Chances are, you’ve been in the situation—standing at the back door, looking out onto the grass, trying to decide if the lawn is dry enough to mow. Perhaps you have plans later in the day, and you need to get it cut right away. Maybe it’s been raining for days on end, and you only have a short break in the weather before the clouds roll in again.
Without a doubt, the lawn is still wet. And the question comes to your mind, can I cut the lawn when it’s raining or when the grass is still wet?
The short answer: you shouldn’t.
- Wet grass can clog a mower, causing the engine to overheat and possibly damaging your equipment.
- Wet grass adheres to the underside of the mowing deck and, once dried, is challenging to clean off.
- Instead of mulching nicely, wet grass sticks together and may be deposited on the lawn in a clump. These clumps can smother the grass underneath, causing it to yellow or even die.
- The tires from the mower—especially if you are using a ride-on mower—can cause soil compaction and affect the root system or create deep ruts in your lawn.
It’s also a challenge to get a nice, even cut when the grass is wet. Generally, as the mower blades spin, they pull the blades of grass up under the deck and into the rotating blades. But if the grass is wet, it may not want to stand up, or the blades stick together, resulting in an uneven, patchy cut.
However, sometimes conditions demand you cut your grass when it’s still wet. This usually occurs in areas that have received regular, frequent rain or have high humidity levels. In this instance, it’s better to cut it when wet than let it get too long.
If you do need to cut a wet lawn:
- Only fill the fuel tank with as much gas as you need to complete the job.
- Spray a light layer of silicone lubricant on the underside of the mower deck to keep the grass from sticking.
- Make sure the mower blades are clean and sharp.
- Before mowing, drag a hose across the lawn to squeegee excess water off of it.
- Raise the mower deck, so you are only removing one-third of the grass blades.
- Overlap passes by 50%, so you are cutting less material.
- Cut slower to ensure the clippings go through the mower without clogging.
- Empty the bag more often to keep the mower lighter.
- Avoid mowing hillsides.
- Hose the mower deck off when done and allow the mower to dry in a ventilated space.