I am often asked if you should mow your lawn when it is wet. The answer is a little tricky as there are so many variables. How wet is the lawn? What sort of mower? How long is the grass? Why are you mowing it? It is a difficult question to answer but I’ll try to address each point to make it easier for you to decide.
If the lawn is sodden (it squelches underfoot) or has standing water at all, then do not mow the lawn. You risk damaging your mower and yourself through electrocution. Standing on a sodden lawn will compact the soil, changing its structure. A compacted soil is much more difficult to fix than a long lawn.
If the grass is very long and has not been mown in many weeks then I would put off mowing the lawn until it has dried. A long wet lawn is very difficult to mow. The lawn will look brown and patchy after mowing from long, but that will happen even if dry. Your mowing job will be much easier on a nice sunny day.
If you have a well maintained lawn and wish to keep it look nice over the summer then you can run a mower over it if it is damp. It may be best to keep to regular cuts than to allow the grass to grow too long. Try to mow in the evening and leave it until the last possible minute. A lawn can dry quickly in a UK summer. For a regular mow you only need the tips of the grass blades to be dry.
Problems encountered if have to you mow your lawn when it is wet.
If you have ever tried to mow your lawn when it is wet then you will know the problems straight away. Wet grass sticks to the mower. It sticks to the blades, grass sticks to the collector, it sticks to your boots. Sticking to everything, it can be a messy job.
Wet grass sticking to the mower blades brings the extra problem of blunting the mower blade. This reduces the effectiveness of the blades cut, ripping the grass. A ripped lawn does not look nice. The best way to avoid this is to try to clean the blades often, almost every pass. Wheel the mower to the side, turn if off and hose it down. Wet grass is easy to clean off with running water.
Wet grass does not collect very easily. It may be easier to remove the collector box and rake the grass clippings off afterwards.
The difficulty in mowing a wet lawn can depend on the type of mower you own. Never mow a wet lawn with an electric mower. The risks of electric shock are too great. If you have a powerful petrol mower you may have no problem trying to mow your lawn when it is wet. A smaller one may be more difficult. Start in an out of the way area and see how you get on.
Finally, take extra care when mowing a wet lawn as wet grass can be slippery. Taking a tumble on wet grass whilst holding a mower cord could give you an extra trip to the hospital!
So should you mow your lawn when it is wet? Generally no, but sometimes it is necessary.
If you have any questions about mowing your lawn, let me know.