Can You Mow Wet Grass

 Lots of people ask us – can you mow wet grass? So why do you have to mow wet grass and not wait till it dries? Wet grass, obviously can become clumpy when cut and that could be a problem both for the machine and the person who mows it. But then, who knows, maybe these people can’t wait and need to do the mowing as soon as they can even if the grass is wet. 

So this blog tells you why you should not mow the grass when wet, what happens if you mow wet grass and for those who have the conventional manual mowers we will also answer the question can you cut wet grass with a reel mower. Also, we know that many people who have electric lawn mowers would be curious to know if it is safe to use an electric lawn mower on wet grass.  

To begin with, let’s scrutinize many homeowners’ questions – why you should not mow grass when it’s wet and what happens if you mow wet grass. So here are the most logical answers based on our experiences. 

What Happens If You Mow Wet Grass

Wet grass tends to clog and clump

Should you mow wet grass ? If you don’t mind taking out the clumps of grass and mud from your boots and under the lawnmower, then, there’s no problem. But if this sounds too tedious for you, better think about doing the job when the grass is not wet. 

If you spray the underside of the deck and the blade of the lawnmower with a garden hose right after mowing, cleaning can be easy. But if you leave the clumps of mud and cut grass in there and let it dry, these can become more difficult to get rid of. 

Grass diseases can spread more rapidly when the grass is wet.

 According to Dr. Joey Williamson who is a residential horticulture expert at Clemson University, grass diseases thrive better in a wet environment so mowing the grass and shredding it with the lawnmower’s blade can even spread the disease faster and all over the lawn.

Weeds seeds can easily stick into the grass clumps and spread them.

Weeds are unwanted plants that can grow among the grass and their ripe seeds can easily stick to the wet grass clumps and can be sown all over the yard. Weed seeds are hardy and can adapt to any kind of soil. Unfortunately, weeds always grow faster than our grass and can ruin the beauty of our lawns.

Risk of slipping on the wet grass.

Obviously, you know that wet grass can be slippery and you don’t want to slip and break your neck   because you can’t wait till the grass is dry. Especially if the terrain is steep, that doubles the risk of slipping and hurting yourself. And if you’ll be using a garden tractor, avoid the sloping hills because these areas can be risky as the wheels may tend to slide off on the wet grass. 

Soft ground and grass can get damaged with lawnmower’s tracks.

Can you mow wet lawns even if the soil is soft? But, expect some tracks that could ruin the look of your greens because once the soil gets soggy as it becomes saturated with rain, a heavy lawnmower can leave muddy tracks and lines  on the lawn while the grass may not even have an even cut. This is true especially if you’ll be using a riding lawn mower that can weigh more than a half  ton.

Clumps of cut grass can produce dead patches on the lawn.

Because dead grass decomposes fast, if the clumps of grass fall onto the live grass, the decomposition may eventually kill the grass that’s hidden under the clumps. Unlike when mowing dry grass that spreads out across the lawn, this cut grass can dry quickly and falls to the ground where it can decompose and enrich the soil.

More stains to get on the clothes.

 Did you know that the wetter the grass the more juice it has in its stem and leaves? So if you notice, when you mow wet grass, more stains will be splashing on your work clothes as well as on your rubber boots than when mowing dry grass. And the water can serve as the carrier for grass stains. So the wetter the grass, the more stains and the harder the stains will be to remove.  

Well, does this mean it’s not right to mow wet grass? It depends.

Is It Ok to Mow Grass When Wet

The question can you mow wet grass can be answered by yes, provided the following criteria are met: 

Take some water off your grass first.

How can you make the grass not so wet after hard rain? Well, that is possible. By installing or attaching a long piece of wood at the rear end of the mower in a flat position in line with the mower so that the wood scrapes the top of the grass, this can make the moisture drop to the ground. You can do this on a single pass but don’t activate the blade yet. Then you can mow the grass afterward with very little water. However,  this is only advisable if your grass is not very  long and only needs trimming or you might flatten long wet grass with the wood. Your grass mower’s blade should also be sharp. 

