Your grass is getting tall and it’s time to mow. But the weather report says rain is on the way. What do you do? Mow now or wait for the rain to pass?
The best time to mow a lawn is when it’s dry, whether that’s before a rainstorm or after the lawn has dried. It’s best to avoid mowing when the grass is wet as you will slip more easily, your lawnmower has to work harder and may rust, and your lawn will be patchy with more ruts.
Table of Contents
Can you cut grass in the rain?
Technically, you can cut grass in the rain, but if you don’t have to, avoid it. Landscaping and yard maintenance companies will do this as they need to stay on schedule, but cutting grass while wet (nevermind in the rain) can be hazardous to you and results in a lumpy, sunken lawn. And a miserable you.
If your lawn really needs a cut and this is the only time you can do it, then keep safe by:
- choosing a push mower or gas mower (AVOID electric and riding mowers!),
- moving carefully (wet grass is slippery),
- keeping your mower’s blades sharp, and
- cleaning off the lawnmower after.
You won’t get the best job, but it’ll get it done.
Wondering about cutting the grass before the snow hits? You need to jump on over to our article called “How Short to Cut Grass Before Winter?”. It will teach you everything you need to know for preparing your grass before the winter months.
Can I mow wet grass?
You can technically mow wet grass, but like I already mentioned avoid it if you can.
Mowing while the grass is wet has many problems such as:
- You won’t get an even cut, as wet grass tends to bend. Taller grass will poke up higher.
- The grass will tear instead of cutting, again making the grass look uneven and making the grass more susceptible to diseases and fungi.
- Clumps of cut grass will stick to the mower blades and, when left on the lawn, are so thick that they’ll block out sunlight, killing the grass underneath.
- Wet grass is heavier, which makes mower engines (or yourself, if you have a push mower) have to work harder, especially if the mower blades aren’t sharp. Some professional-grade engines can manage fine, but less powerful engines will struggle.
- Wet grass is slippery making it more likely you will injure yourself. Not fun.
- Wet soil is more prone to compaction, so running a heavy lawnmower over it will result in ruts.
- You can’t use an electric mower, as connections (like with an extension cord) will be exposed to moisture. Water and electricity do not mix.
However, if it’s been raining every day or two for weeks and your lawn has grown quite high, it may be time to mow regardless. According to the Kansas University, mowing while your lawn is a bit wet is better for your lawn than letting it grow too tall. Avoid mowing when your shoes get soaked through from standing on the lawn or you sink a little in the soil as that’s way too wet. DON’T use an electric mower.
How long should I wait to mow the grass after it rains?
It’s best to wait until the grass has completely dried after a rainshower before mowing it, or at least dry enough that your shoes don’t get sopping when walking across the lawn. Depending on how much rain you had and how much sun and heat you get after the rainstorm, that could be between a couple of hours and a few days. Lawns will dry a lot faster in summer than in spring.
You can see at a glance if the grass is dry as wet grass bends and dry grass stands tall. Or just step onto your lawn and see if your shoes get soaked. If it’s a light rain, then your grass should be dry at around the same time the pavement is.
If you are having lots of rain and your grass is dying you might want to read our “Why is my Grass Turning Brown After Lots of Rain?” article. It will explain what to do!
Should you mow right before it rains?
If your grass needs to be mowed soon and you know a rainstorm is coming, then mow the grass before the rain. Otherwise, there are few benefits. The grass may recover from the stress of mowing faster if there’s rain right after and the rain will push the cut grass down to the soil, helping break up the cuttings.
Is it easier to mow wet or dry grass?
Hands down, it’s much easier to mow dry grass than wet. You will get a much more even cut and avoid introducing ruts, as well as it being much safer for you and better for your lawn’s health.
Will mowing wet grass ruin a lawnmower?
Mowing wet grass makes the engine work harder as the wet grass clippings are a lot heavier and a lot harder to move. Parts may rust if the mower isn’t thoroughly cleaned after.
With electric mowers, you run the risk of electric shock as cords and wiring are exposed to moisture.
With gas mowers, excess moisture that gets into the fuel tank can contaminate fuel and even rust out your tank.
If you live in an area with frequent rainfall where you don’t get a lot of dry days, invest in a push mower or gas mower (with a more powerful engine), and keep the blades sharp. After mowing wet grass, brush off remaining grass clumps so the mower can dry properly.
Or try a lawn alternative like moss, creeping thyme, or something else you don’t need to mow. My favorite low maintenance grass alternatives can be found in my article “10 Cheap Alternatives to a Grass Lawn“, you are guaranteed to find some great no-mow options here!
Does grass grow faster after rain?
Yes, grass grows faster after rain. Grass can grow between 3” to 6” in a week given enough rain. Rain brings nitrogen from the atmosphere down into the soil. In particularly rainy seasons, you’ll find your grass grows much faster and you need to mow more often.
When is the best time to mow the lawn?
The best time is when the grass is 3” high (or depending on your grass species), when the grass is dry, and when it’s cooler out. Mowing the lawn at the height of a heatwave or the hottest part of the day can dry out grass faster, stressing the grass out and damaging it. Longer grass blades shade the soil and also encourages the grass to deepen its roots, making your lawn healthier and better able to withstand drought conditions.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.