How to Mow Your Lawn When It's Too Rainy


Picture this: It's Saturday morning—probably the only time you have to tame your unruly lawn, but the rain is not letting you up.

As any lawn maintenance guide will tell you, mowing should only be done when the grass is dry. Yet, you face the challenge of a wet lawn and a mowing schedule that relies on the weather. When rain seems like a weekend companion, mowing can be a waiting game, pushing your yard work further down the to-do list. While it's generally advised to wait for dry conditions, sometimes you can no longer afford to wait. But, with the right approach and proper precautions, you can still take on this task, even when the weather isn't on your side.

Why You Shouldn't Mow Wet Grass

Whereas planting grass plugs at the right time guarantees successful establishment, mowing at the right time is equally essential for maintaining a healthy lawn. One key rule in lawn care is to avoid mowing when the grass is wet or after heavy rainfall.

Cutting damp grass poses risks to your lawn, mower, and even yourself. When wet, grass blades tend to clump, resulting in an uneven cut and an unsightly appearance. The weight of the mower can also compress the soil, leading to soil compaction and poor grass growth over time. Wet grass can also clog the mower blades, potentially damaging your equipment.

Additionally, wet grass creates an environment conducive to fungal growth. Mowing your lawn when soaked can further spread the disease as you move the mower across your landscape, potentially infecting healthy grass. Moreover, walking on damp grass can be slippery, increasing the likelihood of accidents and injuries. If you have an electric mower, you are also at risk of an electric shock.


6 Tips When Cutting Wet Grass

Maintaining a lawn on rainy days has its challenges, and it's important to understand that there will always be a compromise when you try mowing under such conditions. Ideally, the best time to mow is when the grass is dry. After rainfall, wait until the ground is dry enough to ensure a cleaner cut and avoid damaging your mower.

However, in cases of persistent rain, when you can't delay mowing any longer due to the risk of letting the grass grow too long and smothering your lawn, there are a few things to remember to avoid as much damage as possible.

Avoid Using a Heavy Mower

The weight of a heavy mower can compress wet soil, leading to compacted soil over time. This compaction restricts the movement of air, water, and nutrients in the soil, preventing grass growth. Using a lightweight cordless mower lowers the risk of soil compaction and makes maneuvering easier. Additionally, it avoids the safety hazards associated with using electric mowers on wet grass.

Wear Appropriate Clothes

Protect yourself from potential safety risks by wearing suitable attire when mowing wet grass. Wear sturdy shoes with good traction to prevent slipping. Long trousers provide extra protection against grass clippings and debris the mower throws. Avoid mowing barefoot or in sandals or slippers, as they can easily slip into the mower blades as well as leave you vulnerable to injuries.

Collect Grass Clippings

On regular mowing days, it's typical to mulch grass clippings to recycle nutrients into the soil. However, when the grass is wet, clippings tend to clump together, smothering your grass and creating an environment conducive to fungal growth and root rot. To prevent these issues, consider bagging the clippings when mowing wet grass. This ensures the clippings are removed from the lawn, reducing the risks of clumping and contributing to a healthier lawn.

Mow Slightly Higher than Usual

Raising the mower blades to the highest setting is advisable when mowing wet grass. Mowing at a higher setting keeps you from scalping the wet grass, which can damage your lawn and create an uneven surface. This practice also allows the grass to recover faster from the undue stress of being cut wet. In cases where the grass is particularly long, make two passes with the mower if necessary to ensure a cleaner cut and reduce clumping.

Cut Slower

As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. Cutting slower when mowing wet grass reduces the risk of accidents or injuries, as wet grass can be slippery and difficult to navigate. This approach also allows the mower to cut more evenly, avoiding patchy or uneven grass. It also gives the mower blades more time to cut through the wet grass, minimizing tearing and damage to the grass blades.

Sharpen Your Blades

Keeping your mower blades sharp is important to maintaining a healthy lawn, but this becomes even more necessary when cutting wet grass. When damp, the grass is more prone to damage because the moisture softens the blades, leading to tearing instead of a clean cut. This results in jagged edges on the grass tips, which can be entry points for fungal disease. So, sharpen your blades regularly to ensure a clean cut, even in wet conditions.


What You Can Do Instead of Mowing

Mowing your lawn in wet conditions may seem like a way to stay on schedule, but it's a risky practice that can do more harm than good. Safety and lawn health should always be top priorities. Assess the weather and consider alternative tasks like weeding or grass plugging on days when mowing isn't an option due to rain.

Grass plugs are an excellent way to repair damage and fill in sparse areas in your lawn. Planting them on rainy days can take advantage of the excess moisture, which can support the establishment of new grass in the new environment. But, still, monitor the weather conditions and ensure it's not raining too hard. Excessive rain can create overly wet conditions that can hinder their success. Aim for a window with less rain to give the plugs the best chance.

READ7 Easy Steps to Start a Lawn with Grass Plugs

For best results, we recommend nourishing your SodPods® grass plugs with NutriPod® grass fertilizer. It accelerates growth up to two times faster, and its slow-release formula ensures a gradual and steady release of nutrients, reducing the risks of nutrient runoff and leaching even on rainy days.

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Jamie Tedder

Jamie surrently serve as Vice President on the board for Turfgrass Producers of Florida. He currently oversees the production of all grasses throughout all farms in Florida at Bethel Farms. He is actively working with top grass breeders, researchers, producers and end users from public and private institutions around the country to stay up to date on current industry developments. Being a University of Florida graduate, he has applied that knowledge to over 22 years of experience growing spectacular grass!

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