Life is full of business, so we often forget to do things – or just don’t have the time. Your lawn can be one of these things that is often left untouched for too long, and then gets to a point where it really needs to be dealt with.
If you’re in this position of very tall grass and you don’t know what to do, don’t worry! We’ve got the answers for you.
If you need a detailed breakdown of how to cut grass that has grown very long, we’ve got all the information below, along with the tools that you’ll need. Read on!
General Advice On Overgrown Grass
Since the grass is much longer than usual, this is going to require a little more effort and attention than usual. There are a few things to keep in mind before you start, as well as while you’re doing it. They are:
Try to only cut your grass in the sunnier, hotter seasons, like summer or spring. Cutting your grass down in winter could stop it from being able to grow back properly. Ideally, plan the times you cut the lawn so that you don’t have to cut it during the cold season.
Like avoiding the cold, you also don’t want to mow in wet weather. If the grass is wet, it could damage your mower.
Wear Protective Layers
Make sure that you dress properly because this is a messy and dangerous task. Make sure your pants and shirt are long and thoroughly conceal your skin – leave nothing exposed.
Similarly, make sure that you wear gloves to protect your hands, and safety goggles to protect your eyes, in case something flies out of the grass and hits them. You’ll also want thick boots to help you wade through the lawn.
Keep Others Away
Other people won’t be wearing the same protective clothing, so keep them away. Make sure especially that children and animals don’t go near, as they could get injured by your blades.
Speaking of blades, you’ll want to know that all of your cutting tools are healthy and sharp. You want them to be working as effectively as they can because it will make your job better and quicker.
Search The Grass
It’s essential that you’re only cutting grass. Overgrown grass is very easy to hide things in, annoyingly, so you must make sure that there are no rocks or stones hidden in there.
Branches are a no go too! If you mow these up, it could damage your machinery, and possibly even yourself.
Cutting Tall Grass: The Steps
The absolutely crucial thing that you need to keep in mind here is that you cannot cut all of your overgrown grass with a mower. It’s simply too high and too thick! You need to cut it down by other methods first, before mowing the bottom layer at the end.
This can be quite satisfying, in a way, because you work up to a nice and easy mow job – as if it was never overgrown in the first place!
Before you start, you’ll need to make sure that you have these items:
- Safety goggles
- Protective clothing
- String or blade trimmer (if not cutting by hand)
Once you’re all set up, you’re ready to start! Before starting all your work, though, remember this: take breaks! It’s not only you that’ll get tired out, but the machinery and tools you use too.
They need to have regular breaks or they’ll – yes – break! And you’ll benefit from stopping at the same time, so it’s a win-win.
Doing It By Hand
Now, you have the choice of cutting the first bit by hand or using a mechanized trimmer. If you want to do it by hand, you can use a variety of hand tools that aren’t motorized. Below, you can read how to use each of these more manual tools.
This has two large handles and a blade on the end, operating like a large pair of scissors. You may have used one on your bushes before. Grip the handles firmly (be careful) and angle the blades so that they are in line with the ground.
Push the handles together to cut, and pull them apart to open the blades, then push again to cut. Just like scissors! Do this as much as you need, cutting off the tops of the overgrown grass.
This is a long and dangerous blade attached to the end of a very long handle. You hold the end of the handle with one hand, and then grip your other hand to an extra little handle that comes off the main stalk.
This is a tool to especially keep others away from because it involves you cutting in large, round sweeps in front of you.
Hold the two handle bits and angle the blade so that it lines up with the grass. Now swing back and forth, carefully, cutting large patches of grass down. Given that you’re cutting away from you, it’s hard to injure yourself, but you really must keep others away from it.
This is like a scythe but much smaller. A curved blade is on the end of a small handle, which you hold. Grip it in your dominant hand, and swing it away from your body repeatedly to cut down the grass.
Like the scythe, you really need to keep other people away from this! It’s also a lot smaller, so doesn’t cover as much ground as the scythe, but it’s a lot easier and less dangerous to use.
Doing It With A Trimmer
This is the motorized method and requires a little more control and know-how as a result. But following these steps to the letter should make short work of it!
You will need a string or blade trimmer for this route, and keep in mind that it’s going to take about a week and a bit to fully complete these steps – so plan ahead.
Take your trimmer and use it to cut down the top area of your overgrown grass, shaving off about a third of the total height of all the blades.
Go back a few days later for an extra going-over with the trimmer. This will mean that you get a more even and healthy cut, giving it time to see how it’s fallen and landed. Once that’s done, water the lawn to keep it healthy and help it recover.
Now wait a week. You’ve earned it! It gives you time to recover, but more importantly it gives the grass time to recover too.
Once that time is up, take your trimmer and cut the grass further down. You want to leave about 6 inches of height on the blades now, which isn’t an awful lot. You can sense that freshly mowed grass look is in sight!
Now take your rake and scrape it around the lawn, collecting the remains of the cut grass up. This will tidy up your lawn, as well as give you the space you will need if you choose to now go over it with a mower for good measure.
Mowing Your Tall Grass
Now, you could just stop at these previous cutting stages. They can certainly get the overgrown lawn cut down enough that it’s as good as if it had been mowed.
