If you live somewhere that gets regular rainfall, I feel your pain.
Combined with daily life and work, bad weather can make it difficult to find time to keep your lawn tidy.
For instance, can you use an electric lawn mower on wet grass?
As sometimes after it has been raining might be the only chance you get to mow your lawn.
Let’s find out…
Can You Use An Electric Lawn Mower On Wet Grass?
Using an electric lawn mower on wet grass is a bad idea. In fact, using any kind of lawn mower on wet grass is a bad idea. Grass will clump and be harder to cut, wet grass can spread disease, it can get into your mower and cause damage and you can easily injure yourself by slipping or getting an electric shock.
I am not going to lie, in the past I have used my electric mower on wet grass.
And apart from one small incident, which I will go into later, it has worked out ok for me.
But I have only done it very rarely, and I would say cutting wet grass with any mower, not just an electric one, is not recommended for a number of reasons.
You can easily damage your mower, your lawn and yourself.
It really is best to wait until your grass is dry before you get your electric mower out and tend to it.
So let’s examine why.
Why You Should Not Cut Grass When It’s Wet
#1: It Will Clog Your Mower
Wet grass sticks together far more easily than dry grass, and with it, this brings together a multitude of problems.
The main one is that the clumps of grass will clog the deck and discharge nozzle of your mower.
Not only does this prevent grass from entering the mower, resulting in it being left on the lawn, it also means your mower has to work harder to do its job as key parts of it are clogged with grass.
That can lead to the engine stalling, or in a worse-case scenario, overloading and blowing completely.
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#2: It Will Lead to Soil Compaction
Whilst technology is improving year after year, lawn mowers can still be heavy pieces of machinery.
If you put any heavy item on damp soil, one of the outcomes will be that it compacts the soil.
Using a mower on even a slightly soft surface will encourage ruts to form and could prevent water and oxygen from reaching grassroots, hindering the growth of healthy grass in the future.
#3: Your Cut Won’t Look Good
We’ve already established that wet grass clumps together.
As well as potentially clogging your mower, these clumps of grass are also harder for your mower to cut effectively.
They might cut some of the clumps and not others.
Add this to the fact that the slick wet blades won’t cut as well as dry blades, and you will get an ugly uneven cut across your lawn.
To compound this, rain might push down some blades of grass so they lie flat to the ground, so when you mow your lawn they will be missed.
Once these blades have dried out they will pop back up again and stand out like a sore thumb.
All in all, you will not get the nice uniform cut you do when you mow dry grass.
#4: It Encourages Fungal Diseases
Fungal diseases thrive in wet environments, I think we all know that.
If you mow your lawn when it is wet, no matter how hard you try not to, you will leave clumps of damp grass clippings on your lawn.
Without airflow to dry them out these clippings can easily introduce bacteria, mold and fungus to your lawn.
Similarly, these damp clippings can stick to the underside of your mower and grow mold, which you might inadvertently introduce to your lawn next time you mow it.
#5: It Will Stress Your Lawn Mower Out
Your mower will have to work much harder to cut the thick, wet, clumps of grass.
As referenced in point 1, there will be undue strain on its engine, and it could choke, stall, overheat or do a combination of all three.
On top of that you will have a sharp steel blade spinning round at speed with lots of grass stuck to it in an uneven fashion.
That in itself will cause the blade to wobble and cause undue wear on your mower.
#6: It Can Contaminate Your Mower
Ok so this won’t affect electric lawn mowers, but I am going to include it as it is still worth remembering if you also have a gas mower.
The moisture from the wet grass will work its way into the fuel tank of a gas mower and contaminate it and cause your mower to become rusted or corroded.
#7: It Is a Slip Risk
I can count on one hand the amount of times I have mowed my lawn when it is wet.
However the last time I did it was a couple of years ago, when I was pushed for time and really needed to get it mowed before I went away on holiday.
In my rush to get it done, I slipped on the slick surface and ended up pulling the mower back.
There was no injury as a result but my tipped-over mower, with its spinning blade, lay just a few inches from my leg.
Since then I have decided it is not worth the risk!
Just to reiterate this point, John Hopkins University carried out an eight-year study into lawn mower injuries in the United States.
The study drew on hospitalization statistics from the United States Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), the largest emergency department database in the U.S.
The study estimated there were just over 50,000 hospitalizations due to lawn mower injuries in that eight-year period.
In total 46.7% of the injuries were lacerations, 22.4% were fractures and 21.5% resulted in amputations.
Average in-patient charges totaled $36,987 per patient.
Something to bear in mind right?
#8: You Might Get an Electric Shock
Probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think about using an item like an electric mower on a wet surface is the risk of an electric shock.
And whilst that risk is low it is still there and it can be deadly if it does happen…
Can You Use A Battery-Powered Lawn Mower On Wet Grass?
I guess asking if you can use a battery-powered lawn mower on wet grass is a perfectly reasonable question.
Because, after all, you are taking away the electric cord, so surely that reduces the danger?
And yes it does.
The electric components on a cordless mower are in an insulated plastic structure that is away from the user and will not contact the wet grass.
The voltage from the battery is not likely to be strong enough to be considered dangerous either.
But, aside from that, every other risk outlined above that applies to mowing wet grass with an electric lawn mower also applies to mowing wet grass with a battery-powered lawn mower.
So it really isn’t worth it.
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If You Really Must… Tips for Mowing Wet Grass
Every type of mower struggles with wet grass, but if you really feel like you must mow your lawn when it is wet then try and follow these guidelines:
- Use a mower that bags or side discharges. This will reduce the levels of wet grass being recycled in your mower.
- Mow in the evening. This should give the best chance for your wet lawn to dry out with some help from the sun (hopefully!).
- Raise the blade height. Set the cutting height of your mower to be at least 35mm and make narrower passes.
- Check your lawn for drainage issues. If your grass seems perpetually wet, there could be underlying issues affecting it.
If you must use an electric lawn mower on wet grass you can, but I would strongly advise against it.
In fact, you should not use any type of mower to cut wet grass, no matter how desperate you are to cut your lawn.
It will inevitably damage your mower, also wet grass is much harder to cut and will not cut well as it clumps together and at worse you cause yourself a bad injury as a result of mowing wet grass.
As a little reminder of the John Hopkins study mentioned earlier, the facts indicate that in an eight-year period there were somewhere around 24,000 lacerations, 11,500 fractured bones and 11,000 amputations in the US as a result of lawn mowing-related accidents.
In total that is between 17 and 18 lawn mower-related injuries per day! That doesn’t even account for the fact that probably around half of the year the lawn mower rarely comes out.
Now I am not suggesting all of these injuries were a result of people mowing wet grass, but I bet a fair few were.
It just isn’t worth the risk to your mower, your lawn and most importantly you.