All About Lawn: Can You Cut Wet Grass?

When you prefer natural and not artificial grass, mowing is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lawn. But what happens if you need to do the job after a rainy day or early in the morning? Wondering if mowing the lawn when it’s wet is a good idea or not? We are sure you’ve heard different opinions when it comes to this matter. 

Grass is easier to cut when it’s dry, but if you’re amidst a rainy spell and you wait for the rain to stop, the grass may become unmanageable. People living in rainy climates might never cut the grass if they wait until it’s dry. The truth is that you can take care of your lawn in wet weather, but there are a few things you should know to make the job easier. Keep on reading to find out all you need to know!

How soon can you cut grass after it rains?

How soon after it rains can you mow the lawn? Can you cut wet grass? These are some common questions in the minds of most homeowners. Well, the short answer is that it depends on many things. When cutting the grass, it must be relatively dry. If it has just rained, it may be better to wait a while. Cuting soaking lawns could cause damage to the grass blades and your soil too. 

The quantity of the rain that did fall is also a factor to consider. If it’s morning dew or a quick shower during a sunny day, then a few hours is all the time you need to wait. If it was a big flood or rained a full day or two, then the best choice is to wait a few days. Keep on reading to find out the hazards of cutting wet grass!

Reasons why mowing wet grass could be a bad idea

You’ve probably heard before that there are dangers behind mowing your lawn before the grass dries after prolonged rain. Here are the main reasons why sometimes you shouldn’t be landscaping in wet conditions.

Electricity and water don’t mix

When you use an electric mower on wet grass it runs the risk of electric shock. When the connections and any damaged portions are exposed to moisture, it can lead to damage to the machine and electrocution to the operator.

Mowing wet grass poses a personal danger

When the grass is wet, and you use enough force to use the lawn mower, there is always the possibility of slipping. You wouldn’t want to fall too close to the blades of the mower, as these sharp blades could prove dangerous.

Damp blades of grass may damage the mower

Excessive moisture can contaminate your mower’s gas tank or even corrode your machine, especially when there is leftover fuel. Rain clippings can also stand in the way of the mower’s job by sticking to the equipment in clumps that block the vacuum or the blade itself. If you’re not carefully cleaning as you go, both of these blockages force the machine to work harder until it shuts off.

A wet lawn is more challenging to mow

Wet grass blades are tough and slick to slice. The result will be an uneven shred rather than the clean-cut you would achieve on a sunny afternoon. If your mower’s blades are not in peak condition, replaced or newly sharpened ones, they will make the job more difficult for you. You may need to take 2 or 3 passes over the same patch of moist lawn to get even a fraction of the cut you’d get if the yard was dry.

Mowing a wet lawn is an easy way to spread disease

Since fungus thrives in wet environments, it shouldn’t be a surprise that conditions such as Brown Patch Disease may develop on a lawn that’s been cut right after a rainstorm. When you leave clumps of matted, damp clippings on the ground without sufficient airflow to dry out, the grass becomes more prone to fungal diseases. Any wet grass clippings that stick to the underside of the mower deck also grow mould, which can be spread to the lawn the next time you mow.  The same applies if you use an electric grass edger. It’s best to use a leaf blower so that you can clear away any leaves and debris from your space with as little effort as possible!

Cutting wet grass can damage the lawn’s base

Cutting wet grass can also damage your soil. Lawn mowers are heavy machines and are not designed for use on muddy, soft ground. Their wheels can cause ruts to form and compact saturated soil, damaging roots and hindering future healthy grass growth. Before you fire up your mower, you should always check the ground. If it feels soft or looks muddy, it’s better to wait on cutting the grass.

Your work won’t stop with the cut

When you add water to the equation, grass clippings get wet, and as a result, moist grass will require extra cleanup. Any damp grass clippings that stick to the undercarriage of your mower can create a breeding ground for mould. If the machinery stays too moist for too long, this will eventually result in a busted mower

Make sure to clean the deck from any stuck-on blades, brush off the tires, and wipe down the mower’s body. Then, keep an eye on the stains left behind. Freshly cut grass’s chlorophyll will cause more stains than those of an average mowing day, so be prepared to remove grass stains from your shoes, clothes, and driveway right away. 

In case you must mow when the lawn is wet

Sometimes, you’ll feel the urge to cut the grass even when it’s wet. Some reasons for that could be:

  • There’s been an extended period of rain, and the forecast shows even more rainy days. In that case, you may know that waiting longer to cut would mean the grass would get a lot taller than it’s supposed to.
  • You may have to put your property on the real estate market, and today is the day you are showing it, so your yard has to be at its aesthetic best.