That being said, the previously described steps are really a great way to deal with the topper layers of your overgrown lawn, before then doing the rest with your lawnmower. If you’re doing it this way, some of these following steps will help you.
However, you could attempt doing the whole overgrown lawn with just a mower. It really isn’t recommended if the grass is really too high, but if it’s a manageable length then you can try to do it all with a lawnmower.
A manageable length is something like 4, 5, or 6 inches in height – the mower has a setting that can raise to this, but will likely not go further.
Having adjusted the mower height setting to however tall your grass is, mow your entire lawn. Depending on whether you shortened the grass down with the earlier steps or not, this will be an easy or difficult task.
The longer the grass, the harder it will be to get even one round of this grass mown. Make sure to regularly get rid of anything clogging the blades, as they could be taking up thicker and bigger clumps of grass than usual.
And make sure to give the mower motor a break often! It needs to cool down or it will break.
After a few hours of break, allowing the grass and the machinery to recover, go over it a second time with the mower. This should be a lot easier this time because the first round has got rid of most of the height of the grass.
Make sure to take regular pauses for the machinery to cool down, and remove any blockage from the blades frequently.
Now leave it alone for a few days, allowing the grass to settle and recover.
Once that’s done, get your mower and go over the grass for a third time. The grass should be normal height now, so put the mower height adjuster down to the regular number of around 2 inches.
Relax, as you easily glide the mower over the cut grass! You shouldn’t have to pause and unblock quite as often now, either.
For a final touch, clean up all the cut grass to make your lawn as neat and presentable as possible. A rake is a good tool for this, in big sweeps, but a broom or a blower are good at clearing up as well.
Tools Of The Trade
We’ve already mentioned the three S’s that you can use: shear, scythe, and sickle. These are all great tools for cutting your grass by hand, not requiring any motors. However, if you are going the mechanical route, then these are the tools you’ll be using:
These are great for when the grass is really tall, and much too tall for a mower to easily cut. There are three types of trimmer that you can get, the examples being electrical, gas powered, or cordless.
Like a cordless vacuum cleaner, a cordless trimmer allows you to move around without the hassle of dragging a long cable everywhere.
Also, there’s no chance of you cutting the cable! I’ve seen this happen, and it can be especially easy as an accident when the grass is overgrown and hiding the cable amongst its thick, bushy blades.
That being said, they have to run off some sort of power, and that’s usually batteries or charging. This means that you’ll regularly have to change the batteries or charge the device, which can be a pain in itself.
On the other hand, electric and gas powered trimmers do a great job too, offering a more than capable way of cutting down the longest grass.
Mowers also come in three types: electrical, gas powered, or manual push type. A push type mower, usually known as a reel mower, is a favorite of professional grass cutters on greens like golf courses.
This is because it’s great at cutting thick grass, and doesn’t require being plugged in anywhere – or need any batteries changed.
This mower is entirely powered by you. With that said, you’ll need to be fit and strong to use it for as long as is needed. And if the grass is massively overgrown, that’s going to be a lot of effort!
So, for an easier time, you may go for an electric or gas powered mower. Gas is great for if you’ve got a much larger stretch of land than most because you won’t need to have it near to an electrical outlet.
Similarly, electric is good for a small patch of grass, because you can keep the cable close to the electric socket.
The Regular Approach
Really, though, this whole issue has happened because the grass has grown too long. Even with these easy steps, it can still be a hassle to cut it all down to a normal size. It can even take over a week!
Which is not ideal if you want to get it tidied up in a hurry for any guests or neighbors.
So, the best way to go about it is just to cut the grass regularly. You can still use all the tips here, such as mowing or hand cutting, but you simply won’t need to apply them as thoroughly!
If you keep your grass down to a normal level constantly, through regular mowings or cuttings, then your life will be a lot easier. You won’t have to hack away and unruly tall grass, for a start – and your body and its energy reserves will thank you for it!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Really Happens When I Don’t Cut My Lawn?
It isn’t just a case of the grass growing too long, oh no! If you don’t cut your lawn regularly, then extra long clippings of grass will form in clumps on top of the turf.
This is bad because it blocks the sunlight from getting to the grass and soil, which will stunt the proper and healthy growth of grass.
Unmanicured lawns are also a favorite haunt of not so welcome guests such as rats, mice, skunks, moles… you name it. So, unless you’re okay with your garden becoming a critter squat, it’s best to stay on top of your mowing schedule.
How High Will Grass Grow If You Don’t Cut It?
Grass can get very, very tall if you don’t cut it. If you leave it long enough, your lawn grass is likely to get to somewhere between 18 and 24 inches tall before it gets top heavy and begins to fold over.
How Tall Does Grass Grow In A Month?
If you’re looking to cut it more regularly now, then an idea of its growth speed will help let you know how regular you need to be. It really depends on the type of the grass, as well as the weather and amount of sun that it’s getting.
However, on the whole, grass grows around 2-6 inches per month. Keep this in mind when deciding how often to cut your lawn!
And there you have it! If you haven’t cut your grass for a long time and it’s grown unruly and big, then this guide has taught you how to cut and mow it down back to a more normal size. Remember, try not to mow when it’s really high!
Cut it down to size, then mow. Additionally, always be safe – wear protective clothing, clear other people away, and regularly pause your machinery to stop overheating.