Nobody likes a dry, brown lawn, yet knowing exactly when and how much to water your lawn is tricky at times.
Should you water before or after you mow your lawn?
How long should you wait before watering the grass?
Fortunately, we have all the answers to those questions here.
Mow your lawn while it’s dry early in the morning and then water it right afterward, but only if it needs the extra moisture. There’s no harm in watering after mowing otherwise. Never water before mowing, though, as the wet clippings will clog your mower and damage your lawn in the long term.
Read on to learn more about when to water your lawn in relation to when you mow, why it’s best to mow during a specific time, and how to tell if your lawn needs moisture.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure you have a bright green, beautiful lawn regardless of the weather or season.
Should You Water Grass After Mowing?
While it isn’t necessarily mandatory to always water after mowing your lawn, it’s undoubtedly a good idea to check if your yard needs moisture.
It’s also a good habit to get into to keep your lawn healthy, as your grass will often (but not always!) likely need some TLC after being cut!
After all, your lawnmower’s blades are very stressful on the structure of the individual grass blades and, by extension, the entirety of your yard itself.
After mowing, a good watering session is a great way to ensure your lawn continues growing at a healthy rate.
Non-dormant grass especially needs frequent watering after mowing, and it will need to be both mowed and watered more often than dormant grass.
Whether you use sprinklers or hand-water with a garden hose is mostly irrelevant if you don’t go underwater or overwater.
If you’re not sure how to check your lawn’s moisture level to determine when it needs to be watered, don’t fret! We’ll cover this more in detail soon, too.
Keep in mind you won’t always be able to schedule your waterings and mowings at around the same time, though, as the weather will play a significant role in how often each will be needed.
It’s good to make an effort to establish a regular schedule, but occasionally, your lawn will need more frequent watering than simply watering after mowing.
Sometimes, you won’t need to water it at all if there’s been heavy rain recently in your area.
In general, yes, it’s a good idea to water your lawn after mowing.
However, the specifics of how often you’ll water after mowing will depend on how much moisture your lawn needs, the time of day you mow, and, as we just touched on, what the weather is like in your area at the time.
The rules are a little different for watering grass seed.
Keep your seed from washing away by checking out our guide on how often to water grass seed.
How To Check Your Lawn’s Moisture Level
Now, we’ve established watering after mowing is an excellent habit to get into, but it’s essential to note your grass won’t always necessarily need the moisture after a mow.
You’ll need to know how to check how moist your lawn currently is to determine if you should go ahead and water once you’re finished mowing.
So, how do you do this, exactly?
Don’t worry; you won’t need any special tools or training or even any extra hands to help you properly gauge your lawn’s moisture level.
It’s as simple as something known as the “footprint test.”
If you walk across your grass (ideally with shoes on), you’ll notice sometimes you’ll be able to see your footprints if you turn around and look over where you’ve just walked.
If your footprints are clearly visible, your lawn is likely parched and needs more moisture.
This is because very dry and/or damaged grass tends to be more brittle and prone to breaking and bending more easily, thus clearly showing the imprint of your shoes as you walk over it.
When it’s dry, the grass isn’t as flexible or as able to quickly bounce back upright after you walk on it.
If you are able to clearly see your footprints as you walk across your freshly-mowed lawn, you are good to go ahead and water it, as long as it’s still relatively early in the day, ideally in the morning or at least before noon or so.
Remember, watering when your grass needs moisture is only part of the equation here!
You’ll also need to water at the right time of day to prevent your lawn from immediately drying out or, worse, developing all kinds of fungal issues because it didn’t have enough time to dry properly.
When Is The Best Time To Mow And Water Grass?
Next, you’ll need to understand when exactly you should mow and subsequently water your lawn.
Why is this so important, and why shouldn’t you just water after every single mow regardless of the time of day?
Well, depending on what time it is and what the weather is like in your area, watering your lawn after mowing will either benefit the grass and help it grow well or potentially end up damaging it significantly.
This is why it’s crucial to mow and water at the right time, so the moisture can adequately penetrate the grass and soil yet not simply sit on top of the grass and promote fungal growth due to overwatering.
Ideally, you should make every effort to mow as early in the day as possible, ideally during the morning hours, especially during the hottest times of the year.
Even if you’re watering after you mow, if you’re not cutting during an optimal time of day, the excess water will either immediately evaporate under the harsh sunlight and heat and be useless or be too much for your grass to absorb.
For example, you want to avoid mowing and watering late in the afternoon or evening, as you want to be sure the grass can fully dry before the sun sets.
If it can’t dry completely, you’ll end up simply overwatering your lawn and damaging it even further.
On the other hand, though, if you mow in the middle of the day while the sun is directly overhead, you risk the water evaporating before it even has a chance to soak into your lawn.
This is just as problematic as overwatering, as it will dry out your lawn regardless of how much you’re watering it during this particular time.
If you want to keep your grass green without watering (saving yourself some work), check out the tips at the link.
Morning Mowing And Watering
As a general rule of thumb, the best time of day to mow and water is early in the morning before the sun is shining directly over your lawn.
Mowing between the hours of around 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM is ideal. If, after cutting, you conduct a quick “footprint test” and determine your lawn needs the additional moisture, then go ahead and water it.
If you’re not sure if you’ve given it enough moisture, you’re always free to just do another footprint test to double-check!
Should You Water Grass Before Mowing?
You always want to water your grass after mowing rather than before!
There are many important reasons for this, which comes down to preventing damaging your pristine lawn.
Perhaps the most obvious reason why you should never water your grass before mowing is the wet grass will clog up your mower and generally be a pain to deal with.
Wet grass clippings are also very heavy and slippery, meaning you’re more prone to slip and fall any time you hop off the mower to remove a tree branch or a rock in your path.
This is also why it’s a good idea to check the weather before you mow.
Even if it’s not always 100% accurate, it’ll at least give you an idea of what to expect before you pull out your lawnmower.
Above all, you don’t want to be caught in a sudden storm or even moderate rains while mowing.
Plus, a wet lawn is a lot harder and more time-consuming to cut evenly than a dry lawn.
If you mow your yard while it’s still wet, certain blades will just get pushed down, resulting in a messy-looking lawn with grass of varying lengths.
Wet grass is also far more prone than dry grass to tearing and uneven breakage, making your lawn vulnerable to various types of fungal growth and turf diseases.
If the soil is soaked, too, it will become more compacted and hard as you push or ride your mower over it.
Finally, you won’t be able to simply leave wet grass cuttings in your yard to break down over time.
As we mentioned above, wet grass is very heavy.
This means the considerable grass clumps will end up suffocating the healthy grass lying under it, resulting in dehydrated grass and even more damage to your lawn as a whole.
Overall, mowing while your grass is wet or even damp will cause you a lot more trouble than it’s worth in the long run.
If you want to avoid dealing with messy, wet clumps of grass clogging and bogging down your yard and mower, stick to the schedule and moisture test we outlined above for best results.
And never, ever mow wet grass or water your lawn before mowing.