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Avoiding Mechanical Garden Work in the Rain

by E M

posted in Home Improvement

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Professional farmers and the like often can't afford to be too choosy about what jobs they do irrespective of the weather at the time.
If something has to be done, then it often needs to be done 'then' - "come rain or shine". It's also worth remembering that farmers are professionals and do these jobs day in, day out.
For the domestic gardener though, things are different. There are a number of very good reasons why it would be advisable to park jobs on your land or in the garden when it's raining, if those activities require machinery.
  • Whatever modern safety devices are built into electrical machinery, by and large electrically-driven agricultural machinery, used in the rain, is a potentially dangerous situation. It's really worth avoiding.

  • Mowers and tractors also need to be considered carefully. The ground can become very slippery, very quickly, when it rains. Slipping over on wet grass while using power tools or a mower, can be very dangerous even if you have cut-out switches in place etc. Even heavier duty tractors and mowers can be a challenge at times when the ground is wet, particularly if it is uneven and there are inclines to negotiate. As an aside, mowing wet grass is usually considered a bad idea as it just sticks to everything and clogs up the mower.

  • Another related weather risk to watch out for is high wind whether with or without rain. Perching at the top of a ladder trying to prune high branches with a chainsaw is an accident waiting to happen.

  • If it's raining heavily, people are often inclined to put on some form of waterproof clothing. That adds bulk to your frame and possible loose and baggier materials that will be ideal for getting caught in moving parts.

The moral of the tale is to park your machinery up until the rain and winds have passed.
Of course, there are plenty of gardening jobs you can get on with in poor weather. Things like light hand pruning, weeding, minor construction or renovation jobs on fencing - they're all possible. Likewise for patching up the externals of garden sheds etc.
Remember though that digging is likely to be hard work in the rain, as the soil can rapidly become waterlogged and sticky as well as a lot heavier due to the water content. Planting out might or might not be OK. Some plants will relish a mildly damper soil as their roots become established but if the ground is really waterlogged after or during a torrent, those same plants might object.
Sometimes it can be frustrating when we've planned a good gardening session for some of our rare free time on say a Sunday, only to find that's just when the rain decides to roll in.
About the Author: Just take it as it comes though because you don't have much alternative! Have some reserve garden jobs lined up (there are always plenty) and leave the agricultural machinery in your shed or barn.
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