It may be tempting to water the lawn once cut to upkeep your grass to looking its best, but scheduling it to the right time is needed to avoid potential problems which can spoil your grass and could be hard to recover once the damage is done.
So when is the right time to water the grass after mowing the lawn and should you?
We will also look at the reasons why watering the lawn at the right time is important and whether it is ok to mow a wet lawn.
Should you water your lawn after mowing?
Watering the lawn is safe to do once you have mowed your lawn and is good practice to do this to keep the grass healthy. However various factors are important to keep in mind for when you do want to water the lawn after cutting. The key things to think about are the amount of water your grass needs (to avoid overwatering), scheduling (day or night?) and what could happen if you don’t water your grass correctly.
How much to water
To determine how much water should be provided to the lawn is difficult to judge as it depends on a variety of factors. First of all, if possible, find out what type of grass your lawn is. Whether this is fescue, Bermuda or rye to name a few, it will require a specific amount of water in its watering schedule to keep it in top condition. But generally speaking for most grass types, as long as the soil is soaked to at least 10cm (4 inches) of water, this will be sufficient to give the grass roots the water it needs.
If you own a sprinkler, read the manual to set the time you need it on to sufficiently water the lawn. If you only have a hose, water as normal. After around 3 minutes wait a few minutes to allow the water to soak into the grass. You can check if you have watered enough by sticking a wooden dowel or chopstick into the soil. If the dowel/stick is damp to the required depth (10cm/4 inches) the lawn is sufficiently watered.
When not to water
Watering the lawn at the right time is just as important as watering your lawn at all. If you had cut your lawn midday or afternoon when the weather is at its hottest – Don’t water the lawn as it will just evaporate and would most likely be wasted. So you may think to water the lawn when it is cooler during the late afternoon or night time? But this is something you shouldn’t do. Watering the grass at this time may cause fungal, mould or mildew problems as the lawn is now essentially ‘too’ wet as any excess water that hasn’t soaked into the soil cannot evaporate.
Also if notice after you have cut the grass and there are no footprints, avoid watering for now (healthy and well-watered grass will spring back). If you were to water now, it can encourage shallow rooting making the grass more susceptible to damage from droughts or floods.
What to be aware of
Try to be aware if your grass is already well watered or not post cut. If the soil is moist at 10cm (4 inch) depth already, you can leave the watering to the next day or the day after, an easy way to check is to put a wooden dowel or chopstick into the soil and leave it in for around 30 seconds (Alternatively you could purchase a moisture meter to check the water content and water your grass accordingly until the sufficient levels are met). When it’s pulled out ,soil should stick and the dowel/stick will be damp and dark, watering can wait for another day (weather dependant). If the dowel/stick is soaked through, this is a clear sign your grass is being over watered and you should adjust the amount of time you or your sprinkler is watering the grass.
Also, be wary of cutting your grass too short (known as scalping) which can happen from time to time. If this happens, it is important as part of the grass recovery to water it gently and deeply (weather dependant) as the soil will dry out much more quickly over the next week or two to allow the grass to grow back as normal.
How soon after mowing the lawn should I water it
You now should know that watering the lawn is important after mowing but it is also important to schedule the watering process at the correct time and this may mean changing the time you cut your grass in the day.
As mentioned previously it is important to schedule, depending on the day’s weather you may have to schedule your lawn mowing in accordance to the weather. Generally, we all cut our grass mid-afternoon during the hottest time of the day and then proceed to water the grass immediately after finishing. However your grass will not benefit from the water as the water is likely to just be evaporated before the soil can soak it in.
It is best if you could mow the lawn early in the morning, preferably before 11am on a hot day and then water it immediately afterwards, this would give your soil time to soak in the moisture and allow the grass to intake it before it gets evaporated in the heat later on in the day. Alternatively, you can mow the grass the day before and water the lawn the day after early in the morning (weather permitting as you don’t want to over water).
If you fertilise your lawn, do this after you have mowed. It will take a few days for the grass to absorb before the next cut, so plan in advance when you fertilize as heavy rainfall will likely wash it away before being absorbed and reaping the benefits.
Is it better to water your lawn before or after mowing?
It is advised to water your lawn after mowing. When the grass is dry, it will make a clean cut. If the grass is wet, the mower will likely tear the grass instead. Not only would this make the lawn look uneven, it gives a chance for fungus to grow. Additionally, if you mow on a damp lawn, from the weight of yourself and the lawnmower, it may cause soil compaction. This can prevent any essential water and oxygen from reaching the grass roots to grow healthily in the future no matter how much you water.
Is it ok to mow a wet lawn?
There is no right or wrong answer, if do cut a wet lawn your lawn may encounter the issues as previously mentioned, so it is advisable to not mow a wet lawn.
However if you do choose to cut a wet lawn, it is important to make sure the following points are followed to give you the best chance for well-cut lawn:
- Sharp cutting blade, this may help cut the grass more cleanly.
- Make sure the air inlets and filters of the mower are clear, as it will be working much harder to cut the grass.