How Long Should You Wait to Mow the Grass After It Rains?

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Everyone has probably told you that mowing a wet grass is a bad idea. But, what if it was just a light rain – will you really ruin your lawn or your mower? And how long do you have to wait?

How Long Should You Wait to Mow the Grass After It Rains? As soon as the pavement is drying up, you can mow the yards after a rain. Unless it rained for days, the grass after rain is usually no worse than a heavy dew that you get early in the mornings.

Unless it rained a full day or two, or your lawn is full of wet leaves and is not clean, it’s completely safe to mow after only a few hours, especially in the summer during sunny days.

You can even cut grass during the light rain, without damaing your lawn.

How long to wait before you cut grass after rain depends on mostly how much rain did fall. If it was just a quick shower during an otherwise sunny day, then a few hours is all it takes. If it was a flood, or it rained a full day or two, then waiting a few days is usually the best choice.

What about your mower? How will it hold up?

Will Mowing Wet Grass Ruin Lawn Mower?

Mowing wet grass will most of the times not ruin your lawn mower.

As long as it’s a light rain, while making sure it’s not an electric mower with an extension cord, it’s completely fine if you take care of your mower properly.

Powerful mowers, like the amazing Toro 22″ Recycler and Greenworks 21″ Push Cordless, can cut wet grass easily, but if your mower is struggling you can raise your deck a bit to make it easier to cut, and make a lawn healthier.

Many people live in wet areas when there is not much dry grass during the week, so they must mow whenever they can. And their mowers are perfectly fine. This is true for many areas during spring time.

Not only will they mow their lawns and commercial properties immediately after rain, but they will many times mow during a light rain as well.

All you need to do is watch out how your mower performs, and clean it regularly. Clumps of grass will keep forming on the wheels and under the deck which you’ll need to clean every time.

lawn mower mowing wet grass

If your mower is having trouble bagging the grass, then set your mower to side discharge the grass. Then, once it dries a bit, you can mow over those clippings again. One thing you can do with clippings is blow them with your blower and spread them around to dry faster, or rake them then mow them again once it dries.

Keep your mower blades sharp, and your mower deck clean of grass clumps.

Mowing with dull blades puts an extra amount of stress to your mower, plus it starts shredding the grass instead of cutting it. Keeping them sharp will keep your grass healthy and disease-free, especially in damp weather conditions.

Once done mowing a wet grass, always clean your mower as wet grass will form clumps and stick to your deck. If left like this, it will create a moldy mess in no time, so cleaning your  mower will make sure it’s capable of working properly and making a healthy cut.

Word of caution, it is never safe to use an electric mower with an extension cord when mowing wet grass, for obvious reasons.

How Long Does It Take for Grass to Dry After Rain?

If the rain stops early enough in the morning, it will probably dry in the afternoon. Especially in the summer times, when your ice cubes melt fast in your drinks, unless it was a flooding rain you can safely mow it in the afternoon.

If you had several rainy days in a row, then your best choice is to allow the grass to dry out a bit before running a lawn mower over a still wet grass.

grass with rain drops

In the spring time, when the ground is already holding a lot of water, then you may want to wait a bit longer just to be on the safe side. If not, then you are risking not only your mower, but also to damage the soil and cut uneven grass. On heavy rain and during winter the grass will bend, so when you finish mowing it will look an uneven cut. In this case, it’s best to wait a bit.

There is, of course, “too wet” grass to mow. If it sinks as you walk, it’s too wet.

Why Should You Not Cut Grass When It’s Wet?

There are several reasons why you may not want to cut wet grass:

  • One of the downsides of cutting a wet grass is that wet grass may cut unevenly. Grass is bent because of moisture, it will flatten when the mower wheels go over it, and it will not stand up.
  • Second, if the soil is still wet (not recommended to mow in this case) you could end up putting furrows in your lawn as the lawn mower wheels pass over it. Mowing immediately after heavy rain may damage your soil and roots. If this is the case, it’s probably best to wait a day or two.
  • Third, grass clippings will tend to clump together and block your mower’s deck. This will make it move around more difficult. If mowing a wet grass, always check your mower deck and clean it often, and it will keep the grass healthy.
  • With a weak mower there is a slight chance of overheating, especially if your blades aren’t very sharp. To prevent this, keep an eye out of your mower is struggling, and if it is, then just go slow. Or, raise the deck an inch or two
Freshly mown grass with a lawn mower in background
Source: Sean Hobson

Best Time of Day to Mow Lawn

Generally speaking, the best time to mow your lawn is in the mid-morning, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. when the grass has had the time to dry out a bit from the morning dew and any irrigation.

Another good time for mowing the lawn is in late afternoon, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. when the temperature has cooled down, which makes it less stressful on your lawn.

Plus, the grass will have plenty of time to recover before nightfall.

high grass in sunset

Best time to mow when it’s hot outside is in the evening when the sun is down. Mowing in the evening in warm places helps keep moisture in the roots, and it gives the grass good amount of time of healing in the shade, before the next sunrise.

To summarize, can cut grass after it rains safely, unless it was a flooding rain. Just make sure it’s not an electric mower with an extension cord, clean your mower afterwards, and your grass will get a healthy cut every time.

Credits: Sean Hobson under Creative Commons, picture #3. No changes made.