged. All of this will help you achieve a clean cut on your wet grass without damaging the underside of the mower deck.
Take Your Time
Again, mowing grass when it is wet is not ideal, but if you must, take your time. Going slowly is essential! Plan to cut your normal mowing speed in half when mowing a wet lawn. If you notice your grass trimmings are clogging up, you need to further slow your speed down. Thus, going slowly allows you time to ensure that the lawn clippings successfully go through the mower without causing clogs.
Skip the Hills
If your lawn covers slopes, you may just be out of luck. That’s because mowing hills while they are wet is never advised. The soft ground and wet grass will make it easy for the lawnmower to slip or slide off the hillside, greatly increasing the potential risk. Under no condition do we recommend mowing a wet hillside. Better safe than sorry!
If you live in a particularly wet climate, you may feel like you may need to mow wet grass more frequently. In that case, you must get the proper equipment. When looking for a mower that works well in wet conditions, there are a few key features to pay attention to deck height, blade speed, and machine weight.
When the ground is wet and you need to mow, it is better to have an adjustable deck height. Grass usually grows taller during a rainy period. Thus if you try to cut it to your normal height, you risk having too many grass clippings and clogging the mower deck. By raising the height there will be fewer clippings, reducing the chance of clogging your mower deck.
Regardless of moisture level, your mower blades should be sharp. But when cutting wet grass, this is vital. During the wet season, grass fungus can make your grass unhealthy, so you need to ensure you can cut the grass cleanly to help keep it healthy. Along with sharp blades, you need to make sure you have a mower with adjustable blade speed. While you need to mow at a slower speed yourself, the mower blades need to run at a faster speed.
Additionally, the weight of the mower is a big factor when you mow wet grass. A lighter mower does better on a wet lawn, as it will not sink into the wet ground and leave ruts.
Bottom Line: Can I Mow Wet Grass?
Well, we told you the answer wasn’t straightforward. And while it’s not a good idea to cut your grass while it’s wet, there are mitigating factors. If you really must mow wet grass, please take every safety precaution for yourself, your mower, and your lawn.