'Can you cut wet grass?' is a question anyone with a lawn has asked at some point. Surely it can't hurt if it's a bit wet? And if it's been raining non-stop for weeks, should you just allow your lawn to run riot?
Learning how to mow a lawn is essential for keeping it in good health, but knowing when to do it is also important. We've asked gardening and lawn maintenance experts to answer, once and for all, the question about wet lawns. Here's what they told us.
Can you cut wet grass?
You probably expected this, but the answer is, no, it's never a good idea to cut wet grass. Paul Hicks, Marketing and Product Manager at STIHL GB, explains that 'Cutting wet grass is not advised for many different reasons, as not only does it cause harm to your lawn, but it can also damage your lawn mower as the damp grass sticks to the blade, making it blunt over time.' The problem with having a blunt mower is that the 'blade doesn’t give a clean cut, instead it tears away the grass and causes damage.' Even the best lawn mower can get damaged if you keep using it on wet grass.
If you have a corded electric lawnmower, you should also be mindful of a potential safety hazard, as Liam Lapping, gardening expert at Flowercard, says: 'It is always best to wait for wet grass to dry before cutting it, especially when using an electric lawn mower, as mowing a wet lawn can be dangerous and lead to an electric shock.'
It's not just about the lawn mower, though. Cutting wet grass is just bad for your lawn. Paul Hicks advises that 'mowing a wet or saturated lawn risks compaction and ruts', leading to a poor cut and an uneven or patchy lawn.
Essentially, a wet lawn will have some of the grass blades weighed down by water, which means they will be missed by the mower. Liam Lapping recommends 'leaving the grass between 2-5 hours after a downpour is a good way to ensure it is dry.'
Can I mow the lawn after it rains at all?
If your grass is growing long, you can mow it, although it's still preferable to wait until the lawn has dried out a bit. Paul stresses that 'after a wet spell it’s important to set the mower blades to the highest possible cutting height to just give it a trim.' Trimming rather than hard mowing is one of the most important autumn lawn care tips, but equally applies to other seasons, when the grass is actively growing.
Don't forget about essential maintenance that will 'help your lawn recover from a wet spell,' Paul advises. In particular, 'it is important to help it aerate, which can be done manually using a garden fork or with the help of a powered aerator.' There's really not much to learning how to aerate a lawn, and it's really worth doing to keep it in good shape year-round.
Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.
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