Picking up the right time to mow the lawn during rains is challenging. Mowing encourages luscious and green grass, whereas rainfall encourages healthy growth. But should we mow before or after the rain?
The best time to mow is before the rainfall because when you cut the grass, it leaves raw edges. It needs healing time before the sun emits heat, and rainfall helps. But mowing wet grass after the rain will make the mower work hard, block the deck, and reduce the blade sharpness.
Though mowing before rain works best, after rain will also be fine if done correctly. Read this article until the end to know the best time to mow the lawn and why.
The impact of rain on lawn mowing: What you need to know?
Rainfall helps the grass on your lawn to grow lusciously and reduces water stress.
The moisture in the grass cells will make the grass resilient in hot and dry climates.
But mowing it soon after the rainfall is not a good practice.
But mowing during or right after the rainfall creates only a negative impact.
Wet grass is difficult to mow because the wet grass clippings stick to the mower deck.
As a result, the mower works harder and causes an uneven cut.
Mowing over a wet lawn can be dangerous as you can slip and fall.
Mowing a wet lawn increases the cleanup and maintenance as you end up with uneven cuts, wheels sinking into the wet ground, and other mess-ups.
So, it is always recommended by experts to mow when the lawn is dry.
Check the soil’s saturation level if you must mow it after the rain.
The soil can be damp, but it should not be too soggy.
To mow or not to mow? That is the question when it comes to wet lawns.
After a rainfall, whether to mow the lawn or not is a common question asked among lawn owner people.
There have been multiple discussions on the forums about whether or not to mow wet grass.
Generally, it is always the best decision to mow before the rainfall.
Mowing after the rain is not recommended unless the lawn has dried up well. But, it is possible if done correctly.
It depends on the dampness level:
- Grass wet with water
- Standing water droplets between the grass blades
- Moist and even wet water around the root area
An extremely wet lawn will make the grass lie down and mat.
If the ground is too wet beyond the grassroots, mowing can move the grass and make long-term ruts in your lawn.
Instead of giving your lawn a clean look, you end up with a mess that needs extra cleanup.
Besides, you also make the soil compact and spread plant diseases.
A wet lawn with sunny weather is another circumstance.
You can mow your lawn only if the sunlight is not too intense.
If there is already an overcast, there are chances of rain at any time.
If it rains during mowing, you won’t be able to mow your lawn evenly.
Now, not only the lawn gets affected, but also the mower.
Mowing wet grass makes clumps of grass clippings in the mower and clogs the mower deck.
Besides, the mower blades will have reduced sharpness, and the mower will overheat because it will have to work harder to cut the grass.
The accumulation of wet grass encourages fungal growth.
The soil also plays an important role when deciding for or against mowing of wet grass.
Wet soil provides less support to the grassroots.
In such a condition, mowing can hurt the roots, and the grass may come out.
Due to the moisture, the soil compacts when you drive the mower over the lawn, reducing soil aeration and encouraging poor infiltration.
However, all the soil types are not prone to soaking.
Check your soil by poking it with your finger before you mow.
If the soil and the grasses are moderately moist, you can mow your lawn without facing the abovementioned issues.
The pros and cons of mowing your lawn before and after a rain shower
Whether to mow the lawn before or after the rainfall has been a commonly asked question.
Mowing a lawn before the rainfall is better than mowing after the rainfall.
Both conditions have some merits and demerits.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of mowing grass in both conditions.
Pros and cons of mowing grass before the rain
Here are some pros of mowing a lawn before the rain:
- When the grass is dry, mowing becomes effective and easier.
- The blades can easily glide through the dry grass without clogging or clumping.
- The lawn mower can safely push through dry grass.
- Mowing when the grass is dry gives your lawn a perfect, clean, and finished look.
- While mowing dry lawns, there are lesser chances of spreading fungal diseases.
- After you mow, the grass needs to heal to grow back before the sun spreads its heat. The rain can help the grass heal by pushing it to the soil and helping break up the cuttings.
Despite these pros, there are a few cons of mowing the lawn before the rain:
- The grass becomes extremely hard and difficult to mow when there is severe drought and extreme heat before the rain.
- If you mow your lawn during such extremely heated weather, it loses its ability to recover after you finish mowing.
- As a result, the grass will grow at a prolonged rate.
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Pros and cons of mowing after the rain
Unfortunately, there are no pros to mowing the lawn after the rain.
The only benefit of mowing your lawn after the rainfall is that you do not have to wait too long and let the grass grow too much.
