If you’re in the habit of trimming your lawn regularly to keep it tidy, there will have been times after a long rain shower where you’ll have wondered if it’s worth even trying to give it a go.
If you live in a wet climate then maybe you’ll have thought that there is no chance of getting out to cut your grass when it’s sodden.
You technically can use a lawn mower on wet grass, but it is not at all recommended and if possible it is best to wait until the grass is dry enough to mow normally. Wet grass can cause problems not only for your mower, but for you as well. Cutting it can sometimes actually cause harm to the rest of your lawn and cause brown patches to appear.
We’ll talk about the many reasons why trying to cut wet grass is a bad idea and things you can do if you absolutely need to give it a go.
Wet Grass Can Cause a Lot of Issues
As I said earlier, wet grass will cause a lot of problems for everything.
Your mower will struggle, which will mean you will struggle a lot as well. The grass won’t fare well either as the excess weight will mean an uneven cut.
Cutting Wet Grass Can Harm Your Lawn
If it has rained recently (or even if there is just a morning dew), the water will be heavy enough to weight the grass down.
This means that the grass won’t be standing up straight. Some of the blades of grass will dry off quicker than others and so will stand up again, meaning that they will be cut normally if you do decide to mow the lawn.
But this means that after you’ve finished, and the whole lawn is dry, all the grass that you missed will be upright, and a lot longer than the rest!
The uneven cut left here is already cause for concern. However, because cutting damp grass never results in a cut (rather a tearing of the grass), fungus can become a real problem, especially since the grass is already wet, providing an excellent home for growth.
Grass clippings cut from wet grass also form much bigger and denser clumps, which can be difficult for the mower to hoover up.
These being left on the lawn will restrict airflow to the grass, causing fungus to grow (“brown spot” is a common one here).
Wet grass clippings can also stick to the underside of your mower, allowing mould to grow if left unchecked, which can than be spread over your grass.
If the ground is incredibly wet, fully soaked, then the wheels of your mower are liable to sink into the ground and cause ruts which damage the grass.
The wheels cans also compact the soil which will cause lasting damage and make it harder for grass to grow healthily.
Wet Grass Will Hurt Your Mower
As well as the mobility issues caused from the wheels sinking into the ground, the mower can actually have damage done to it while mowing wet grass.
Wet grass is much heavier and denser than dry grass, meaning the blades will struggle to cut through it, putting strain on the motor.
If you’re mowing in the rain, water is likely to get into the fuel tank. If you don’t have stabiliser in with the fuel, then this can cause corrosion inside the mower.
As mentioned before, the wet grass clippings can be prone to becoming stuck to the underside of the mower. As well as introducing mould, this can cause rust to appear on the metal surface, weakening the mower.
Again, all the clippings sticking to the mower are going to impact the blades, making the engine really work hard to do much.
The wet clippings are also very prone to blocking the vacuum that sucks up the clippings into the compartment. This will mean more stopping and starting to clear clogs and nobody wants to have to stand in the wet doing that!
If your mower does manage to hoover up a decent amount of clippings, the added weight of the water will make the machine much heavier to move about.
Again this will mean more stopping and starting to empty the bag more regularly.
Unless the blades of your mower are either brand new or generally in peak condition, you will find it very tough to cut the grass in this situation.
It may seem so far that mowing wet grass is simply more difficult and time consuming than dry grass and the only things at risk are the mower and the lawn itself.
However, there are a number of different safety risks to you that appear when trying to mow wet grass.
Probably the most obvious one is if you happen to own an electric mower, rather than a petrol one.
Water and electricity is not a great combination and the risk of electric shock is definitely present.
Another issue is a classic issue of working in the wet outside. If there are any slopes in your garden that you need to move about over, the risk of injury is quite high.
Wet grass is already slick and slippery enough, but on a slope, while trying to move a heavy piece of machinery about is just asking for trouble.
You’ll Make Extra Work for Yourself
As well as all the issues noted above, mowing the wet grass will actually mean more work in general.
It will take longer to mow it anyway and the final results won’t even be as good as you want, which will mean you have to mow sooner again!
The wet clippings mean you have to take extra care of your mower and clean it a lot more regularly.
You’ll need to start at a much higher blade height than normal, to gradually cut the grass effectively, meaning going over the same bits several times.
As mentioned before you’ll also need to keep stopping to empty the sack more often or to clear out blockages from the wet clippings.
Finally, once you’ve finished the mowing, it’s highly likely that a lot of the clippings will have been left on the grass. You’ll probably need to go over the lawn with a rake to scoop all this up afterwards.
All these factors together mean it is just generally not worth it and your best bet is to just wait until it is dry!
If You Must Mow the Lawn in the Wet
If there’s no other option and you can’t wait for drier weather, then you’re in for a slog, but it is possible.
To do it effectively you’ll need to stop about twice as often as normal, both to empty the clippings sack and to save the mower from working too hard.
Make sure the blades are nice and sharp to avoid tearing. Clean the blades out regularly to allow them to move freely.
Cut on a higher height than normal to prevent tangling of the blades. This will also reduce strain on the engine.
Hopefully that’s cleared that question up!
Generally, if you can, wait until you have a dry patch to start mowing as usual, it’s just not worth the hassle and you may injure yourself or ruin your mower (and your grass).
If you can’t wait, then make sure you follow these tips otherwise there will be a lot more work involved and you’ll end up having to cut it again very soon.
If you do decide to go for it, be prepared for a long session. Good luck!