Mother Nature Is Out Of Control!
Yes, we know Mother Nature seems to be having some kind of break down and doesn’t know what to do with herself. Unfortunately we are stuck in the middle of this crisis and being left with a serious lack of sunshine, warmer days and dry ground.
This Spring’s weather has been affecting everyone. If you’re like me, the lack of sunny days really plays havoc and can cause some serious mood swings. Besides all these gloom and doom looking days, I am behind planting flowers and every inch the grass gets higher, so does my blood pressure.
Believe me; we are feeling your pain here at Walt’s as well. Spring is already our “crazy busy” season, but throw in all this rain and no nice days to dry it all out, there’s a whole new world of havoc going on.
I’m sure most people already know that mowing wet grass is highly NOT recommended. Not only is it not good for your grass, and leave you with an uneven, grass clumped lawn, it can also cause your mower all kinds of issues.
Unlike dry grass, wet grass will bend over from the weight of the rain. Because of this, it is difficult to get a straight cut and will be in a less than ideal mowing condition afterwards. The finished cut will probably not be at all what you are expecting or want. If you’re a lawn perfectionist, you might have to accept the grass’s unruliness for now and wait until it has a chance to sunbathe.
Wet Clumped Grass
For your mower, this becomes a problem as the grass clumps inside your mower cavity and all over your lawn, this in turn can lead to dead grass underneath the clumps if not raked or vacuumed straightway. Additionally, the chlorophyll in the grass is far more likely to stain when wet. Your body, your clothes, your driveway, and even your house might end up spotted with green from the clumped clippings. Finally, wet grass is sticky grass. The grass may stick to the underside of your mower or clog the motor.
While there is nothing we can do to help Mother Nature regain her composure, let alone force her to give us some much needed sunshine, there are some things you can do to help your lawn and your mower.
Some Tips To Help Through This Rainy Weather
1.) Cut it higher than you normally would. If you normally mow at 3.5 inches, cut wet grass a 4 inches, or higher, if necessary. Try to avoid excess clippings. Most grasses in the particularly damp areas of the country are cool-season types. These grasses grow best with a long leaf of 3 to 4 inches. Most homeowners, however, cut these grasses way too short, and that problem is magnified in damp mowing conditions. The mower can’t handle it. Move the mower deck up to the highest or the second-highest setting and leave it there.
2.) Cut half rows only; half the mower blade should be over a cut portion of the grass and half over the uncut portion so the blade has a limited amount of wet grass to push out the side of the mower.
3.) If you end up with a lot of “hay” (excess clippings) on your lawn be sure and remove them as soon as you can…rake, use a yard sweeper, or cut and bag them with the mower when it’s dry (or drier), piled up clippings suffocate healthy growth and can cause fungal disease in your turf. Damp grass clippings cling to the underside of a mower deck and form a soggy layer that quickly turns into a moldy mess. If your mower has a washout port, then by all means use it to clean the deck. But even after you’re done, scrape the deck clean with a putty knife, being particularly careful to clean the lip where the deck edge curls under. (The same goes for your string trimmer. Clean the debris shield every time you trim.)
4.) Shut off the mower periodically and wait for the blades to stop. Put on gloves and turn over the mower. Pull away any grass that is clumping on the inside of the mower casing or sticking to the blades. Clean the side-discharge vent until it is free of wet grass.
5.) Make sure your mower blade is sharp. A sharp blade produces a crisp, clean cut. This keeps the grass healthy and helps fight against disease in tender spring plants. It is predominantly important during damp mowing conditions, when the blade will have an inclination to shred rather than cut the grass. It also reduces drag on your engine
6.) Finally, mow ahead of schedule if you can. That’s right, if you know it’s going to rain on Wednesday you might want to mow a day or two earlier to get ahead of the weather and the extra growth. And mow more often if you can.
7.) When All Else Fails, Side-Discharge If conditions are really bad, side-discharge instead of bagging or mulching. Set the mower to the highest setting, put the side discharge in place, and mow. This leaves rows of clippings on the lawn, of course. You can cross-mow (mow at 90 degrees to the first mow) in mulching or bagging mode to take care of the clippings; you can rake them up, or you can let them dry for a couple of days and mow again, this time in mulching or bagging mode.
8.) Manage Fuel Be sure to buy no more fuel than you will use in two to three weeks. The ethanol in today’s gasoline has an affinity for moisture. Stabilizing the fuel and going through your fuel supply as rapidly impossible prevents fuel contamination.