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Mowing wet leaves, what is the best way?

It’s been raining all day, and you’ve just gotten home to a full yard of wet leaves. Removing these leaves using only a rake is a tedious task that requires a lot of time and energy. So, you’re wondering: is it possible you can mow over them? The answer is yes. You can mow these leaves and turn them into mulch, but keep in mind. There is a difference between mowing over wet and dry leaves. It is generally advantageous to mow over dry leaves because wet leaves can cause many problems, such as clogging the lawnmower.

Mowing wet leaves, what is the best way?

In general, mowing wet leaves is a time-consuming task. To make it a smoother experience, you should raise the lawnmower blades, checking for clogging, use silicone spray, cut half of the leaves in each pass, cut it in multiple sessions, and mow frequently. Although taking these steps can help, the best solution is to wait for the leaves to dry. Problems with not waiting include clogging the lawnmower, the leaves clumping together, the leaves becoming matted down, and a slippery yard.

What to do when mowing wet leaves:

A lawnmower is an excellent tool to remove wet leaves from your lawn and is an alternative to a powerful leaf blower or a rake. Collecting wet leaves can often feel like a never-ending chore. Still, with our tips, you can ensure you’re using your time wisely while also benefiting your lawn since the mulch leftover after mowing is incredibly useful to your yard.

● Raise lawnmower blades:

Wet leaves can be challenging for the mower to mow through. So, using the same mowing height that you would typically use when mowing dry grass or leaves can significantly damage your mower. This causes stress to the machine, which will damage the motor and will make the blades dull. So, make sure to raise the mower blades till they are just barely grazing the leaves. Work your way down slowly with the mower blades until all the leaves have been cut.

● Check for clogs:

Wet leaves stick to everything, especially to the underside and inside of the mower. These leaves will severely impact the mower’s performance, so it’s important to regularly check the mower for leaves because removing them ensures that the mower can keep running smoothly.

● Use a silicone spray:

As mentioned previously, wet leaves tend to be sticky. An excellent solution to this problem is spraying silicone on your lawnmower. This will help to keep wet and unwanted grass from sticking to your lawnmower. Although this method is not ideal, it will result in a much easier mowing experience since you do not have to clean your mower as often.

● Cut half of the leaves in each pass

Another solution to avoid stress on the lawnmower is to cut fewer leaves on each stroke. This can be accomplished by mowing partly over already cut leaves and partly over uncut leaves. Although it will take twice as long to mow, it will ensure that your lawnmower will stay in good condition.

● Cut it in multiple sessions

Cutting the wet grass in multiple short sessions will reduce strain on your lawnmower. It will also yield a much better result, as in each session, you can lower the blades slightly until you reach your desired height.

● Mow frequently:

Letting the leaves pile up can cause difficulties when trying to mulch the leaves. It is best to mow the leaves down before the pile gets too large and harder to manage. Therefore, increasing how often you mow can solve this problem, as it will mean mowing fewer leaves at one time and ensure that the mower isn’t overburdened, meaning it will be less likely to run into problems like clogging.

Problems with mowing wet leaves:

● Clogging the lawnmower:

Clogging can happen when you are mowing over lots of leaves in a small space. This causes stress on the mower as it has to work harder to cut; therefore, it can completely stall the engine, causing you to restart the mower completely. If this happens repeatedly, it can harm the mower engine’s health and cause the mower blades to get dull quickly. Besides this, the wet leaves will stick to everything, even to the mower’s underside next to the blades. This will also force you to stop often as the mower will not cut efficiently.

● Clumping:

The wet leaves not only stick to the mower, they also clump together instead of being chopped. You will have to go over the same section multiple times to ensure that the leaves have all been completely mulched. This can be very taxing and unpleasant, depending on the size of your lawn.

● Matted down leaves:

Wet leaves are much heavier than dry leaves. The heavier leaves tend to lay much closer to the ground, making them hard to reach for the mower blades. If you are determined to mow matted down leaves, it is recommended that you rake the leaves up to make sure that the mower blades can reach the leaves; otherwise, you will have to go over the same spot multiple times to ensure that the leaves are all mulched down. In cases like this, it’s recommended to wait until the leaves have dried before mowing as it saves time and effort.

● Slippery yard:

Wet leaves tend to be very slippery. The more layers of wet leaves, the more slippery the ground will become, creating a slip and injury risk. In this case, you will have to take extra care when mowing to ensure you avoid dangerous situations. To prevent injury, ensure the yard is dried before you start mowing, ensure that the leaves in areas where there is less direct sunlight have also dried. You can consider raking them to a sunnier spot to make sure that they dry quicker.

Raking after lawnmower stops working

If your mower is not working efficiently, then there is always the option to rake the excess leaves by using a special wet leaves rake. A common reason why your mower may have stopped working includes the blades becoming dull; therefore not cutting efficiently anymore. When this happens, it’s time to sharpen the blades or, if needed, install new blades. This will ensure a cleaner and more even cut. Another reason may be that the mower blades cannot reach the leaves. In this case, use the rake to make the leaves more upright, and the mower should trim down the leaves. When raking, it is essential to always rake towards one specific spot. This can be the corner of your yard or a particular place in the middle of your lawn. Once you’ve finished raking, grab some bags to put the leaves in but be aware that wet leaves are heavy and will dry slowly in the bag.

Related questions:

● Can you bag wet leaves?

Yes, you can bag leaves, but it is not ideal. Wet leaves packed into bags can be very heavy and tend to dry very slowly; therefore,  it is usually superior to allow the leaves to dry before bagging them.

● Will wet leaves kill my grass?

Large amounts of leaves left on your lawn untouched can and will kill your lawn. The heavy matted leaves piled on top will block all direct sunlight for your grass and other plants and reduce water evaporation. This can cause fungus, mold, and other diseases. This is detrimental because it can cause your lawn to be wiped out in as little as a year.

● Can leaves be left on the lawn over winter?

Leaving excessive amounts of leaves on your lawn over winter is terrible for several reasons. Firstly, it will kill the grass due to lack of sunlight, and if not removed properly before the growing season begins, it can severely impact the overall health and growth of the grass. Secondly, it can promote snow mold diseases, which can cause the grass to die in patches.

● How long does it take for mulched leaves to decompose?

It takes the leaves between 6 months to a year to decompose naturally on the ground. However, if you choose to decompose the leaves in a compost bin, it takes between 3 to 6 months.

● How to clean a clogged lawn mower?

First, clean the mower’s bottom thoroughly to ensure only a few leaves are left. It’s impossible to remove every single leave altogether, and it would be futile to do so because leaves will continue to stick once you start moving again. If you want to be more thorough, you can use a putty knife to scrape leaves off of tricky areas. Ideally, after removing the leaves, let the mower dry naturally or with a towel to speed things up. Blowing the water away is also something that you can do. To avoid frequent clean-ups and clogs, spray the entire mower with a silicone spray to ensure fewer leaves stick on the mower.

Final remarks

Getting rid of excess leaves will always be a tedious and lengthy task, especially when they’re wet, and you are doing so manually with a rake. But mowing wet leaves with a lawnmower is a good solution for this problem. While you might not want to do this task, it is crucial to keep your grass and yard in excellent shape and health. Ultimately, it’s best to wait for the leaves to dry before mowing, but if it is unavoidable, hopefully, this article gave you the tips you needed to avoid severe damage.