How to mow wet or long grass

Mowing Wet or Long Grass

Can You Mow Wet Grass?

Picture the scene; the grass is getting longer and longer but the five weeks of rain doesn’t look as though it’s coming to an end any time soon. What do you do? Do you just live in an overgrown forest until there’s finally enough sun to dry the lawn? We’re commonly asked ‘is it ok to mow wet grass?’, so we want to provide a guide for all you keen gardeners today!

Although mowing the lawn when wet can be difficult, it is possible as long as you follow some simple steps. For starters, when there’s a break in the rain, drag your garden hose along the surface of your lawn and this should squeeze lots of the standing water. After this, wait a little while and allow the grass to dry a little more (this should be more efficient after using the hose as a squeegee).

As the lawn reaches a point where it isn’t going to get much drier (or if you’re worried about incoming rain), set the mower to an increased cutting height. Often, people ask ‘does cutting wet grass hurt it?’ and ‘will mowing wet grass ruin the lawn mower?’; raising the cutting height will prevent damage to both. To get great results, we also recommend these simple tips;

  • Avoid heroics when the engine is running (take your time)
  • Empty the box (or bag) frequently to prevent pushing a heavy mower
  • Push the mower slowly and allow the blade to pick up the grass
  • Always hose the mower down afterwards and allow it to dry

How to Mow Long Grass

Lawnmower at high cutting height

If the weather isn’t lending a helping hand and you don’t fancy cutting the grass in the rain, you may decide to leave it for a later date. If this is the case, the second half of this guide will come in handy for you!

If you’re about to go on holiday (or you made the mistake of cutting the lawn short before going away!), we recommend using your normal cutting height to prevent a growth spurt. We also recommend using a rotary mower (borrow or hire, if you don’t have one) and raising the height for the first cut of the long grass. After a couple of days, mow on a lower setting and keep reducing the height until you’re back to normal. Unfortunately, those with a cylinder mower will struggle here so we advise getting your hands on an electric, petrol or cordless rotary mower.

What About Flattened Grass?

Flattened Grass


For mowers with a roller, this can eventually impact the angle at which grass grows. Unfortunately, this makes the grass look short when it’s actually deceptively long. As you mow at 2”, the grass can actually be double this length and it leads to a brown and patchy lawn (something we all want to avoid!).

How do you deal with this? Before mowing, rake the grass and make sure it’s standing tall rather than sloping. If you’re to restore the lawn to its former glory, you’ll need to do this a few times. Also, you’re likely to be left with the brown stems but don’t worry because the green will come through again soon enough. Rather than putting yourself through this process every year, make sure you mow in different directions so the roller doesn’t consistently push the grass in the same direction.


There we have it, your guide to mowing the lawn when wet or long. The solution you choose will normally depend on the amount of water on the lawn; sometimes, it’s just easier to wait and then mow a longer lawn later! If your lawn has weeds, remember to apply a strong weed killer and treat accordingly.

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