If mowing a wet lawn is unavoidable, here is a step-by-step guide to help you maintain a tidy property even in the wettest of times.

Step 1: Prepare your lawn mower

  • Spray silicone lubricant on the underside of the mower’s deck to prevent wet grass clippings from sticking to your machine. This will also help to clean up easier afterwards.
  • Sharpen your mower blades to avoid an uneven cut. Check the mower’s blades regularly to ensure they are balanced and straight. Check for any scratches or nicks on edge. You may need to replace your blade if you notice any of these issues.
  • Use a fuel stabiliser to limit the amount of fuel you put in your gas tank to a minimum. Have only as much as you’ll use in one cut session.
  • Check the air filter to make sure it is dry and clean. Remove its cover from the lawn mower’s top. If it is dirty or damp, you should better replace it before you mow your lawn. 
  • Raise your mower deck to cut between 7-10 cm. If you keep it in lower settings, wet grass may clog your mower’s undercarriage. It is essential to check the mower only while it is off.
  • Turn on your mower just before you start cutting. Ensure that the mower is running properly and run the engine at full throttle to make sure everything is working well.

Step 2: Mow the grass

  • You should cut your grass slower than usual since the blades of the mower will need to work harder to cut through wet grass.
  • Push the mower in your yard in half-row intervals. After you are done with your first row, move only half an interval away so that your mower will be going over a row composed of half-cut and half-uncut grass. This will help the mower blades cut more effectively, as they’ll be cutting only half the volume of grass as a typical row.
  • Mow the lawn’s perimeter first, starting with the lawn’s edges, and then work your way inward. That will help ensure that you aren’t overworking the blades.
  • Long, sopping grass tends to lie down on your lawn, and it can be difficult to trim when you cut the lawn in uniform strokes. It’s better to cut in multiple directions, in both horizontal and vertical paths. You may also use a grass trimmer to help you maintain absolute precision while trimming.
  • Since sopping grass doesn’t mulch well, it can fall out of the deck in heavy, large clumps. Mulching or bagging damp grass can be messy and difficult to deal with. Instead, you should use your side-discharge to rake away the grass shavings from your lawn later, after you’re done cutting. Be careful not to go over any lawn that you have already mowed. Any grass clippings could build up in the mower and block the blades of the mower.

Maintaining your mower in wet conditions

After you are done with your lawn care, it is crucial to take some extra steps to keep your mower going strong for future uses. Here are the most important things you should consider when performing your regular maintenance on a mower that’s been trimming wet grass.

Clean the underside of your mower deck

You should clean the deck’s underside as soon as you’re finished cutting. Use your mower’s washout port to clean the deck, and with a putty knife or a wire brush, scrape away any remaining grass.

Clean the mower’s wheels and body

  • With a rag or towel, wipe down the mower’s body, and with a wire brush, clean any excess grass from the wheels. Spray with lubricant any exposed cabling and with rust-resistant oil on the blade. When you are done, dry the mower with a can of compressed air.
  • Keep on hand a few clean spark plugs and air filters to quickly replace them if they become dirty or damp from the grass.

Grease more regularly

Moisture can cause corrosion and decrease the bearing’s life. To combat the humidity flying around your deck and save your hubs and spindles, keep these areas well greased, more so than in dry conditions.

Check your belts

When the grass is heavier with moisture, it will take more load for your blades to spin as fast as to cut the grass effectively. That extra load and the added water of wet grass can cause belts to slip and break more frequently than in dry conditions. To avoid getting caught with a broken belt, it’s essential to check your belts before and after each cutting.

Sharpen your blades

You should sharpen your blades 3-4 times per year. However, it isn’t a bad idea to point them a little more frequently in wet conditions. Keep your deck up and zip your blades off. You can either sharpen them yourself or go to a professional to do it for you.

Mow more frequently

To avoid clumping and clogging, you should cut more frequently. It is tough to cut wet grass when it is long and overgrown. For instance, if you typically mow once a week, you should start mowing once every 5-6 days during a wet season.

Don’t mow your lawn when it’s raining outside

You should not be exposing your lawn mower to rainy conditions as it will damage the engine. Also, operating the mower in the rain can be dangerous to your safety, especially if you are working on sloped or uneven ground. Check the weather forecast to avoid that situation.

After all the information given above, the conclusion is that ideally, you should wait until the grass is dry enough before you start cutting. Of course, sometimes you may need to mow wet grass, and you can still do that as nothing is stopping you. It will just take longer, will require more effort, and there are certain things to do before, in the meantime and after the job. As long as you follow our tips, you can get the desired result. Happy mowing, and stay dry!

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