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Mowing very long grass, this is the best method

Dealing with long grass can be a tricky process. It is not as simple as pushing a lawnmower over it, as it might damage your lawn and the mower. When you mow very long grass, the mower can get clogged or overheated. Mowing long grass can also tear the grass instead of cutting it, which affects the lawn’s overall health.

Mowing very long grass, this is the best method:

Mowing very long grass requires more effort and patience. First, trim it to a manageable height with a brush cutter or string trimmer before cutting it with a lawnmower. Allow the grass to recover for a few days. Once your lawn is at the right height, you can finally mow the grass in your lawn with your lawnmower at its highest setting. Cut very long grass at a slower pace to ensure less stress and a healthy lawn. It might be tempting to go full throttle with your lawnmower, but it will not lead to a healthy lawn.

This article will provide you how to cut your overgrown grass. It will also provide you a step-by-step guide to mow very long grass without damaging your lawn and lawnmower.

Problems with long grass

Before discussing the steps to mow long grass, let’s look at the problems that arise when the grass is kept too long. Tallgrass is unattractive as its blades grow with arbitrary and irregular heights, adding to your lawn’s inconsistent appearance. It is also not advisable as it makes it difficult for the grass to hold itself up, and if it drops on the surrounding grass, it can suffocate it. If the grass is long and you use it for your kids or other activities, it takes more time to dry.

Long grass also traps moisture in the lower areas, making the lawn more prone to fungus and other diseases. This makes the grass grow unevenly, and your lawn may look rough. Moreover, there is also a high chance that the grass may turn yellow or brown.

Not mowing for a long time may cause the grass to go to seeds where its blades look more like weeds than grass. Long grass may overwhelm your mower and dull your mower’s blades faster. Clippings left behind after mowing the longer grass are also longer. The amount of clippings is higher and difficult to manage. Often you will need to rake it.

Longer grass clippings often sit on the top of the lawn and are difficult to remove. Moreover, longer clipping blocks the sunlight to the turfgrass, which affects its health. During regular mowing, the short clippings easily fall on the ground, where they decompose and add nutrients to the soil.

What happens when long grass is mowed too short at once?

It is recommended to cut your overgrown lawn in steps. Cutting in a single attempt may cause damage to your lawn. Mowing too much at once makes your lawn more vulnerable to weather stress, weeds, and diseases. Cutting the grass too short also inhibits root growth.

When grass is mowed too short, the leaves’ surface area is reduced. This is where the grass makes food and relies on it for the roots to grow. If too short, it will weaken the roots, and they are less able to endure rain and drought. Shallow roots require more water and make it difficult for the grass to maintaining moisture. A grass mowed too low has fewer leaves available for photosynthesis, which damages the grass.

Mowing the long grass too short exposes the turf to direct heat which causes it to dry quickly, especially in summers. Therefore, extra care is needed for the lawn by watering it frequently to protect it from drought. Moreover, grass cut too short struggles to fight the intruders and succumb to diseases, weeds, and pests.

Cutting extra-long grass, step by step:

You will always need a bit more patience while handling overgrown grass than a lawn that is maintained properly. It is a bit more challenging to get the lawn into a perfect shape after not mowing it for so long.

Commercial lawn companies have the equipment to deal with such lawns, but it can be costly to hire them for this job. Moreover, you might have to wait for a long time to schedule your appointment with these professional companies.

Let’s have a look at the tools required to cut long grass:

  1. Lawn Mower    
  2. Depending on the height: String trimmer, sickle, scythe, or a brush cutter 
  3. Broad fork          
  4. Sand     
  5. Lawn fertilizer
  6. Working gloves
  7. Safety goggles  
  8. Scarifying rake

Following these basic steps will help you to mow very long grass without damaging your lawn.

● Step 1: Removing the top layer of the grass

The first step depends on the starting height of the grass. If the grass is very high, it will be a problem to mow it with your lawnmower. It will cause your mower to clog up and likely will stall and shut down or may get overheated. Mowing long grass straight away with your mower can cause damage to your mower as well as to your lawn. So, try to avoid using the mower to cut very long grass.

In case the grass is very long, it is advisable first to use a brush cutter, trimmer, or scythe to reduce the grass to a more manageable height. Only after that use your lawnmower. Depending on your garden’s size, you can either use a brush cutter, string trimmer, or sickle if you don’t have access to a scythe. These tools will help you reduce the long grass to a reasonable height and make your lawnmower work much more manageable. However, remember that the string trimmers and sickle tend to tear the grass a lot, and the grass may get caught up in the tool.

It is recommended to take off a small section at a time and then remove the waste. Once you have removed the top layer, it is recommended to water your lawn and leave it to that height for some time to recover during that time.

