Experts warn against this fall lawn mowing mistake

Don’t mow your lawn after heavy rain or cold temperatures, or you’ll ruin your lawn mower experts say

person mowing a lawn in fall
(Image credit: Zbynek Pospisil/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

It might be tempting to give your lawn that final trim before winter sets in, but take care and only do it when the conditions are right, experts are warning. 

If you don't, not only could you end up causing problems with your lawn care for winter, but chances are you'll risk ruining your lawn mower too. 

'Mowing lawns during wet or cold weather conditions can be detrimental, not only to the lawn, but to the machinery itself,' says Paul Chappell, co-owner of gardening tool manufacturer, DTW Tools and Machinery

Cold weather causes havoc

Did you know that cold weather has a very specific damaging effect on the blades of even the best lawn mower

'When the weather is cold, the blades of lawn mowers become less efficient, particularly in older or well-used models,' Paul explains. 'They struggle to get the momentum they need to spin quickly enough to cut the grass blades. This leads to grass getting caught in the mechanism, which can wreak havoc with the machine itself.'

petrol mower cutting a lawn

(Image credit: Linda Clayton)

Wet weather is even worse

'Wet weather is even more problematic,' Paul warns. 'Mowing straight after rainfall or even when there is dampness or mildew on grass blades means that grass is more likely to clump and jam the blades of the mower. This causes strain on the machinery and can lead to the mower blocking up and overheating.' 

He adds that the same is true for other garden power tools such as leaf blowers, strimmers and trimmers. So the rule is simple; wait for a spell of mild, clear days before considering whether it's the right time to mow the lawn before winter arrives.

lawn mower wheels covered in wet grass

(Image credit: redstallion/iStock/gGetty Images Plus)

Take care of your tools

At this time of year, it is doubly important to clean your lawn mower carefully after each use, and especially before you put it away safely and securely in your garden tool storage, ideally covered in a thick, waterproof blanket, until spring. 

'Before winter comes around you want to clean the deck of any dampness and residue. This is the part that stops blades and debris from shooting out, it protects you and the engine of the lawn mower,' says Chris Bonnett, founder of gardening website Gardening Express.

'A lot of people don’t consider this part of their lawn mower but if you don’t clean this, you could end up leaving it exposed to moisture throughout the winter and it may begin corroding and affecting the lawn mower's performance.'

Consider yourself warned. 

underneath of lawn mower clogged with wet grass clippings

(Image credit: vavlt/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.