Apart from standing on an up-turned plug on your 2am trip to the bathroom, there’s nothing worse than mowing a wet lawn.
There are certain things we can all agree to be bad ideas. Bungee jumping without a bungee, long-distance relationships, staying up until 3am the night before a flight/exam/interview, buying diet water, thinking you need these gardening sleeves and, at the top of everyone’s list, mowing wet grass.
And I’m not just talking about mowing after a heavy rainstorm (or during one for that matter) because even an English light drizzle can pose a big problem. I know this sounds ruddy annoying and inconvenient, especially if you’re a fan of an early-morning mow-up, but mowing while there is still dew on your lawn is one of the most common lawn care mistakes.
And here’s exactly why cutting wet grass sucks for your lawn:
(Spoiler alert: this information is going to marginally improve your life)
1. You’ll Get An Uneven Cut
Have you ever had your hair cut by someone who wants to be a barber but has zero training? Neither have I, but I can imagine the outcome would be something similar to a damp lawn that’s just been mowed.
You see, to achieve the perfect cut, your grass blades need to be standing to attention, sort of like those soldier chaps outside the Queen’s gaff. The problem is, wet blades don’t do this because they’re too heavy. So, instead of standing upright, they tend to hug the ground. Sure, some of your blades will take up their upright positions as they dry off, ready to be mowed nice and neatly. But not all of them will. A lot of them will remain hunched over because they’re wet and that means your mower is going to pass right over them – and you won’t even notice until they dry off and pop back up. The result: you’ll have to get your mower out again.
2. You’ll Rip Your Grass Blades
As if the whole uneven, cowlicked-lawn look wasn’t bad enough, trying to chop damp grass will result in you ripping the blades rather than cutting them clean. This is *bad news (*maybe not Trump in the White House bad, but still pretty bad) because it will make your lawn vulnerable to fungus. How? Simple. Sort of. You see, fungus loves to spread as far as it can, and moisture lets it do just that. That means, when you mow a wet lawn, you’re inadvertently creating the perfect stage for fungal infestations to jump up and boogie.
3. Urgh, Fungal Diseases Are The Worst
What makes fungal diseases doubly bad is the way they can burst to life on a post storm-lawn by using the grass clippings, and it’s all because the wetter the grass the larger the clumps. When you mow a wet lawn, the grass clippings are able to mat down like never before and create a sort of blanket that restricts a healthy flow of air and nutrients, and this can lead to something called “brown spots”.
And that’s not the only way fungal diseases can manifest. What you’ll also find after mowing a damp lawn is a load of wet grass clippings stuck to the underside of your mower deck, which is harmless if you remember to clean them off. If, however, you’ve got the memory of a fish with amnesia and forget to wipe these clipping away, they will start harbouring mould, and this will spread to your lawn the next time you get your mower out.
4. Wheels & Wet Grass Don’t Mix
Stepping away from the diseases, the ripped blades and uneven cut for a second, just walking up and down your wet garden with your mower can cause a whole bunch of harm to your grass. Think about it for a second. When your lawn is dry, it’s firm, and firm is good. But when the ground is wet, the wheels of your mower are waaaayy more likely to sink in, and there’s two reasons this isn’t ideal:
- The wheels will form ruts and ruts will cause direct damage to your lawn.
- You’ll cause your soil to become compacted, and that will open up a whole new can of annoyingly harmful worms.
5. Your Mower Won’t Be Having A Good Time Either
Whether you’re rocking a petrol ride-on or an electric push mower, moisture isn’t the best thing for a) fuel, b) metal parts, c) electric currents and d) engines. But it’s not just corrosion or rust you need to worry about. Clumps of moist grass clippings stuck to your deck will also wreak havoc on the motion of your blades and cause your mower to work harder than it has to (and that’s just not very good for the environment, man).
6. Mowing Wet Is A Hazard
I know you probably can’t wait to get out there and make your lawn look neat again, but personal safety has to come first, right? That’s why I feel it’s necessary to tell you that, wait for it, mowing the lawn when wet is a lot more risky than doing it when dry. It just is. First of all, if you’re pushing an electric mower, you might get a bit of an unsurprising shock. And, secondly, your lawn might have some slopes, and slopes are not the best place to be when you can barely keep your footing on the flat. Now, I don’t want to be an alarmist, but slipping while pushing a machine that has a sharp rotating blade attached to the bottom could put a bit of a black mark on an otherwise wonderful day.
7. You’re Giving Yourself More Work
Mowing a wet lawn requires a lot more time and effort, and that’s without harking back to the fact it still won’t look great when you’re finished (#unevencut), which will just make you want to mow everything again as soon as you can. And then there’s the whole grass stains on your clothes, shoes and all the surfaces your accidentally walk across in your grass-stained shoes and clothes. It’s a cleaning nightmare that simply adds to your workload.
Basically, it makes roughly 104% to wait until the afternoon before you start mowing, you know, when yesterday’s light rain has dried off.