You may have heard from several different people that mowing your lawn when the grass is wet is a bad idea. You may have even listened to this advice but wondered why it’s so. If you find yourself in a position where your grass hasn’t been mowed in a long time, you may need to get it mowed. If it’s just recently rained, you may be wondering: can you mow wet grass?
Can You Mow Wet Grass?
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The answer to this question isn’t exactly cut and dry. While it is physically possible to mow wet grass, it’s not always advisable. There are many reasons for this, including how the yard will look after you mow it and whether or not it’s safe. If you have to have your grass mowed and there’s no chance it will be dry in time, then yes, you can mow your wet grass. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Why Mowing Your Wet Grass Isn’t a Good Idea
Just because the answer to can you mow wet grass is a yes doesn’t mean there’s nothing more to it. It really should only be done in desperation. If you can wait until it is dry, that’s the best way to deal with tall grass. Below are some of the reasons why mowing your wet grass isn’t a good idea.
Your Lawn Might Not Look Great
When water hits your grass, it adds weight to the blades. This means that wet grass is heavier than dry grass and it is often bent over. Thus, when you run the lawnmower over the wet lawn, you won’t be getting those blades that are laying closer to the ground.
As the grass dries, it will become lighter and those blades that had been bent over will stand up. You will have patches in your grass that are taller than others. This can make your lawn look uneven and unkempt.
Increased Chance of Mold and Fungus Growth
In addition to having uneven patches of grass, when you try to mow wet grass you actually end up tearing the blades instead of cutting them. When this happens, it increases the chances of fungal growth in your grass. The water from your sprinklers or from rain provides ideal conditions for fungal growth. When you mow the grass, you provide the surface for this element to cling to.
Not only do torn grass blades contribute to the growth of fungus, but the lawn clippings can also contribute to this growth. When you cut wet grass, it has a tendency to form large clumps that will sit on top of the healthy blades. When this happens, it restricts the airflow of the grass beneath it and invites fungus to grow.
When you ask can you mow wet grass and decide to do it, even if you bag your grass clippings (which isn’t a great idea), some of them can still get stuck on the bottom of your mower. When this happens, it can lead to the growth of mold. The next time you use your mower, you can spread the mold all over your lawn, which can cause a host of problems.
Damage to the Ground
Mowing your grass when it is wet is the damage that might be caused directly to the ground. Since wet soil is more giving than dry soil, as you push the mower over your grass, you could create ruts. This will cause direct damage to the grass. You may also compact the soil. You may not see this damage right away, but it will cause damage over time.
It Can Hurt Your Mower
There are many moving parts to your mower, and it is probably constructed out of metal. Thus, if you get moisture on the metal parts, this could increase the chance of rust forming. This can cause a lot of damage to your mower. If water gets into the engine, this can lead to corrosion and potentially the engine seizing.
Mowing Wet Grass Is Unsafe
Any work you do in your yard poses a safety risk, but that risk increases when your grass is wet. There are two contributing factors to this, including what type of mower you use and if your yard has slopes or hills.
If you have an electric mower, then you definitely need to rethink your idea about mowing wet grass. Electricity and water don’t mix. If the cord travels through any puddles that have collected in your yard or gets wet from the grass blades, this could lead to an electric shock.
Wet grass also has a tendency to be incredibly slick. If you have slopes or hills in your yard, your chances of slipping increases. You’ll also need to consider that your lawnmower can also slide on the wet surface. Since these machines can be heavy and cumbersome, if you can’t control them or stop them from sliding on a slick surface, this could lead to serious injury.
It Causes Extra Work
Remember, wet grass is heavy and has a tendency to clump. Thus, when you try to push the mower through it, it will be challenging. You will have to work extra hard to move the mower, and the grass might get stuck in the blade and cause your mower to overheat. When this happens, you’ll have to stop and wait until it cools down before you can start cutting again.
Wet grass also stains, making it impossible to get it out of your clothes and shoes. If you walk across carpeting or other floor types with your stained shoes, the grass might also stain those surfaces. Therefore, the cleanup process that occurs after mowing wet grass can be a lot more work than you are willing to take on.
What to Do If You Have to Mow a Wet Lawn
If you are asking, can you mow wet grass, there is probably a reason for this. Perhaps it has been raining for a while and the grass is getting super tall. There may be more rain on the way, but you have a short window to take care of the lawn. Maybe you are putting your house on the market and you need your lawn to look its best. These may lead to you needing to mow a wet lawn.
In general, it’s advised that you wait until your grass is dry before you attempt to mow it. However, if you have to get it done, there are some things you’ll need to do so make the process less complicated. These are as follows:
Add a Stabilizer to Your Gas
Adding a stabilizer will keep your gas from causing engine issues if water gets into the fuel tank. If the mower engine seizes, this can be an incredibly expensive issue to fix.
Make Sure Your Mower Blades Are Sharp
You’ll need an incredibly sharp blade to cut wet grass, so sharpen your blades safely to take care of this task. Read the owner’s manual to find the best way to get your blades sharp so you don’t hurt yourself or damage the mower.
Don’t Mulch or Bag the Grass
Trying to do either of these when your grass is wet will create a huge mess. You’ll get large clumps of grass in your lawn and your bag will get incredibly dirty. It’s best to let the grass shoot the side of the mower and collect on the surface.
Raise the Mower Wheels
You’ll need to raise the mower wheels taller than normal to ensure that the mower engine doesn’t get stressed.
Make Your Swaths Smaller
In addition to raising the mower wheels, you’ll also need to make each pass of your mower smaller than normal. Again, this will ensure that you don’t burn out your engine or make it work too hard to cut the grass.
Clean the Underside of the Mower
After you have cut your wet grass, you’ll then need to safely clean the underside of the mower. This will ensure that mold or rust doesn’t have the chance to grown on your machine.
Rake Up the Clippings
In the process of asking can you mow wet grass and then going through with the act, you will have clumps of grass clippings all over your yard. To prevent this from reducing airflow and suffocating your grass, you’ll want to rake them out of the way. You can then place them on a compost pile or dispose of them as normal.
There are many reasons why you might ask, can you mow wet grass. The answer to the question is that it’s best to wait for the grass to dry, as the process can damage your lawn and your mower. However, there are some circumstances when you have to get your grass cut, wet or not. As long as you take some precautions and there isn’t standing water in your yard, you can mow wet grass. Just keep in mind that you’ll probably have to mow it again once it’s dry.
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