Cutting wet grass is an exercise in patience. For much of the year, your garden is constantly growing regardless of whether conditions favour its maintenance. In a perfect world, grass would grow at a steady pace every day, and there would be set times to cut the grass during which all of the many variables that come into play align perfectly. But we know that’s not how it works. The grass will grow slowly and then rapidly, it can go from manageable to a headache in the blink of an eye. How does that happen? An abundance of all the things we want to see as gardeners — bright sunshine, abundant rain and favourable temperatures. But sometimes, we suffer an embarrassment of riches and we have to process the result of having too much of a good thing.
For many of us living in the UK, we know that means rain. So. Much. Rain. And that’s when the patient gardener within us is tested as the grass surges in height and thickness while the conditions for mowing remain perilous at best. Anyone who has had to mow in the rain has experienced that moment when, after travelling only a few feet, the mower bogs down and stops as the wet grass clumps together, clings to the undercarriage and physically stops the lawnmower’s blades from turning. Once that happens, you’re going to be digging out clumps of grass that stain your hands and your clothes green every few feet until your garden is mowed — and not looking its best for the effort.
The best advice for mowing when dealing with wet grass is simply to wait until it is dry. Even if you have to go over the grass twice, it’s so much easier to tend to the extra clippings of slightly taller grass than risking life and limb unclogging a mower. If you simply can’t wait until the conditions are more favourable, there are a few things you can do to limit the headache. The first is to set your mower to cut the grass at a high level. It may not be as short as you want, but wet grass is thick and messy and this is exponentially truer the shorter you try to cut it. This will buy you the time you need to mow again when conditions are favourable.
The second piece of advice is to not mow in the morning. Grass that’s already wet will be exacerbated by the collection of morning dew. What’s more, you’ll likely want to wait until the afternoon before attempting to mow, especially if the grass is thick. The sun will dry the dew by midmorning and it’ll feel dry if you touch the top of the grass, but it can still be soaking wet beneath the tips of the blades themselves. Give the grass every opportunity to dry as much as possible, set your mower level to high and go slowly. Give your mower the time to clear any debris as it gathers to avoid being bogged down.
Being a patient gardener will help you make the best of the unfavourable task of cutting wet grass.
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