Amidst the gorgeous chorus of golden leaves silently cascading to the ground, a common lament echoes throughout the suburbs: Can you mow wet leaves? The answer: Much like life itself, it is complicated. As with any chore, if not done cautiously, one risks potential chaos and collateral damage.
Can You Mow Wet Leaves?
The answer is yes, you can mow wet leaves, but there are some precautions to take. Wet leaves can cause problems such as clogging the lawnmower and making it harder to pick up the leaves.
It is generally better to mow over dry leaves, but if you have no other option, there are some things you can do to make mowing wet leaves easier. One solution is to raise the height of the mower deck to prevent the leaves from getting stuck and clogging the blades. Another solution is to use a mulching mower to chop the leaves into smaller pieces, which will make them easier to pick up.
If you are dealing with a large amount of wet leaves, it may be better to rake them up and dispose of them in a compost pile or city yard waste bin.
If you have a small amount of wet leaves, mowing them can be an effective way to turn them into mulch for your lawn. In the next sections, we will explore the best ways to mow wet leaves and some precautions to take to prevent damage to your lawnmower.
Why Mowing Wet Leaves Can Be Tricky
Mowing wet leaves can be a tricky task for any gardener. Wet leaves can cause several problems that can make the mowing process more challenging and time-consuming. Here are some reasons why mowing wet leaves can be tricky:
Wet leaves can be slippery, making it difficult to walk on them. This can be dangerous for the person mowing the lawn, as they may slip and fall. It is essential to wear appropriate footwear with good traction when mowing wet leaves.
Wet leaves can cause the mower to clog up, which can be frustrating for the gardener.
The wet leaves can stick to the underside of the mower deck, clogging the discharge chute and preventing the mower from working correctly.
This can result in the gardener having to stop and clean the mower frequently, which can be time-consuming.
Wet leaves are heavier than dry leaves, which can make them more difficult to mow. The weight of the wet leaves can put extra strain on the mower’s engine, making it work harder than it needs to.
This can cause the mower to overheat and break down, which can be costly to repair.
Read Also: Can You Put Mix Gas In a Lawn Mower?
Preparation Before Mowing Wet Leaves
Mowing wet leaves can be a time-saving solution for yard cleanup, but it requires proper preparation to ensure safety and efficiency. Here are some essential steps to take before mowing wet leaves:
Check for Clogs
Wet leaves can easily clog up the mower’s deck, causing the blades to stop spinning. Before mowing, check the deck for any debris or clogs, and clear them out using a stick or a hose.
Sharpen Mower Blades
Dull mower blades can tear the leaves instead of cutting them, leading to an uneven and messy lawn. Sharpen the blades before mowing to ensure a clean cut and healthy grass.
Use a Rake or Leaf Rake
To make the mowing process smoother, use a rake or leaf rake to gather the leaves into a pile. This will prevent the mower from getting bogged down and help you avoid running over any hidden obstacles.
Check the Yard
Inspect the yard for any potential hazards before mowing, such as rocks, sticks, or uneven terrain. Wet leaves can also make the ground slippery, so wear appropriate shoes with good traction.
Adjust Mower Height
Set the mower height according to the thickness of the leaves. If the leaves are too thick, raise the mower height to prevent clogging and ensure a clean cut.
Mow in Dry Conditions
While it may be tempting to mow wet leaves right after a rain, it’s best to wait until the leaves have dried out a bit. Wet leaves can stick to the blades and cause clumping, leading to an uneven lawn.
Dispose of the Leaves
After mowing, dispose of the leaves properly. Wet leaves can quickly turn into a slimy mess, so it’s best to bag them up and dispose of them in the trash or compost them.
Proper Techniques to Mow Wet Leaves
Mowing wet leaves can be a challenging task, but it can be done if you follow proper techniques. Here are some guidelines to help you mow wet leaves effectively:
- Mow Frequently: It is best to mow wet leaves frequently, instead of waiting for them to pile up. This will prevent the leaves from getting too thick and heavy, which can clog up your mower.
- Use a Mulching Mower: A mulching mower is designed to chop up leaves into small pieces, which can then be left on the lawn as mulch. This is a great way to recycle the leaves and add nutrients to the soil.
- Mulching Leaves: Mulching leaves is an effective way to get rid of wet leaves. Mulching leaves can be done by mowing over them with a mulching mower, or by using a leaf blower to blow the leaves into a pile and then mulching them with a lawn mower.
- Grass Clippings: If you decide to mulch the leaves, it is important to mix them with grass clippings. This will help to balance the carbon and nitrogen levels in the mulch, which will help it to decompose properly.
- Bagging: If you don’t want to mulch the leaves, you can bag them up and dispose of them. It is important to use bags that are designed to hold wet leaves, as regular bags can break and leak.
- Bag Wet Leaves: Bagging wet leaves can be a messy and difficult task. It is important to wear gloves and use a rake or leaf blower to gather the leaves into a pile before bagging them.
Potential Issues with Wet Leaves
Mowing wet leaves can cause several problems for both the lawn and the mower. Here are some potential issues that may arise:
Wet leaves tend to clump together, making it difficult for the mower to cut them evenly.
This can lead to uneven patches on the lawn and an unsightly appearance. Clumps of wet leaves can also clog the mower deck, causing it to stall or stop working altogether.
Matted Down Leaves
When wet leaves are left on the lawn for an extended period, they can become matted down and create a thick layer that suffocates the grass.
This can prevent the grass from getting the necessary sunlight and air, leading to dead patches on the lawn.
Wet leaves can encourage the growth of fungus, which can spread to the grass and cause disease. This can lead to brown patches on the lawn and an unsightly appearance.
Wet leaves from oak trees can be particularly problematic. They contain high levels of tannic acid, which can be harmful to the grass and soil. If left on the lawn for an extended period, they can also create a thick layer that suffocates the grass.
Fall leaves are often wet due to rain and morning dew. While it is possible to mow wet fall leaves, it is important to do so carefully to avoid clumping and other issues.
Wet leaves can provide a habitat for mice and other small animals. This can lead to an infestation and damage to the lawn and surrounding areas.
Mowing wet leaves can also cause problems with neighbors. Wet leaves can be blown onto their property, causing issues with cleanliness and appearance. It is important to be mindful of the direction of the wind and take steps to prevent leaves from blowing onto neighboring properties.
In conclusion, mowing wet leaves is possible but not recommended. Wet leaves can cause problems such as clogging the lawnmower and making it difficult for the blades to reach and mulch them.
If you need to mow wet leaves, it is best to rake them first to bring them to the surface.
Alternatively, you can wait for the leaves to dry before mowing. Mulching wet leaves is also possible, but excess leaves can get caught in the mower and cause rust. Overall, it is important to consider the condition of the leaves and the potential problems before mowing them, and to take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and efficient mowing experience.