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Which one wins?

 
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Okay,

Two (among the many) tenets of lawn mowing is not to cut more than 1/3 of the blade and not to mow when the grass is wet.  I run across this conflict a lot through the year, and it just happened to me a short time ago and brought up the question again:  If its been raining off and on and the grass is getting too long to wait for a dry day, what's a mower to do?

This last time I mowed while still wet.  Made a mess of me, my mower, and some "laid down" places in the grass.  Perhaps I even opened up some areas to disease...?

So which of these two rules should win in a conflict?
 
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I can't rightly comment on the long term effects. Our spring rainy season coincides with our dandelion bloom, and a growth spurt for the grass. I mowed the lawn 4 days in a row with it wet this year. I did this to keep the grass height in check, and take a whack at the dandies, which popped up new, huge crop of seeds each of those days. I bagged up their seed heads with the grass and am composting them. Now I had some areas of grass that laid down while it was wet due to my obsessive mowing. They all perked right back up in a couple of days. The trick for me was to mow often, and mow high. My four day streak was preceded by about 4-5 days of rest. The grass didn't really have a chance to get too tall. That kept me in the 1/3 rule. I sharpen my blade 2-3 times a year. That helps cut the wet grass instead of pulverizing it into a mush. I keep my mower set on the highest it will go. Dunno how high that is, never measured. Hope this helps.
 
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Both of these "rules" are more like .... optimizations. 

With a manual mower, I would mow when it is wet instead of waiting.  Just because when stuff gets too tall, the mower doesn't cut as well. 
 
jeremiah bailey
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With the standard mower, I'd mow it wet if you A. have a sharp blade, and B. haven't waited too long. I think the mowing a wet lawn is a bit of a myth. I think what happens is most people don't keep their blades sharp. Then there is a rainy streak, which started on the day they should have mowed. They didn't mow so it got too long, and was still rainy and wet. This leads to a panic mow which cuts off too much (more than 1/2 the blade,) with soggy grass.  I can see that combo (dull blade, too long, wet) clogging the mower and shredding the grass instead of cutting it. Which I've been guilty of. Now I mow when it needs it, rain or shine. I've noticed the mower doesn't get clogged and matted up and the grass doesn't complain either. I agree with Paul that the reel mower is better. They clip the grass instead of taking a whack at it. A sharp blade on a standard definitely helps, but still doesn't approach that of a reel. If this mower breaks, I may be able to talk Katie into letting me buy one. Until then, I'll just make do with what I got. Besides, I like the exercise of pushing that heavy engine around.
 
paul wheaton
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This might be a good time to point out:  waiting is lazier.  Maybe I would go for waiting. 
 
jeremiah bailey
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Good point. Although when I wait, I tend to get overly enthusiastic in my waiting. Then the grass gets to the point where even on the highest setting it gets clogged, dry. There is a point when one can be too lazy. I for some reason abhor this point and tend to stay as far in either direction as possible.
 
Jeremy Bunag
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Well I've been on all sides of this coin, including the edge! 

Where I'm at now is that I mow probably when it's too long and still a little moist if I have a window and don't see it getting any drier in the next day or two (taking the hopeful lazy until it's just too long).  When I get even lazier (and it gets longer) then that I'll switch to side discharge so I don't create grass mulch mats.

Rain's great, until it doesn't stop!
 
jeremiah bailey
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Tell me about it. My area is a clay pot, and my yard is the basin.
 
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