Is Mowing Wet Grass Bad?

Grass mower and a sprinkler watering grass.

Finding the right time to mow can be difficult. You may only have limited time in your busy schedule to mow your lawn each week and you cannot control the weather. When it comes time to mow and your lawn is wet from rain or the last sprinkler cycle, should you still mow? Is mowing wet grass bad? Should you wait until its dry? Here is what you need to know about mowing wet grass and how to best handle a wet grass situation.

What Will Happen If I Am Mowing Grass When Wet?

Anyone who has tried mowing wet grass knows that it is not ideal. The most noticeable problem is the clumps of wet grass that can become clogged in your mower. If you refuse to wait for the grass to dry, you will likely spend extra time pulling out clumps of wet grass that get stuck in the blades. If the ground is also wet, you may be leaving ruts in your lawn. Even if you successfully mow your lawn, it may look unattractive with big clumps of wet grass.

Beyond the mower issues, it can be more dangerous to tackle mowing wet grass. The grass is slippery when wet, which can lead to trips and falls. Plus, cleaning out mower blades several times to remove grass clumps can be risky. Another side effect is ruining your shoes and pants – wet grass stains easily. On top of all these deterrents, it can also harm your lawn.

Mowing Grass When Wet Can Harm Your Lawn

Mowing wet grass is not only a pain, but it can also be bad for your lawn. Wet grass is susceptible to fungus and other diseases that thrive in moisture. Cutting your grass when it is wet can spread that disease throughout your lawn, impacting the overall health. The wet grass sticks and clumps to increase the chance of spores spreading to other areas. In addition, there is other possible damage that can occur when you are mowing wet grass.

Uneven Turf
When the grass is wet, some blades may be bent down and not be cut. Once the grass dries and the blades straighten toward the sun, you will have patches of uneven grass. The goal of mowing is to keep an even, manicured lawn. If it will look worse after mowing due to uneven patches, it is best to wait until it is dry.
Damage to Grass Blades
Wet grass blades can tear versus cut, no matter how sharp you keep your mower blade. Torn grass blades are prone to disease and illness that can impact the health of your lawn.
Smothered Grass
If you do not rake after mowing your wet lawn, you will likely have clumps of wet grass strewn around your yard. These clumps can suffocate your grass, creating dead spots on your lawn. If you do mow your lawn when wet, make sure to remove these clumps to avoid killing your grass.
Compacted, Rutted Soil
Mowing wet grass and soil can damage the soil. Not only can it leave visible ruts that are unattractive, but the soil can also be compacted. Roots of the grass can be damaged and compacted soil can impact delivering moisture and nutrients.

Wet lawn in the rain.

How to Mow Wet Grass

There are times when you may not be able to wait for grass to dry. If you have rainy weather for weeks in a row or you are leaving for vacation, you may need to mow when the grass is still wet. While not ideal, you can reduce the damage by following these tips:

  • Sharpen your mower blade
  • Raise your mower deck to help prevent clumping and strain on the engine
  • Do not bag or mulch your clippings – rake and remove clippings after you mow
  • Reduce the overlap on each pass for less stress on the lawn
  • Use a push mower versus rider to reduce weight and ruts

Mowing wet grass is not recommended, but sometimes it is necessary. If it has been raining on and off for days, try to find a day during the week with a little dry weather to minimize the damage. The goal is to avoid mowing a wet lawn whenever possible and reducing the damage if you must mow the grass when wet.

Is mowing wet grass bad? Yes, it can be dangerous, tedious and jeopardize the health of your lawn. It is best to plan your yard work around the weather forecast – if rain is coming, try to mow before the grass gets drenched to avoid causing damage to the grass and soil. If you have damage to your lawn due to mowing it when wet, contact your local landscaper for expert lawn service. Your local lawn professional can restore the health to your lawn with seeding, aerating and disease control.