If you have a lawn then you’ve probably been given the advice not to mow it after it has rained or when the grass is wet. This is a good piece of advice but we don’t all have the time to wait for a sunny spell, especially if you live in an area where there is a lot of rainfall.
So when it comes to mowing, you’re probably eager to get out there as soon as the clouds part but how long should you wait to mow the grass after it rains?
How long to wait will depend on how long the grass takes to dry and this can vary massively between situations. This means that there is no set length of time to wait when cutting grass after rain.
That might feel like a bit of a vague answer to the question but in this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know in a bit more detail.
Cutting The Grass After Rain - What Rules To Follow
If you’ve ever asked yourself how soon after it rains can I mow the lawn, then you will find the following information useful. While we have to stress that there are variables with this, these are some general rules of thumb that can make the job safer and easier.
Wait A Few Hours
Even if there has been some light rain, the grass may still take a good few hours to dry. Usually, you’d be looking at between four and five hours but this can, of course, be affected by the current weather. If it’s warm and sunny then it’ll dry a lot more quickly than if it’s overcast. You can keep going outside periodically to check the grass and monitor its drying progress.
Are Pavements And Paths Dry?
You can also check any paved or concrete areas to see if they are dry. It’s usually much easier to judge than with your lawn and if they are dry then it’s typically OK to start mowing.
But do keep in mind that you’ll still need to employ your common sense. In some cases, the condition of the paths won’t be the same as the grass. If it’s rained non-stop for days then concrete will dry out more quickly than the grass whose soil could be very saturated.
Is The Ground Wet And Soft?
As we just mentioned, grass that has been rained on will soak up a lot of moisture and when it does, this can make the ground a lot softer and squishier. So when you’re assessing whether it’s a good idea to start mowing, you’ll want to consider the condition of the ground.
If you notice that any water has pooled on the lawn then this is a clear sign that it’s too early to grab the mower. If you do go ahead and mow, you’ll find that you have issues with the cut as well as safety issues for you and your lawn mower.
If there is any softness or squishiness to the lawn then we would recommend giving it a decent amount of time to dry out. Again, how long this takes is vastly going to depend on the weather and other factors so judge each situation accordingly.
Will You Get Wet?
One of the easiest ways to tell whether the grass is too wet to cut is to simply walk on it. If your shoes get significantly wet when you set foot on the lawn then this tells you that you’ll need to wait a little longer. However, if they stay relatively dry then you’re probably good to go.
How Long Does It Take For Grass To Dry After Rain?
We could give you a ballpark figure on how long it takes for grass to dry after rain but we’d really be stabbing in the dark. There’s no cut and dry rule on how long it takes because there are so many things that can affect the progress. However, here are some things that you’ll need to consider and that will help you make a more accurate guess on how long you’ll need to wait.
- The length of time it rained will massively impact how quickly (or slowly) the grass dries. It’s not going to take anywhere near as long if there was a light shower as it would if you’ve just come out of the back end of a three day storm. In the case of the latter, it could even take a few days before the grass is dry enough to be cut.
- The time of year will also have an effect as grass is going to dry much more quickly during the summer when it’s warm and the sun is shining. If it’s winter and things are a little chilly and there’s no sign of the sun, the wait could be significantly longer.
- As well as the time of year, you’ll also have to factor in your local climate. If you live in a naturally warmer area then the grass will dry more quickly compared to lawns in cooler, damper climates.
What Problems Can Mowing Wet Grass Cause
Mowing the lawn when it’s wet is something we’re all taught not to do and for good reason. This really is terrible mowing practice and should be avoided as much as possible. To understand why it’s such a bad idea, let’s look at what might happen.
- If the grass is wet when you cut it then the clippings will clump together and this is not good for your lawn mower. It can also cause problems with thatch as well as fungal issues for the lawn which can affect both its health and appearance.
- You won’t be able to achieve such a clean cut when mowing wet grass as the weight of the water can cause the blades of grass to bend and this means that not all of them will be equally cut. You might not notice it while it’s still wet but once the grass dries, it’ll become blindingly obvious and you’ll have to put it right.
- Mowing the lawn when it’s wet can put a lot of stress on your lawn mower. If you have an electric mower then you’re putting yourself and your mower at risk as water and electricity should never be mixed. But even for gas powered models, the engine is going to have to work a lot harder and that’s just putting unnecessary strain onto it which will eventually shorten its lifespan.
FAQs About Mowing Grass After It Rains
How long should I wait to mow the grass after it rains?
The length of time that you should wait to mow lawn after rain will vary according to the conditions. You’ll need to wait for the grass to dry out completely but this can be sped up or slowed down depending on the current weather and temperature, how much rainfall there was and other things.
Check the lawn by seeing if your shoes get wet and to see whether the ground is still soft. If these two tests show that it’s dry then you’re OK to carry on.
What if you have to mow a wet lawn?
There may be some instances where you cannot avoid cutting the lawn when it’s wet. For example, if there is consistent rainfall over a long period of time. But if you have no other choice then it’s a good idea to take precautions to limit how much damage you’ll do:
Make sure your mower blades are as sharp as possible. This will ensure that you get a cleaner cut.
Keep the cutting height higher than you usually would. This will minimize the size of the clippings making them less likely to clump.
If your mower has a rear or side discharge chute then use this over a bagging or mulching option. If you bag the clippings when they’re wet then they’ll just stick to the inside of the bag and mulching only works well on dry grass.
When you’re mowing, keep making frequent stops to clear the mowing deck of any built up clippings. This will prevent the blades from becoming clogged.
When is the best time to cut grass?
We would recommend mowing your lawn in the mid morning. This gives any dew time to evaporate and dry but isn’t the hottest part of the day when the heat could further stress your lawn. If you don’t have time in the morning then avoid cutting in the afternoon when it’s hot and wait until just before it gets dark.
Does mowing wet grass dull the blade?
A lot of people will tell you that mowing the lawn while it’s wet will damage the blades by making them go dull more quickly. However, this is something of a myth. But wet grass will promote rust which is not good for the health of your blades so it should be avoided.
If you’ve decided to cut the lawn on a Sunday morning only to find that it rained overnight then you are probably itching to get the job done at the same time as knowing mowing wet grass could cause major problems.
So you find yourself wondering how long you have to wait before cutting grass after rain. The problem is that there is no definite amount of time as this will vary according to several factors.
It is really important to avoid cutting the lawn while it’s wet as it can damage the grass as well as your lawn mower. Not to mention, with some models it’s unsafe for you too.