To mow in the rain or not can be a very challenging topic. In 2018 we saw record rainfall in most parts of Oklahoma. Homeowners, lawn & landscape professionals and other outdoor service professionals alike continually battled the conditions to keep services up. This post was inspired by a season of rain and one specific neighbors lawn.
I was called out after this situation in October of 2018. My neighbors previous mowing service had mowed after several inches of rain had fallen and probably while it was raining. They had left tracks all over the lawn. This isn’t uncommon but can be avoided.
I just drove by a couple days ago (late January of 2019) to see if some of the winter precipitation has help it bounce back and it simply hasn’t. The picture below with tracks is what it looks like today.
The type of soil?
Sandy, Clay, Clay-loam, Silt
How saturated the ground?
As you walk over the ground is it spongy.
If it is spongy, how quickly does it bounce back?
2 days or 1 hour.
What type of mower do you plan to use?
Standard 21” Residential Push mower, 30” Commercial Push Mower, Variation of ZTR Mower.
The good part about rainy weather is usually grass does not grow fast during this time unless the fall is brief to moderate and then the sun comes out. A well watered lawn and direct sunlight can produce tremendous growth. However, if it has been 8-12 days or more since you have mowed and you missed your chance to get it done before the rain you might be in for a long haul especially after a heavy rain for a day or 2. This is one reason we recommend weekly mowing throughout the season. You will have less chances of going 14-25 days between mows.
If you do find yourself in the position where it is raining & the ground is spongy, be weary of mowing too soon, in fact I recommend holding off. Your mower can leave tracks in your lawn for longer than you expect. You also can tear up lawn space. If it is necessary to mow then ensure your blades are sharp and consider using a side discharge chute for your clippings.
If you do choose to wait until after the ground surface & turf canopy has dried up and the grass is longer than normal, consider taking your lawn height back down to the normal height over 2-3 mows instead of one big chop.
If there is a light rain outside and the ground is still firm then absolutely take a stab and squeeze a mow in before conditions decline. In the future, you may want to consider weekly mowing to avoid the 18 plus days in between biweekly mowing when heavy rain conditions arise for 2-3 days delaying for 7-10 days. If the timing is right and you typically mow biweekly and the rain hits you can easily get 1 mow for that month which is no way to treat your lawn, your equipment, yourself or your lawn service & their equipment.