By Dr. Mario Villarino
According to Extension bulletin information (UM Extension), Extension often gets questions about mowing turf when it’s wet and whether or not is a problem for the turf.
This may be a problem more for your mower than for the turf. Some mowers may start to clog up when mowing wet turf, especially if the turf is a little taller than you’d like. Besides issues with the mower clogging, mowing wet turf will dull the mower blade quicker than if you are always mowing dry turf. To help avoid this, mow at the highest level available on your mower.
In addition to mower issues, and certainly more important in the long run, is the potential to compact the soil or do significant damage to the turf by turning or slipping of mower wheels when the soil is saturated. This, of course, is of greater concern for those using riding mowers or larger commercial mowing equipment than for a homeowner using a push-behind walk mower
I would advise you to wait on mowing until the puddles under your feet have subsided, otherwise, you may do more damage than good.
You may also notice that the turf in poorly drained areas or in areas where downspouts discharge may be turning yellow or brown. There are several reasons for the discoloration, but one of the main reasons is impairment of the root system.
It doesn’t take long once the soil is saturated for soil oxygen levels to decline and root hairs to begin to die. As the turf’s root system becomes impaired, nutrient extraction and water uptake will be limited, which causes the discoloration. Accumulation of water stops oxygenation of the turf root system, potentially causing its death.
For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected]