How To Cut Long Grass


If you are anything like me, you don’t get out and cut your grass as often as you should.

Sometimes you wonder why your neighbors haven’t called the city on you because your grass is so long.

I recently asked our 14 year old son to cut our grass because I had already let it get too long and didn’t have time to take care of it.

So how do you cut grass that is too long? You start off by getting the lawnmower blades sharpened, then only cutting off one-third of it at a time, give the grass a few days to recover then cut another third, cut it a third time to get it to the right height, cut the grass slow, and if all else fails, use a scythe to cut the grass.

Read on to find out why you have to follow certain directions to cut your tall grass.

Why we sometimes let our grass get too high

There could be a couple of different reasons why we let our grass get too long.

I had one year that I didn’t properly prepare my lawnmower for the winter, so when the time came to start cutting the grass, my lawnmower wouldn’t work.

I didn’t know at the time that you have to use up all the gasoline in the tank and change out the oil for winter.

I know better now.

And instead of accepting the fact that I either needed to pay someone more than my lawnmower was worth to fix it OR buy a new lawnmower, I just let the grass grow.

When it finally got too long and they were too many weeds, I decided I needed to do something about it and I bought a new lawnmower.

Second, we might get too busy.

Depending on the size of our yard, we may need to invest some time into mowing the lawn.

We live on an almost one acre yard and only have a small lawn mower.

The front yard is perfectly fine since it is only a few hundred square feet, but sometimes the backyard gets a little neglected because it takes almost 2 hours to mow the whole back yard.

So the size of the yard might keep us from mowing it regularly as well.

Other times we just get too busy to take care of it like we should.

And by the time we finally convince ourselves to do something about it, the grass is too long to take care of by conventional means.

Why we shouldn’t mow it all at once

So once our grass gets too long, when we finally decide to cut the grass, we might be tempted to do it all in one passing.

Because honestly, who wants to spend hours upon hours taking care of our lawn.

But cutting it all down at once is not recommended.

The grass is dependent on its length to continue growing.

And if you cut all the grass down at once, you are essentially stunting the growth of the lawn.

The length of the grass blade should be comparable to the length of the roots of the grass.

The longer the grass also helps out with keeping weeds at bay, since the grass is shading the soil and also keeping weed seed from settling in the ground.

So avoid trying to cut all the grass down at once.

Other issues can also occur if you try to cut too much grass at once.

This includes causing issues with your lawn mower.

Few people actually have their lawn mower blades sharpened regularly.

And if you try to cut long grass with a lawn mower blade that isn’t sharp, you might be in for a long day.

This will lead to clogging of the lawn mower and repeated stopping and starting of the lawn mower.

Since the grass is so long, the lawn mower won’t be able to handle it all at once.

So cutting it down a little bit at a time is preferred.

Also, if your lawnmower is getting clogged, that means that you are probably leaving piles of cut grass around your lawn.

Which doesn’t look good and also leaves it so grass in that area is not getting the sun and moisture that it needs.

How to cut long grass

Sharpen your blades

As mentioned previously, sharpening your blades will take you in the right direction for cutting long grass.

According to HomeDepot.com:

On average, a mower blade should be sharpened after every 20 to 25 hours of use time. This depends on how often and how long you mow.

https://www.homedepot.com/c/ah/how-to-sharpen-lawn-mower-blades/9ba683603be9fa5395fab904bc45dce#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20a%20mower%20blade,and%20how%20long%20you%20mow.

So how often you should sharpen the blades will depend on how long it takes for you to mow your lawn.

The math here is pretty simple: if it takes you an hour to mow your whole lawn, then after 20 to 25 times mowing, it is time to sharpen.

If it takes 30 minutes to mow your lawn, then 40 to 50 times mowing.

If you let your blades get too dull, it won’t mow the lawn like you were hoping.

So, it is definitely worth spending a little bit of money to sharpen your blades.

You’ve got a few options here.

First, you can purchase a lawn mower blade sharpener from Amazon here.

These are pretty simple to use.

You simply attach the sharpening stone to a power drill.

Then, you detach the lawn mower blade from the lawn mower.

You can probably sharpen the blade while it is still on the lawnmower, but you will have to deal with the blade spinning while you are sharpening it.

Once you have it removed from the lawn mower, take it to your work bench or a flat surface where you can relax.

Next, put on some work gloves, since you will be holding onto the blade.

Once the gloves are on, grab the blade with one hand and grab your power drill with the other hand.

Turn the power drill on and run it along one side of the blade, up and down.

Then run it up and down the other side of the blade.

Lastly, turn the blade over and sharpen the other side.

The second option is take it to your local hardware store.

This option will be a little more costly, but the quality of the work should be pretty good.

Plus you won’t have to do it yourself.

Mow the lawn down one third the length

Now that you have the lawnmower blade sharpened, you might be tempted to get out there and mow all the long grass all at once.

This is not recommended.

The sudden cutting of the grass to the full length could lead to the grass dying.

So avoid cutting it all at once.

Measure the length of the grass and then adjust the height of the mower so you are taking off one third of the grass.

Then proceed to cut your grass.

Water the lawn

After you’ve mowed the third of the lawn, then give your lawn a good watering.

Watering the lawn right after you’ve mowed will give the grass a chance to revive and grow over the next few days.

Mow the lawn down another third of the length

After you’ve watered the lawn and given it a few days, it is time to mow the lawn down another third of the length.

Again, we are trying to avoid a sudden change in the length of the lawn so it doesn’t die.

Mow the lawn to the proper height

Give the grass another few days to recover after the last mowing.

Once you have given it another 3 to 4 days to recover, then adjust the lawnmower to the proper height (somewhere between 3 to 4 inches).

Proceed to mow the lawn.

After that, make sure to cut your grass at least weekly to 4 to 5 inches in height.

Other options

You do have some other options if your grass is too high.

You can, of course, use a weedwhacker to cut down the grass to a good height.

The pros of using a weedwhacker to do the work include not having to worry about how sharp the blades are, not having to worry about what to do with the grass clippings.

The cons of using a weedwhacker include the grass not being level along your whole yard and also the amount of work that will go into it.

With a lawn mower, you typically get a pretty wide range of area that is covered when you mow.

Using a weedwhacker, your pattern is going to be uncertain and it is going to take you quite a bit more work to accomplish the task.

Another option might not seem too modern, because, well, it isn’t.

A scythe is another option you have.

Scythe’s have been around for a very long time, long before weedwhackers or lawnmowers.

But just like a weedwhacker, you are going to be spending your time swinging the scythe back and forth to cut down the lawn.

A good work out, but it will be exhausting and again, you aren’t going to have a very smooth pattern in the yard.

Lastly, if you like your grass, but don’t care for it to be long, you could always get a farm animal, like a sheep or goat.

These animals will be more than happy to walk around your yard and eat all the grass down.

They may pull out the grass out of the ground, but at least you won’t have to worry about mowing the grass this time around.

Summary

Things happen and sometimes we forget to mow our lawn for awhile.

While we might be tempted to cut it all down at once, there are a lot more cons than pros to this approach.

So instead of cutting it all down at once, cut it a little bit at a time, water in between and then cut to the right height.

Doing it slowly will help ensure the health of the lawn.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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