Dew is water in the form of droplets that appears in the morning or evening due to a natural phenomenon known as “condensation”. Dew makes the grass wet and reduces water stress for the grass. Grass retains more moisture in its cells and becomes more resilient in hot and dry conditions. Mowing the grass when it is covered with dew is not a good practice. As dewy grass is wet, its blades bend towards the ground. Mowing dewy grass could end up with an uneven cutting of the lawn and prevent it from looking neat and tidy.
Mowing Dewy Grass, this is the best way:
As a general rule, it is best to wait until the Dewy Grass is dry. If you can not wait, set the mower higher than your normal height setting to put less stress on the grass and the mower. When mowing a dewy lawn, clean the mower’s blades frequently to avoid clippings sticking on them. It’s best to avoid mulching or bagging the wet grass clippings and to set your mower to side discharge mode and then rake the clippings on the ground.
This article will tell you about the effects of mowing a dewy lawn on the lawn’s overall health. It will also explain how mowing dewy grass affects your mowing equipment. It will discuss how you’ll actually have to do extra work when mowing a dewy lawn. Finally, you’ll find tips on how to mow your dewy lawn when it’s absolutely necessary for you to do so, without causing any serious harm or damage to your lawn.
Mowing dewy grass can hurt the lawn
Grass blades should be standing up off the ground for an ideal cut, so that the mower’s blades can easily cut them. Because dewy grass has wet blades, these blades are heavier than dry ones, so they hug the ground.
As grass starts to dry after it’s been rained on, some of its blades dry quickly and come back to their upright position. These blades will be easily removed when you mow. But the remaining wet blades will still bend towards the ground, so the mower will pass over them rather than cut them. When the lawn dries up, these uncut blades will pop up again and give your lawn a rough and untidy look.
Mowing dewy grass results in tearing the grass from the ground rather than a clean cut. These tears, unfortunately, provide the perfect scenario for fungus to come and attack your lawn – and the moisture in your lawn helps the fungus spread all over. So, mowing a wet lawn can create a perfect storm for fungal infestations. Mowing dewy grass can stop your lawn from looking neat and it may stress your grass by causing it to turn yellow until it has recovered from the stress.
The grass clippings of wet grass can also aid the fungal infestations in your lawn. Wet grass clippings mat down and hinder the flow of healthy air. A common fungal disease, known as “Brown spot”, can appear due to the large number of grass clippings covering the turf and the grass’s roots.
Wet grass clippings also stick to the mower deck’s underside, which could invite mold if allowed to stay there. This mold can then spread to your lawn the next time you mow.
When your lawn is dewy, the wheels of your mower sink down into the moist surface. The wheels moving on the wet grass can cause direct damage to the grass by creating ruts in your yard. Moreover, it can also cause the soil in the yard to become compacted, which causes damage over time.
When mowing a dewy lawn is a must
It can happen that you simply have to mow the lawn when it’s covered with dew, despite knowing that mowing at such a time is problematic. For example, this could be the case when you have put your property on the real estate market and you need to show it today and your lawn doesn’t look great.
Or if there has been a lot of rainfall in your area with even more forecasted and you know that waiting longer to mow could cause the grass to grow much taller than its recommended height.
In such cases, you can mow dewy grass but you will have to make sure that the ground is not soggy and you don’t sink down into it. You must test the saturation of the lawn. You yourself should not sink into it or see water rising around the edges of your shoes.
If there is no standing water on your lawn, you can mow the grass to some degree using a mower with sharp blades. Make sure that the blades are sharp to ensure that the grass is cut cleanly and quickly, and the blades are able to cut the grass easily, otherwise you may put your mower under extra stress by cutting wet grass with dull blades. Use a gas mower instead of an electric mower to avoid injury due to electric shock.
You must add a stabilizer to the gasoline in your fuel tank to overcome the effects of moisture in the fuel tank that may enter your fuel tank while mowing the dewy grass. If you don’t add the stabilizer, the moisture can leave your fuel less likely to ignite properly in the engine of the mower the next time you mow.
While mowing dewy grass, set your mower to side discharge mode so that you don’t have to deal with the mess of a wet mower bag. Although this leaves the clippings on your lawn for manual bagging later, it may actually reduce the effort you have to put it in compared to cleaning out a wet mower bag.
Set your mower deck to the highest setting possible in order to cut blades to three or four inches long. When working with dewy grass, it is difficult for the mower to get a clean trim. So, if you want your mower to do its job as well as it can, cut it some slack. Avoid stressing your mower by cutting the dewy grass at lower heights.
