techniques for mowing wet grass

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tacoma200, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,427

    What are some techniques that you use in wet, damp, or lush grass to avoid clumps, windrows, or basically a less than ideal look to the lawn. I know that cutting a second time at say a higher level can help break up clumps, clippings, etc. All these company's coming out with the new decks mainly for this reason and most are having only marginal luck. Lets talk about blade lift, rpm's, cutting height, etc for the average mower that helps in these conditions. My Lazer has so much lift that I often cut wet grass at partial throttle and it does a pretty good job. Using a medium lift blade during wet conditions instead of the notched high lifts may give the same result. I've been having pretty good luck just mowing at normal height and then hitting it again at 1/2" higher. I know alot of you are going to say you mow 2 ft tall wet grass and never have clippings (I'm not talking to you) so I'm interested in talking to those that mow relatively tall 6-8" wet, lush grass and have some problems with clippings or small clumps.
     
  2. MJM landscaping

    MJM landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 157

    The only thing that I think works is to double cut at a different angle. For smaller lawns a buddy of mine likes to walk through with a back back blower before he mows to try and dry or blow after to disperse the clumps. Wet grass sux.
     
  3. metro36

    metro36 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,411

    This is how I mow wet grass...
    • Go Slow
    • Be careful on turns
    • Dont bag
    • Double Cut
     
  4. noseha

    noseha LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Posts: 554

    If It's Lush Grass And A Problem For Two Weeks In A Row. I Will Do One Of Two Things . 1. Mow Every Three Days Or 2. Bag It. I Don't Like To Bag It And I Don't Mow Wet Tall Grass Unless The Client Is Willing To Pay Double Per Cutpayup
     
  5. Idealtim

    Idealtim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 939

    metro36 has the right idea.
     
  6. corey1977

    corey1977 LawnSite Senior Member
    from maine
    Posts: 262

    I have a bungee cord to keep my shoot up to prvent windrows
     
  7. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    slow down
    use doubles
    use meg mo blades

    disperse with the blower

    mow first
    then edge and trim
    then double cut drier clippings to disperse But only insevere cases.
     
  8. prostriper

    prostriper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 336

    I use a gator for my discharge blade and blow around what clumps are left with the backpack. There are some instances I double cut but I can get away with out doing it most of the time.
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Ok all of the above tricks work great for the mid-range tall grass that is not too bad. Then there comes a time such as now when it rained for a week straight and now it is warm and EVERYBODY's lawn needs cutting and I can do 6-7 a day and I have 46 of them that all needed to be done wednesday.

    So I pull up to the lawn that's about a foot tall and going to seed and yes you know I am feeling the love because I don't charge extra unless the customer delays me on purpose (like when they call to tell me it does not need cutting when it really does and crap like that), so since I win some and lose some, this is the time to suck it up and lose LOL.

    So: Flip the stupid chute guard up on top of the deck (or remove it) so the grass can shoot OUT of that side discharge. Then, make 3 perimeter runs (circle the lot starting from the outside and make 3 complete loops) with the chute facing IN (towards center of lawn). Once that is done, turn around and face the chute OUT (towards the neighbors lol) and continue racetracking inwards until you have cut it once over and the entire yard should be one BIG mess.

    Now, this takes some tricky driving but basically you start over and do one or two perimeter runs to shoot the clippings away from the borders, then:
    You need to run the Wb so that you herd the clippings into piles, so riding in circles you make 2-3 or 4-6 or however many piles as you need to make (with the chute facing in, you will continue to shoot the clippings out so if you ride in a clockwise circle, you will have a pile in the center)... Put as much grass as you can get into each pile but don't make the piles too wide. HEIGHT is ok, you can make the piles as tall as you can get but width will skru you (as you will see). Yes, the fewer piles you HAVE to make, the better.

    Once you have your piles all in the yard, turn the Wb off someplace and go grab the 6x8 dernier tarp and a leaf rake. Now drop the tarp in front of the first pile (pick any one) and first use the rake to get the pile as small a circle as you can, then spread the tarp in front of it. Stand spread-eagle with both your feet on the edge of the tarp to hold it down and with the rake pull the clippings through the space between your legs onto the tarp (rake the clippings onto the tarp). Depending on the size of your piles you may get two piles onto the tarp but remember it will get heavy (once you do this a few times you will learn how big a pile is too big LOL). Then, once the first pile is on the tarp, carry it and dump it either someplace where it is ok in their yard or in the trailer, and do this with every pile until you are done.

    Once you are done put the rake + tarp away and start the Wb and ride over those spots again to blow out the little that is left.
    Then, weedeat and blow down, whatever.

    I did two side-by-side 1/3 acre lots this way today, 1 foot tall thick crabgrass wet and mushy and OMG I almost wanted to cry brother.
    7 piles and 2 hours later, I was done! You can NOT do it faster bagging, you can not make it look neat any other way, sux but do it right and do it this way... It's hard work but it is fast and effective and you will feel relief and you will be going 'hell yeah this trick RULES' after you are done wiping sweat off your forehead LOL.

    One day I will take pictures to make a better tutorial.
     
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Here are some other tricks (this keeps me from having to make piles sometimes):

    - Depending on the customer you can do this but if it's a class-A lawn, probably not -

    Anyway, if they have wooded areas I also use the side discharge again to herd the clippings and blow them into the woods. Two but really 3 side-by-side runs parallel to the woods shoots all that right off the lawn, never have to worry about that bunch of grass. You may have to run back and forth a few more times, you may run over those 3 paths a couple times each but hey, the clippings are off the lawn!
    With a bush (like those big ones that drop their cover almost to the ground and you almost can't see underneath), 3 runs around the bush (each one beside the other so 3 circles) with the chute facing the bush and BLAM you just pushed a slew of clippings under that bush and again you need to be neat and make sure it's not really obvious or bad looking, sometimes trees have 'islands' of dirt around them, this is another good place to shoot clippings is around the base of such trees (and again not all customers are cool with this, use your better judgement).

    And yes, the blower helps also to disperse some of the stuff afterwards, but it doesn't work with deep stuff.
     

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