Excessive tall grass can cause difficulty in mowing.
Grasses growing over 3 inches can droop and smother the other surrounding grass.
It can also trap the moisture from the rainfall and make a breeding area for fungal diseases.
Cutting the grass after rainfall will prevent your grass from growing taller and create diseases.
Other than this, mowing after rainfall is filled with cons. Below are a few of them:
- Water and electricity don’t get along. So, if you use an electric mower, there are chances of electrical damage to the mower.
- The wet grass can make clumps and suffocate the lawn mower.
- The blades of the grass are stuck with the wet grass, which makes it harder to cut the grass evenly.
- While walking, you compact the soggy soil and damage the roots of the grass.
- Clumps of wet grass can clog the mower blade and the deck. It further makes the mower work harder, leading to overheating and engine damage.
- Wet grass is slippery, and pushing the mower increases the risk of falling.
- The chlorophyll from the wet grass can stain your mower blades, fencing, paving, dress, and shoes.
Tips for mowing your lawn after a rain shower: Dos and Don’ts
Waiting for the grass to dry for mowing is not always possible, especially if it is a rainy season or you belong to a rainy climate.
There will be an overcast most of the time, and there are more chances of rain or storm; you cannot wait.
The more moisture the grass receives, the taller it will grow.
Waiting will make them grow bigger, and grasses taller than 3 inches are difficult to mow.
If you must mow your lawn after a rain shower, there are certain things you should follow and a few things you must ignore.
- If you need to mow to keep the grass short, you can cut the grass instead of mowing.
- Test the saturation of the ground soil before mowing.
- If the water is not rising around the edges of your shoes, you can proceed to mow.
- Sharpen the mower blades enough to cut the grass cleanly.
- Add a stabilizer to the gasoline to help it avoid the effects of moisture after mowing.
- Use the side discharge if you have it.
- Set your mower to the highest height to reduce stress.
- You can continue mowing if you have a petrol or manually-powered push mower.
- If you need removing, use a cutting pattern perpendicular to the previous pattern.
- Avoid mowing if the soil is extremely wet and soggy.
- Refrain from stressing your mower to cut more and more grass.
- Don’t try to clean your whole lawn in one day, especially if it is too big.
- Do not mow if you have an electric mower.
- Do not immediately start mowing after the rain stops.
Why should you wait to mow your lawn after heavy rainfall?
Mowing the lawn right after a rainfall is a bad practice.
It affects both the mower and lawn.
The mower needs to work harder due to the wet grass as they cling and stick to the mower deck.
It further affects the engine and reduces its lifespan.
Besides, mowing wet lawns results in uneven grass cutting and cleaning.
You must wait until the lawn gets dry if you use an electric mower. Electricity and current don’t get along.
Do not trust the weather. Just because it has stopped raining doesn’t mean it won’t rain again.
So, wait for the grass to dry out and prepare for mowing.
Always check the soil’s saturation level before you start mowing the lawn.
You can mow your lawn a few minutes after the rain has stopped unless it is not flooding rain.
If you cannot wait too long, start mowing when you find the pavement has started to dry out.
I prefer waiting until the maximum lawn has dried.
How can mowing wet grass affect the health of your lawn?
Cutting wet grass can hurt your lawn’s health.
The grass blades must stand up off the ground for an ideal cutting.
When the lawn is wet, the heavy wet grasses hug the ground.
When the turf begins to dry out after the rain, some grasses will dry up too.
As a result, they will return to their position, and mowing becomes easy.
But the remaining wet grass won’t stand, and the mower will pass over instead of cutting them.
As a result, when you look back at your lawn, it looks bad and uneven.
When you mow over a wet lawn, the grass tears instead of cutting clean.
These tears encourage fungal development in your lawn.
Fungal diseases also happen when you cut the lawn after a rainstorm through the grass clippings.
They make a bigger clumping that mats down and stops healthy airflow.
An excessive amount of grass clippings falling into your lawn can lead to a fungal disease called Brown Spot.
Additionally, moving the mower up and down the wet lawn can hurt the lawn badly.
The wheels sink into the soggy soil, form ruts on the surface, and damage the grass.
It further compacts the soil and damages it over time.
Wet lawn mowing safety: How to prevent accidents and damage?
If you need to mow your lawn after a rainfall, follow the safety tips below to prevent accidents and damage to both lawn and mower:
- Save and store your mower properly. Add a bit of stabilizer to your mower’s gasoline, so the moisture does not corrode the fuel tank.