If you do not have the equipment first to cut the grass to a more manageable height, you can try to use your lawnmower for this. Set it to the highest setting and cut with only a small part of the mowing deck. It means that most of the deck moves over an already cut area, and only a small part will move over the long grass. It means you will have to go around much more often.

● Step 2: Second Trim

Once you have left the lawn to recover from the first trim for a week or so, it is time for a second cut. It is not recommended to trim your grass sooner than around one week after the initial trim. You should now have a lawn that is short enough to mow with a lawnmower at this time.

For most of the lawnmowers, the typical highest setting is 4 inches. If your grass is still taller than 6 to 7 inches after the first trim, it is best to trim it again with a grass trimmer before using your lawnmower. If your grass is short enough to be mowed by a lawnmower, there is no need to trim it again.

Set your mower to the highest settings before you start mowing. This will reduce the stress on your lawn and prevent it from damaging. You must make sure that everything is even. Mow the long grass with a sharp blade so that your mower doesn’t damage the grass blades.  Keep this reality in mind that after you have finished mowing it, your lawn may look terrible and dreadful but don’t worry about that. It will take some time to improve.

If you are dealing with a very rough patch of lawn or a very large lawn, it is recommended to use a gas mower. But if your lawn is small, an electric mower is the best as it works well in tricky areas.

● Step 3: Scarifying the lawn

Once you are finished with the mowing, the next step is to scarify or score your lawn. This step also requires a lot of effort. Rake the lawn one meter at a time. Try to get all the weeds and moss off the lawn. You can hire a machine for this job if you have a large area to cover.

● Step 4: Dealing with the drainage

The areas in your lawn that are persistently wet must be prodded with a fork and then must be filled with sand to fill the holes in the lawn and create drainage.

● Step 5: Feeding the lawn

You should feed your lawn after the above steps as the grass has gone through a lot of stress. It requires nutrients. Fertilizing your lawn is important as fertilizers supply nitrogen and nutrients, which helps it to remain green. Lawn fertilization also helps the grass to grow thick and healthy. A lawn with thick and healthy growth of grass creates a natural resistance against weeds. Fertilizers enrich the soil with the necessary nutrients that it lacks and make the grass grow faster, healthy and strong.

Usually, fertilizers are applied in springs, early summers, and fall. During this period of time, mowing is also a regular activity. Mow at the right time after fertilization and ensuring that the fertilizer has absorbed in the soil and performed its task efficiently.

● Step 6: Reseeding the lawn

If you have bare patches on your lawn, you can reseed the patches to grow new grass. Prepare the soil for reseeding by removing old grass and weeds. Use a rake to remove any large debris, level the ground, and break large clumps of dirt. Then spread the grass seeds over the patch and fertilize to provide much-needed nutrients to grow the root system deeper and faster. Water the patches daily, and don’t let the seeded patches dry out. Try to keep the ground moist until seedlings grow to a height of 2 inches.

Tips for mowing an overgrown lawn

Advice from the experts is always valuable. We have collected several tips which will ensure that you get through the overgrown lawn quickly.

  • Tune-up: If you have a gas mower, tune-up the engine properly for the heavy job ahead.
  • Sharpen the blades: Sharpen the blades of your mower to handle the heavy stress.
  • Mow slow: Mow slowly and patiently. A slow pace will cause less stress on your grass, ensuring a healthy lawn.
  • Multiple passes: Don’t try to cut all the long grass in a single attempt.
  • Trimmer: Use a trimmer to cut off the top layer and remove trimmings when finished before mowing it with a mower.
  • Recover: Allow your lawn to recover and begin growing again before you cut more.
  • Wet grass: Avoid mowing when the lawn is wet. Mowing a muddy or wet lawn will damage the grass.
  • One-third rule: Always follow the one-third rule, and never cut more than one-third of your grass during a single mow.
  • Spring or summer: Try to mow the overgrown lawn in the spring or summer season as the grass grows faster in these seasons.
  • Stop when the grass is standing up: Stop mowing as soon as your grass is standing up straight.
  • Not in the winter: Don’t mow the overgrown grass in winter because it may not cope with the stress of mowing short in cold weather.
  • Change the pattern: Change your lawn mowing pattern every time you mow your lawn.

Final Remarks

If you have a lawn with very long grass and are not looking forward to cutting it, there is nothing to worry about. Just follow the directions given in this blog post, and you will have a well-maintained lawn soon. Do not remove all the long grass at once. This can damage your lawn as well as your lawnmower.

Mowing long grass requires patience. If it is really long, the best method is to cut the grass’s top layer with a grass trimmer (sickle or string trimmer) or a brush cutter to a manageable height first. Then allow your lawn to heal and recover from the initial trim. Once it is healed, mow the lawn to your desired height with your lawnmower. You may reseed the bare patches if there are any. If you follow the directions given in this article, you will most likely have a lush, healthy, and well-maintained lawn quickly.