The crisp freshness of the air, the refreshing feeling of a good night’s sleep, are just a couple of the many reasons to love morning, and if you are someone who loves both mornings and mowing, you might want to start your day with a morning mow, but can you cut grass if it is still wet with morning dew?
Cutting grass that is still dewy can result in damage to your lawn, your mower, or yourself. Instead, you should aim to mow your lawn during the mid-morning hours between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. or the late-afternoon hours between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Continue reading to learn why you should avoid mowing wet grass as well as the best time of day to mow your lawn.
What Are the Dangers of Mowing Wet Grass?
Although waking up to the smell of coffee and freshly cut grass sounds magical, there are quite a few reasons to avoid mowing wet, dewy grass.
Damage to Your Lawn
When grass is wet, it bends from the added weight and because it is bent, it will not get cut when you pass over it with your mower. After you mow, and the dew dries, the blades that were passed over will stand upright again, resulting in a choppy look.
Uneven patches are not the only thing you have to worry about, however, as the dew will cause the soil to loosen, which can result in ruts and may allow the grass to be pulled from the soil instead of cut.
Finally, mowing while the grass is still wet with dew can create conditions that cause your lawn to become more susceptible to disease and fungal infections. Wet grass will often tear instead of being cut evenly by your mowers blades and wet clippings can be a breeding ground for certain fungi.
Damage to Your Mower
In addition to damaging your lawn, when you mow grass that is still wet with dew, you risk damaging your mower. Wet grass does not cut as easily as dry grass, which can strain your mower and dull the blades more quickly. Additionally, the wet clippings may stick to the mower and increase the risk of rust.
Even if they do not stick, they could cause damage by clumping and clogging the machine. This is especially true if they stick around the engine and choke off the air intake. If you do find yourself mowing damp grass or hitting a wet area, make sure you clean the wet clippings away from the underside of the mowing deck and blades afterward.
Damage to Yourself
Perhaps the most important risks are the risks that mowing a wet lawn poses to your safety. If you are using an electric mower, you are putting yourself in danger of electrocution. Especially if you find yourself running an extension cord through the dewy grass. Also, if you are using a push mower, you are putting yourself in danger of slipping and falling near an unforgiving metal blade.
Can You Cut Wet Grass?
Yes, you can, but should you? While there is a significant difference between mowing in the pouring rain or mowing while the grass is only slightly damp, neither one is generally recommended. Both come with risks to your lawn, your machine, and yourself. That being said, there are ways to reduce these risks if you absolutely have no other choice.
Tips For Mowing a Dewy Lawn
- Increase the heigh of your blades to reduce the strain on your lawn and machine.
- Reduce the speed to help reduce the burden on your mower.
- Take frequent breaks to examine the machine, clean off the blades, and clear any clogs that may be forming. Make sure the machine is off when you do this.
- If you are using a push mower, wear slip proof shoes to ensure you have more stable footing. Also, it may be a clever idea to avoid hills until a later time.
- Rake up wet clippings to avoid mold, mildew, and other forms of fungus.
- Before putting your machine away, allow it to dry out completely and clean off any grass clippings that may be stuck in hard to see places.
When Is the Best Time to Mow?
So, it is not recommended to mow in the morning while the grass is still wet with dew, but what about the rest of the day?
As we have already discussed in some detail above, it is not recommended to mow during the early morning hours while the grass is still wet with dew. Doing so could potentially damage your lawn and your lawnmower.
Although this is not a set-in-stone law, most professionals agree that mid-morning (after the dew has dried and before the sun is at its hottest) is the best time to mow your lawn. Mowing during this time allows your lawn time to recover before evening while also avoiding the heat and the problems it can bring.
Although you could safely cut your grass during the afternoon hours, if you want the best lawn in the neighborhood, you may want to wait just a few more hours before you pull out the mower. The sun is the hottest during the afternoon hours, which could burn you and your lawn. However, some experts suggest that you can avoid burning your lawn by cutting only the top third of the grass.
Mowing during the late afternoon allows you to avoid the dewy conditions of the morning and the sweltering afternoon sun, but it does not give your lawn much time to recover before nightfall. Still, it is a good second choice for those who work during the mid-morning hours.
Evening mowing comes with many of the same risks as morning mowing because as the sun goes down, the grass will become dewy again. Additionally, your lawn will not have any time to recover before the evening chill sets in.
Everything considered, if you want a healthy, green lawn, you should avoid mowing in the morning because of the dew, in the afternoon because of the sun, and in the evening because of condensation. Additionally, you should try to schedule your landscaping during the mid-morning hours, and if this is not possible, you should aim to mow during the late afternoon.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer at Lawnmowerfixed.com.
He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and shares his know-how and hands-on experience in our DIY repair guides.
Johns’s fluff-free How-to guides help homeowners fix lawnmowers, tractor mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, power washers, generators, snow blowers, and more.