Mowing wet grass is not a great idea. You could do damage to your lawn, and there are several hazards associated with mowing a wet lawn. But if you must mow after a hard rain, you’ll want the best lawn mower for wet grass. In this article I’ll explain your options to help you choose a good mower for your property.
Dangers of Mowing Wet Grass
Wet grass can become slippery, which can be a hazard if you should slip and fall while mowing. If you’re riding on a mower, it could slide on an incline and roll over.
Mower wheels can also create ruts in waterlogged turf, damaging grass in the process.
Wet grass also clumps together as it is cut. Clearing those clumps (and exposing yourself to the risk of a laceration from the blade) isn’t my preferred activity when mowing my lawn.
Damp earth also means that you can pull grass roots out of the ground as you mow. This can effectively kill your grass and do permanant damage to your lawn.
What do you do if you have to mow when it’s wet outside?
Perhaps you’re experiencing a lot of rain. Or maybe the only time you have to mow the grass is in the morning.
Using the right mower and taking some precautions can allow you to get the job done safely.
What is the Best Mower for Wet Grass?
Choose Gas for Wet Grass
If you only have an electric mower, forget about it.
The moisture on your grass and in your soil is a potent conductor for electricity. This can result in dangerous electric shock or electrocution. Do not mow in damp conditions with an electric mower, ever. Instead wait until things dry out.
Even a battery operated mower may get damaged by the residual water from the grass or other shrubbery if it is not properly waterproof.
Your owner’s manual may be able to indicate if the battery compartment is water-tight. Otherwise it’s best to use caution and wait for dry conditions, or else you run the risk of ruining your lawn mower.
Gas-powered mowers are going to be the only safe option to use if it’s wet outside.
There is no risk that the water itself is going to damage the mower and zero risk of electrocution (by your mower anyways, if you choose to mow in a thunderstorm with lightning then that’s an entirely different matter).
When Push Comes to Shove…
A push mower is going to be safer than a zero turn mower, otherwise known as a riding mower.
While there is still some risk of slipping on the grass, a walk-behind mower is less dangerous on a wet lawn.
A riding mower, due to its weight and the type of wheels on it, is likely going to slide along even the smallest incline and could roll over on top of you.
Tips for Using a Walk-Behind or Push Mower on Wet Lawns
Even while using a push mower, there are some important alterations that you can make in order to make the job easier and safer.
- Firstly, set your mower deck to the highest setting possible so that you are only trimming the very top of the grass. This will help prevent scalping your lawn in wet conditions and minimize the amount of clogging your mower experiences. Even in dry conditions, it’s better to trim just the top of the grass blade anyways.
- Secondly, use a side discharge instead of bagging the wet grass. This will help you avoid dealing with wet grass stuck in your mower bag. A side-discharge bag is also less prone to clogging. Just be mindful that clumps of wet grass on your lawn can also suffocate the grass below them. Make sure to rake it up later or disperse the clumps as they dry out.
- Finally, make sure you are working with a freshly sharpened blade to avoid pulling the grass out by the root and get as clean a cut as possible.
Tips for Using a Riding Mower on Wet Lawns
If a lawn and garden tractor or zero turn mower is all that you have available to you and you truly cannot wait for a dry day to mow, there are some things that you can do to make it a little bit safer.
- Avoid inclines. Zero turn mowers are great for flat lots with lots of obstacles. But mowing any incline with wet grass will lead to your riding lawn mower sliding or rolling.
- If you must mow on an incline, always be facing up or down the hill and never mow side to side.
- Finally, go very slow and use minimal throttle as an additional safety measure.
Whatever type of lawn mower you choose when mowing your wet lawn, remember that the safest and best thing to do for your lawn is to wait until the sun comes out to dry that grass.
It’s healthier for your lawn, safer for you, and better for your mower.