Should you water your lawn after mowing? Lawn care experts offer their tips on this watering dilemma

Getting your mowing and watering schedule right is key for a healthy lawn

watering the lawn with a sprinkler
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s a familiar dilemma that many of us faithfully follow, but have you ever stopped to think whether you should water your lawn after mowing? Is there any real value in doing this? Will it boost or damage your grass?

Delving into the reasons behind this routine and knowing a little more about the conditions in which grass grows can help. According to lawn care experts, whether you are cultivating cool or warm season grasses the basic principles remain. Success often lies in both recognizing the signs as to when water is needed as well as getting the timing right.

So, brush up on your lawn care know-how by following these useful tips from the experts.

lawn sprinkler watering a lawn

Watering at the optimum time is key to seeing the most benefits

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Should you water your lawn after mowing?

You may think that choosing the best time to water the lawn is really a matter of personal preference and convenience, but there are some horticulturally sound reasons as to when and why this is not always the case. 

‘It's not necessary to water your grass after you mow the lawn,’ says Eric DeBoer, Agronomist at Simple Lawn Solutions. ‘If, however, your lawn has been stressed from heat and drought and you absolutely had to cut the grass in hot weather, giving it a good drink that evening or the following morning would not be a bad idea.’

Gene Caballero, co-founder of lawn care specialists Green Pal, agrees and offers this insight into the practise. ‘Watering your lawn after mowing isn't typically necessary or beneficial, and it can actually hinder the effectiveness of your watering schedule. When you water immediately after mowing, the grass is already stressed from the cut and the additional water can lead to a shallow root system.’ Far from ideal, this means that each plant struggles to find sufficient amounts of water during dry spells which can quickly lead it to desiccate and eventually die. 

‘Instead, the ideal time to water your lawn is early in the morning, before the heat of the day sets in,’ continues Gene. ‘This allows the water to soak deep into the soil and reach the roots of the grass without too much of it being lost to evaporation.’

So, what is the secret to growing a green and thick lawn and keeping it in good shape too? Well, it seems to partly lie in good forward planning. ‘If you can, plan your mowing schedule so it doesn't interfere with your watering,' says Gene. 'Perhaps get the lawn mower out in the late afternoon or early evening, after the heat of the day has passed but while there's still some light left. Then, the grass has overnight to recover before your morning watering session. This way, your lawn gets the full benefits of both proper mowing and effective watering.’

lawn mower on a lawn

Try to plan your mowing schedule for a different day to your watering one

(Image credit: Wildroze/Getty Images)

Timing rules for watering after mowing

Getting the timing right for any lawn care task can make a huge difference to the results. This is partly due to the unique role of turf grass in the garden. Covering a vast and often high-traffic area and with plants packed closely together, often in the glare of the sun, the lawn takes more than its fair share of stress. Even if you follow the guidelines for how often to mow a lawn, regular cutting adds more to the lawn’s woes, so when it comes to being kind to your lawn is there anything you can do to ease the strain? 

Many experts suggest that good timing is everything and Bryan Clayton, founder of GreenPal offers this insight. ‘The best time to water is early in the morning when conditions help to minimize evaporation. If you do water after mowing, it's still crucial to do it early enough in the day.’

Make lawn watering easy with these handy helpers


How can you tell if a cut lawn needs watering?

Knowing whether or not to water the grass can be tricky but there is one tell-tale sign to look for. ‘You can water a lawn after it has been mowed, but only if the lawn needs it,' says Stacie Smith, owner of landscape specialists Smithson Exteriors. 'A good tip is to walk across a small section of the lawn, if you look back and can see your footprints, the lawn needs to be watered.’ 

Keeping your lawn looking its best is all about implementing a good care routine and giving your grass what it needs to thrive year round. 

While watering has its benefits, it's important to do it at the right time to ensure it has the best effect. And if you have already watered your lawn, it's advisable to think carefully before you consider mowing wet grass as this can be both dangerous and harmful to your lawn.

Jill Morgan
Contributing Editor

Jill Morgan has spent the last 20 years writing for Interior and Gardening magazines both in print and online. Titles she has been lucky enough to work on include House Beautiful, The English

Home, Ideal Home, Modern Gardens and Although much of her career has involved commissioning and writing about reader homes and home improvement projects, her

everlasting passion is for gardens and outdoor living, which is what she writes about for Homes & Gardens.