The dewy grass and the lawnmower
A lawnmower is always at risk if moisture can come into contact with its metal parts. Moisture can create rust on the metal if it stays on the metal for a long period of time in a damp place. Moisture can also cause problems for the gasoline in the fuel tank of the mower if you don’t mix a stabilizer into the fuel tank. The intruding moisture can cause corrosion inside the fuel tank. Mowing wet grass may indirectly damage the engine of your lawnmower.
The clippings of wet grass stick to the metal underside of the mower and could eventually cause rust. Moreover, the clippings that stick to the underside of the mower can create a breeding ground for mold. If these clippings are not removed from the mower, they could also hinder the movement of your mower’s blades and put stress on the engine to make up for it.
Lawnmowers collect the grass by vacuuming it up after cutting it. Dewy grass makes this process difficult as it is heavier than dry grass. Dewy grass blocks the underside of the deck or grass chute preventing the grass from being collected efficiently. Always clean the deck by removing the stuck grass blades, and brush off the wheels of the mower too.
Mowing dewy grass and personal safety
The personal safety of a person is always the first priority in every field of work. A person might be at a greater risk of injury when mowing dewy or wet grass. There are two factors that can increase the risk of injury.
The first factor is using an electric mower to cut dewy grass. If you use an electric mower especially with an extension cord, then there is always a risk of getting an electric shock. The connections or a damaged cord exposed to moisture could cause damage to the machine – and it could also lead to electrocution to the person operating the mower.
The second is mowing on slopes. Slopes are not the best place to walk when the ground is wet. There is always some danger of slipping on dewy turf. It could cause you to pull a muscle or even break an arm or a leg. Mowing a wet lawn while exerting force in a forward direction to push the mower could cause you to slip and fall too close to the mower’s blades – which could cause a serious injury.
Mowing a dewy lawn causes extra work
It is always difficult to mow dewy grass, and it takes more time, and extra effort as the grass is wet. Dewy grass blades are tough to slice, creating an uneven shred rather than a clean cut. If your mower’s blades are not sharp enough, you will have to pass over the same patch of wet lawn to get a fraction of the cut you would get if the lawn was dry. The frustrating thing is that your lawn will still not look good after this extra effort and hard work. You will need to mow the lawn again as soon as it dries to give it a tidy look.
Moreover, wet grass can stain your clothes, shoes, and the place where you walk with those shoes. Cleaning up all these stains afterward is also extra work that could be avoided by mowing the grass when it is dry.
What’s the best time for mowing?
It is important to mow a lawn at the right time of the day. The two optimal times for mowing a lawn during the day are mid-morning and late afternoon. At mid-morning, the dew dries out and the heat of the day hasn’t yet reached its peak, so the grass has enough time to recover before the full heat of the midday sun hits it. There is less stress for the grass in the late afternoon as the temperature starts to cool down.
Never mow your lawn during the hottest part of the day. During this time the grass is already under great stress and using all its energy to stay hydrated. Mowing the lawn at this time adds to the stress and results in brown patches due to heat damage.
Tips to mow dewy grass
These might help you when mowing dewy grass.
- Higher mowing height: Mow higher than normal mowing height to put less stress on the mower. Raise your mower’s height to the upper limit.
- Reduce the mow width: Reduce the swatch’s width, so less grass is cut with each pass.
- Low speed: Try to keep the speed down to reduce the load on the mower blade.
- No bagging of wet grass: Avoid bagging and mulching wet grass as it can make your bag dirty. Discharge it out the side chute.
- Dry the mower: Leave the mower in a ventilated area to dry. This will prevent your mower from getting damaged by moisture.
- Clean the underside: To avoid wet grass clippings sticking to the mower, clean the underside of the mower, and discharge the chute.
- Wet clippings: Don’t let wet clippings stay on the ground after mowing. Rake the clippings and mow them to the compost bin.
- Add Fuel Stabilizer: Add stabilizer to your gas tank to cope with the more damp environment.
Mowing dewy grass can damage a lawn. Mowing wet grass can lead to simply tearing grass rather than cutting it. As wet grass blades are heavy, they hug the ground and become difficult to cut. This causes uneven cutting of a lawn, which gives it an untidy look when the grass dries and the blades pop back up. Dewy grass can also put your mower under great stress. Therefore, always avoid mowing dewy grass unless it is absolutely necessary.