Your grass grows longer than normal for many reasons. One of the most common is that you are an avid traveller and often return to a garden full of long grass.
You might also choose to let it grow taller during autumn and heading into winter, so by springtime when there’s new growth quickly starting to form, your lawn will already be quite long.
For those of you with long grass, this article will show you how to carry out lawn care efficiently and properly without ruining all the hard work that went into mowing it down.
How to Cut Long Grass
The best way to cut long grass is by doing it gradually and often. If you follow a few simple rules, your lawn will remain healthy:
- Never cut it all in one go – Never remove more than a third of the length off at one time, as cutting too short can cause damage to your turf’s root system as stress the plant’s nervous system.
- Increase mowing frequency – Also, make sure that you are cutting at the right height for each type of grass; never let too much grow before mowing again. We always recommend mowing more often for this reason.
- Cut the grass when its dry – Mowing wet grass can be difficult, especially when it’s long. Firstly, because it’s dangerous, especially when using an electric roller mower. Secondly, it’s not good for your lawn mower; any extra load on the motor will cause unnecessary strain and could cause corrosion over time if you don’t remove the moisture from blades before storing. It also means there is an increase chance of tearing instead of cutting in one swipe which may lead to fungal disease invading and infecting your lawn – so always choose the best time to mow.
Cutting Long Grass, Step-by-Step
As an example, say you come back off holiday and before you left, the grass was cut to 4 cm. However, while you’ve been away, it’s grown to 12 cm.
Now you want to get it down to your preferred height of 4 cm as quickly as possible.
To mow in a way that won’t harm the grass, you’ll need to do it gradually.
Give your grass its first cut and remember to remove no more than a third of the total length.
So, if the grass is 12 cm high, you want to remove a maximum of 4 cm. This will bring the height down to 8 cm.
Then let the grass recover and grow by a centimetre so its 9 cm high.
Cut the grass again, removing a maximum of a third of the length, which in this example is 3 cm.
This will bring the overall height down to 6 cm.
Again, let the grass grow by a centimetre and reach 7 cm in height.
Cut again by a third, which is 2.5 cm to bring the height down to 4.5 cm
Let the grass grow again to 5.5 cm.
For this last cut, reduce the height by 1.5 cm. This will bring the height of the grass down to your preferred height of 4 cm.
To maintain your lawn at this length, never let the grass grow taller than 5.5 cm.
Mowing Flattened Grass
Flattened grass is usually the result of using a lawn mower with a rear roller set at a high cutting height. If you don’t regularly change the direction in which you mow, then over time, the grass gets flattened and grows at an angle. As a result, your lawnmower just rolls right over it but doesn’t really cut all that deep into it.
This could mean that your lawn is as long as 12 cm despite regularly cutting it at a setting of 40mm.
To prevent this from happening again, rake up those grass blades before they get too mangled by your mowers cutting blade; make sure there’s plenty of room between each blade of grass.
How Not to Cut Long Grass
The worst thing you can do to a long lawn is attempt to cut it all at once. Grass uses its leaves like solar panels, trapping sunlight for the process of photosynthesis and food production (similar to how a battery stores energy).
It also gathers this stored food as well as water in times of stress, so when you come along and cut everything down, robbing them both their sustenance supply while weakening their ability to make more, the plant suffers. This shocks the grass often turning it brown or killing the plant completely.
The grass puts its limited resources into repairing itself and growing new leaf. This comes at the expense of root development, lateral growth, and moisture retention in soil due to dehydration.
The consequences of this damage are considerable: sparse patches of green with plenty of weeds and moss.
Always mow the lawn on a regular basis.
The Best Lawn Mower for Cutting Long Grass
The best lawn mowers for cutting long grass are rotary mowers. Their rotating cutting blade is perfect for mowing long blades of grass which other types of mower struggle with.
Lawns with any type of roller will flatten the blades of grass, resulting in a yard full of long and difficult to cut grass even though you set your mower to “short” height mode.
Even expensive cylinder mowers are poor choices for this very reason.
A mechanical push mower may be able to do it if you’re up for some serious pushing but again, their rolling features make them subpar choices overall.
Robotic lawn mowers are next to useless when faced with tall and untidy lawns. What is beneficial is that these automated mowers leave you with no excuse not to keep your lawn cut short.
Mowing shouldn’t be a challenge if done properly, it just means you need to mow little and often. If the grass has flattened out, rake your lawn before mowing; be sure that if using rotary blades or 4 wheeled machine they’re well sharpened for the best results. I personally have a selection of different types of machines for various purposes, but one thing remains true: rotary mowers are very cheap when hiring them on occasion as opposed to buying outright which can come at quite the expense.