5 Reasons Not to Mow Wet Grass

Learn why mowing a wet lawn isn't a good idea, plus get tips on what you should do if you absolutely must cut the grass.

May 29, 2020
By: Paul Cox
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It's best to wait for wet grass to dry before mowing. Wet grass clippings can clog your mower, causing it to choke and spit out clumps of wet grass that could smother and kill your lawn if left unraked.

Photo by: Shutterstock/Rad Radu

Shutterstock/Rad Radu

It's best to wait for wet grass to dry before mowing. Wet grass clippings can clog your mower, causing it to choke and spit out clumps of wet grass that could smother and kill your lawn if left unraked.

Can you mow wet grass?

Many homeowners have asked themselves that very question after a gentle rain seemingly spoiled their weekend yard work plans, or after they awoke to a lawn damp from a heavy dew.

Answer: It's not a good idea to cut your grass while it's wet. There are several reasons why you should wait until the lawn dries before cranking up the lawn mower.

Why You Shouldn't Mow Wet Grass

1: Health of Your Lawn

"The main reason for not cutting wet grass is that if there is a disease in the lawn, and they tend to occur more when the grass is wet frequently from excessive rainfalls, the mower will spread the disease around the yard," says Dr. Joey Williamson, an expert in residential horticulture at Clemson University, adding that if there are lawn weeds going to seed, spreading wet seeds could add to a larger weed infestion.

2: Clogging and Clumping

Even with a sharp blade, mowers tend not to cut cleanly when grass is wet. Those wet clippings can clog up your mower, so the mower will need to be cleaned out periodically, which is dangerous.

Mowers will choke on the wet clippings and then spit out clumps of the wet grass. If left unraked from your lawn, those clumps will smother and kill the grass they cover, leaving behind ugly dead spots.

3: Danger of Slipping

Wet grass is slippery. You don't want to increase the risk of falling while pushing a running mower. Be particularly careful if your lawn is sloped.

4: Wheel Ruts

Soil can become soggy when it gets oversaturated with rain. Mowing when the grass is extremely wet can create unsightly wheel ruts in your lawn and you risk tearing up the grass.

5: Stained Clothes

Check your shoes the next time you walk through wet, cut grass. Freshly cut wet grass stains your clothes and shoes more easily than cut dry grass, which makes clean-up after a morning of yard work more difficult.

If you must mow

Park the mower in the garage if the ground is waterlogged or you get that sinking feeling underfoot, or if there are visible puddles. Follow these suggestions from Dr. Williamson if that's not the case for your lawn, and you absolutely must mow.

  • Raise the mower height to reduce the volume of clippings.

  • Reduce the width of the swatch you're mowing so less grass is cut with each pass.

Otherwise, relax and enjoy watching your grass dry.

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