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Can you cut grass in the rain?

by Jackson White

If you see what gasoline can do to an already-existing fire, then think of rain as having the same effect on grass. Even after raining for a few days, the grass is grown enough to allow you to cut it.

Imagine this – it has just rained, and your grass is all wet; and even worse, you wanted to mow the grass. The usual case when this occurs is to leave the grass alone until it dries before running the mower over it, but you might wonder whether the clippings will interfere with the operation of the mower or its components when they are wet.

The truth about cutting grass while it is still wet is a tricky one, because it is not advisable to do so when it is in that state. There are some circumstances when you need to mow a wet turf though, but there are some tips you need to keep in mind if you decide to do so.

Wet grass is harder to cut because of the weight of the water on the blades, which makes it harder to achieve straighter cuts when you mow it. In addition, wet clippings tend to clump inside your mower cavity, as well as the lawn itself, making it harder for newer grass to flourish. However, you can accomplish good mowing by using a good gas-power lawn mower, as it is the only mower type powerful enough to handle wet grass.

Is it a bad idea to mow wet grass?

It is never a good idea to mow grass when it is still wet, because the results of the job will be uneven, and the task will be heavy. It is also risky because it will leave clumps of wet grass behind on the lawn, which exposes the lawn to fungal development and spread, due to the extended periods of moisture.

If it can wait, it is always a better idea to wait until the grass dries before mowing it. This will promote the evenness of the cut, and allow for bagging and mulching without any issues.

Why cutting wet grass is a bad idea

You risk damaging the mower

You might not notice it, but a rainstorm can lead to a waterlogged area in your lawn, and you will need a lawnmower that is powerful enough, and easy to adjust its deck. Additionally, it is also easier to use a mower that has a wider deck in order to move it over your lawn surface, especially if the grass has some dew.

Mowing wet grass is a bad idea generally, especially if you are using an electric strimmer or mower – you are at high risk of suffering electrocution, as well as damaging the machine itself. Even if you are using a gas powered mower, mowing wet lawns can result in fuel contamination if you fail to add a gas stabilizer inside the tank.

In addition, the clippings can clog the parts of the mower that are important to maintaining its performance. These include the blades, air filters, or vacuum, and clogs in these parts can cause the mower to fail to start.

Risk of uneven cutting

The wetter the grass is, the closer it lies to the ground rather than standing upright. This is bad when you want to mow, because the results are uneven as the mower misses most of the grass blades.

Clumping of the clippings

Cutting wet grass results in wet clippings that tend to clump together. When these clippings remain on the grass, they will retain moisture for a longer period than necessary, leaving your lawn vulnerable to diseases and fungal growth.

If you still want to mow the grass after or while it rains, it is best to purchase a drag unit that will distribute the wet clippings more evenly. Other than that, it helps to regularly check the deck to avoid clumping or clogging.

Easier spread of diseases

It is very easy for diseases in your lawn to spread when the grass is in clumps or patches, because the wet mower blades can easily carry and transmit disease-causing agents to the grass blades.

If there are any signs of an infection of your lawn, you need to wait for the grass to dry completely, and then take out the mower to cut the blades.

There is too much work involved

It is much harder overall to mow grass on a wet day, because the clippings can clog the mower much faster. It is also harder to push the mower over wet grass, in addition to the additional work of:

  • Using a lot of energy to push the mower because the turf is more slippery
  • Clearing the clumps more frequently off the lawn
  • Removing the dew off the grass before starting your job

In order to avoid this, you need to use a commercial-grade gas mower to handle your wet grass.

Comparison of cutting wet vs. dry grass

 
Wet grass
Dry grass
Number of passes to get a desired result
Requires 2 or 3 more passes
Only 1 or 2 passes at most
Risk of blades becoming dull
Chances are high
Chances are low
Risk of damage to the mower
Very high, due to clumping of the clippings and mower blades dulling
Quite low, as the mower spreads clippings evenly

 

Conclusion

You do not need to wait for the grass to dry completely before you can mow it, especially if it is overgrown. However, mowing it in its wet state will need you to make some adjustments to your technique to achieve the best result, as well as avoiding damage to your lawnmower.

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