- When mowing after the rain, mow higher than the regular height. Since a wet lawn needs to work hard to cut the grass, high heights will make your mower put less strain on mowing.
- Mow in fewer amounts. Since the grass will be wet, the mower works hard to cut it. If you must mow after the rain, cover fewer areas daily to put less stress on the machine.
- Lower the mower speed to reduce the load on the mower blade. It will keep your mower blade safe from damage and bluntness.
- Avoid bagging and mulching the wet grass. Otherwise, it will clog the mower deck, make the engine work harder, and overheat. Discharge the grass out of the side chute.
- There is a risk of mowing on wet turf and slopes. You may fall and have a muscle pull or a broken arm. Be careful while pushing your mower forward.
- After you have mowed your wet lawn, keep the mower in a well-ventilated area for drying. A wet mower can encourage fungal diseases; letting it dry will discourage fungus development.
- Clean the mower underside after you mow and discharge the chute to prevent the wet grass from sticking.
- Rake the wet grass clippings and throw them in the compost bin.
The best time to mow your lawn after rain: Expert Advice
If you live in a rainy climate and receive good sunlight, the best time to mow is after a few hours or 1-2 days after the grass has dried.
If the rain stops early in the morning, it will be dry by the afternoon, especially in the summer.
If the ground holds a lot of water during the spring’s rain, the best time to mow is after 1-2 days, provided there are no rains between these days.
The right mowing time is mid-morning and late afternoon.
But it depends on the weather.
In warmer regions, mid-morning is considered the best time for mowing.
The grass will receive enough time to recover.
Mowing during the afternoon when the heat is at its peak can damage the grass as they are vulnerable to moisture loss.
Once the temperature drops in the late afternoon, you can start mowing.
I always mow my lawn either in the mid-morning or in the evening when the temperature cools down.
If the weather is unpredictable about rains, I skip mowing and wait until the lawn is dry and ready to mow.
If the grass is taller, I prefer cutting them short and mowing them.
Though people are busy enough, taking out this much time can keep your mower and the lawn safe and healthy.
The science of lawn mowing: Understanding how wet grass affects your mower
Mowing a wet lawn also affects the mower.
The moisture is bad for the gasoline in the fuel tank, the metal parts, and the engine.
Over time, these parts will corrode and damage the mower’s efficiency.
The grass clippings in the mower deck also invite mold and mildew and spread throughout the turf.
The moist grass clippings accumulate on the metal underside and start rusting.
These grass clippings will stress the engine and the motion of the blades.
As a result, the engine needs to work harder and ends up overheating.
If it continues, your mower will have a reduced lifespan and damage quickly.
Mowing your lawn before or after a rainstorm: Which is better for the environment?
If you suspect, there is a chance of a rainstorm, and you need to mow badly, start mowing before the rainstorm hits your area.
After the rainstorm, it is better to wait for a few hours to days until your lawn has almost dried out.
Mowing before the rainstorm and a few hours to days after the rainstorm is best for your lawn, the mower, and the environment.
Mowing will be even, and the mower will stay safe from damage, overheating, and grass clogging.
The surrounding environment will stay clean and safe from fungal diseases.
Mowing your lawn after the rainfall is not a good idea. You either mow before the rainfall or wait for your lawn to dry out after the rain before mowing. Mowing wet lawns tear the grass, leads to uneven cuts, and encourages fungus.
The mower deck gets clogged with wet grass and makes the engine overwork. The additional moisture can damage the metal parts of your mower. If there is an emergency in mowing the lawn, mow the lawn after the rainfall by following the tips, like covering shorter areas, keeping the deck high, and reducing speed.
After mowing, clean the mower and keep it in a well-ventilated area to let it dry properly. Store your mower by adding a little stabilizer to the gasoline to avoid corrosion. Let the lawn dry a bit before mowing. The best time to mower is in the mid-morning or late afternoon when the temperature is not at its peak.
Can I mow during the rain?
It is not recommended to mow during the rain, especially if you have an electric mower. If the rain is light and you use a petrol or manual pushing mower, you can go ahead only for a few minutes. Otherwise, it is better to stop mowing whenever it rains.
How to tell if the lawn is dry enough to mow?
The dry grass will stand upright, whereas the wet grass bends downwards. To confirm, touch the soil to check its saturation level or step on it with shoes to check if it gets wet.
Reference: Lawnmower Wikipedia