The soil is soggy

Soggy soil is soft soil and it can easily sink the wheels of the lawnmower with its weight. So before cutting the grass, walk on the grass first to test its hardness. Especially the low-lying areas, these are where water will pool and the soil becomes softer. So if you feel that the ground is too soggy, better let the water seep first into the soil while waiting for the grass to dry a bit.      

Use a non-stick spray for lawnmowers

You may already know what this means. Non-stick spray can prevent dirt and grass clippings from sticking onto the blade and to the underside of the deck so that cleaning with a garden hose after mowing can be much easier. You can find products of non-stick spray at Amazon and other online retail stores but choose only ones that are made for lawnmowers and don’t contain toxic chemicals.

Choose a lawnmower with high horsepower

Lawnmowers with strong engines can easily deal with wet grass but you still  need to have the blades sharp. Grass, when it gets wet, tends to be more flexible while very dry grass is tougher to cut. But if your lawnmower is equipped with a strong, powerful engine, cutting wet and very dry grass won’t be much of a problem. 

Can You Cut Wet Grass with a Reel Mower? 

Before we answer the question – can you cut wet grass with a reel mower, let’s talk first about what real mowers are. 

Reel mowers are tools (not machines) designed to cut grass growing on small yards. To explain them further, the reel mowers are different compared to rotary mowers in terms of their cutting mechanisms and the way they cut grass. The blades of the reel mowers spin with a horizontal shaft while the central axle is holding the twisted blades. To make the blades spin and cut the grass, the person should push the reel mower forward and the blade will cut the grass in an updraft motion. But can you mow wet grass using a reel mower since it is only powered by human force? 

The answer to this question is, yes you can but given the right factors. For example, you cannot mow tall grass using a reel mower because the blade may just slip and will not cut. Even though the grass is dry, reel mowers won’t cut efficiently with long grass as the grass tends to flatten and its tips will be pushed  away from the blades. But if the grass is not tall and not too damp, the reel mowers can work. By the way, reel mowers are the best for grass not more than 3 inches long and are ideal for small-size lawns.

Another instance that the reel lawnmowers may not work well is when we push and pull the reel lawnmower as we move forward to double the cut. With wet grass, the blades can create ugly straight patterns on the grass while making the soil soggier. So experts advise not to do this but only push the reel mower forward and go for horizontal and vertical direction to create more balanced square tracks. 

Is It Safe to Use an Electric Lawn Mower on Wet Grass?   

The question – is it safe to use an electric lawn mower on wet grass? This may also sound absurd because we all know that water is a highly conductive element that can quickly transfer electricity in a flash. Especially if your electric lawn mower uses an extension cord, this becomes very unsafe whenever electricity comes in contact with water. Not only that you’ll be putting yourself in danger but also the life of your electric lawnmower. 

An electrical hazard is what you must be aware of when using an electric lawnmower, particularly on wet grass. And regardless if you’re using a cordless lawn mower, the risk is still there because you may have an engine fire when water gets into the system of the mower which can burn its circuitry. 

And for people who ask can you mow wet grass with electric and cordless types if it’s tall grass, sorry, but the answer is also no. These mowers are designed for light mowing only and for dry grass so they are the perfect choice for small yards with grass. The tendency of wet grass when you mow with a lighter mowing machine is to bunch up which can cause more clumps and the extreme load may damage the machine’s motor. 

Our advice:

Should you mow wet grass and can’t avoid it because you’ll get busy with other things, the advice we can give you is to raise your mower’s height so that the volume of grass it will cut would not be too heavy for the blade and for the engine. However, you may need to do a second or third pass on the grass to have an even cut.  

Also, avoid the puddles because these can make your mowing more difficult and the ground can turn into muddy areas. You can also attach an empty sack or a piece of wood like the one we have suggested above to the lawnmower to remove excess water from the grass blades prior to mowing. 

Conclusion: 

Now that you know how you can mow wet grass and the things you should do, maybe the next time it rains hard, you may want to continue mowing your lawn as you have planned after the rain has passed. But don’t forget that there would be small consequences like the ones we stated before. And for those who have bigger lawns and ask us can you mow wet lawns with short grass but on a larger scale? It depends on the power of your machine but when it comes to mowing wet grass, we always recommend the more powerful lawnmowers.   

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