Can Lawn Mowers Cut Tall Grass?

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You have probably heard or read that you should mow your lawn very 1-2 weeks or so, This is good advice because lawn mowers, as good as they are, have their limits when cutting tall grass. You have probably seen a lot of overgrown grass and wondered, can my lawn mower handle that? Well it depends on how long the grass is.

Four wheeled rotary lawn mowers are effective in cutting long grass up to 4 inches high. If the grass is taller than that, you have to cut it with shears or a string trimmer. When the grass is 4 inches or less, you can use the mower.

By adjusting the mower height you can cut long and tall grass efficiently. But it is best not to wait for the grass to get too long before mowing. It is not only inconvenient but can also other problems.

The Problems with Mowing Tall Grass

Mowing the lawn is not what most would consider fun, but it is necessary. Not just to keep your home looking nice but because putting it off can cause problems. Here are some of the reasons why you won’t want to mow tall grass.

Time consuming. If you let the grass grow unabated, you cannot just go there and start mowing. You have to clear the area of rocks, pet waste, metallic, objects, toys etc. Tall grass can also be home to snakes and other small animals. In other words, there are a lot of things you will have to do before you can start mowing.

Potential mower damage. The taller the grass the hard the engine has to work. This accelerates wear and tear especially during hot weather. A gas mower engine is made up of many complex parts, and if it wears out, maintenance and repair will be needed. Electric mowers are even less powerful than gas and will wear out faster.

Overgrown grass can easily hide small rocks or other sharp objects. Any of these can warp, bend or crack the blade. If that happens the mower will stop and you have to replace the blade.

Worst case scenario is something hits the engine and causes damage there. Before you start the mower, make sure that the deck is secure as it provides some protection for the blade and engine.

Expensive in the long run. Tall grass takes longer to cut, and that means higher fuel consumption. More fuel means more expenses. With electric mowers you will end up using consuming more power. This does not even factor in the cost of repairs that might arise.

How to Cut Tall Grass with a Lawn Mower

Gas mowers are the most widely used. But which type to get depends on the size of your lawn. Here are some general guidelines.

  • Small lawns. A manual reel mower will be enough.
  • 0.25 acres (10,890 sq. ft.) or less. An electric mower is fine, but make sure there is enough power. Our choice is the Sun Joe MJ400E because it is reliable and powerful.
  • 0.26 to 0.5 acres (21,780 sq. ft.). A gas mower is ideal for this.
  • 0.6 acres and above. A rider mower or lawn tractor will be necessary.

If the grass is taller than your mower capacity, you have to cut it down. A grass cutter or trimmer will do nicely. You can cut as much as you like and when the grass is short enough, wait a week before you use the lawn mower.

Before cutting, sharpen the blade. We suggest the Socima Sharpener as it is easy to use and produces results fast. If the blade is too dull it will not cut the grass no matter how many times you pass it. Inspect the blade regularly so you will know when it is time for sharpening or replacement.

Now that you know what mower is required, you can start mowing the tall grass.

Step 1

Adjust the mower height. Typically this is at 2-3 inches, but in this case you have to place it to 4 inches or whatever the max possible setting is.

Step 2

If you are using an electric mower, plug the cord into a power outlet. If you are using gas, add fuel. 4-strok lawn mowers store gas and oil separately. If you have an old 2-stroke mower, mix the oil and gas using the ratio the manufacturer specifies.

Step 3

Wear a long sleeved shirt, pants and gloves. This will serve as protection from insect bites and possible injury. Put on sturdy shoes, a hat and sunglasses. These will shield you from the heat of the sun.

The best time to mow is summer. Grass is harder to cut when wt., and mowing during a thunderstorm is no fun. This is especially true if your s is an electric mower.

Step 4

Before you mow, remove as much of the debris as you can. Rocks, waste, twigs, branches etc. You should also remove any pets in the area. You should also check the grass for any animals that might be hiding there. A snake or other creature could damage the mower.

Step 5

Start mowing. You can begin at the perimeter and work your way to the center, moving in a square or rectangular manner. If you have a large lawn, divide it into several rectangles and work on one at a time. Use a side to side movement if you have a sloped lawn.

The key is to mow slowly. Make sure also the bag is secure. As you mow, keep it on a single direction and overlap each movement by a couple of inches or so. You should also change the mowing orientation after each session. So if you did one session going from east to west, the next should be from north to south.

Take breaks when you mow. There is no need to do this in on sitting. This is especially important if it is summer and the heat is bearing down on you.

Step 6

After you are done mowing, you have to score the lawn. Remove as much weed as you can. Next, look out for any areas that are always moist. You have to cover these with sand so it drains well. This can take a lot of time depending on how large your lawn is.

Step 7

Lawns should be nourished with fertilizers and nutrients after being mowed. With fertilizers, the grass will regrow and not suffer damage. Usually fertilizers are applied a few times each season except winter. When to fertilize depends on how often you mow. A lot of it also depends on how healthy the grass is.

What is the Maximum Grass Height for a Mower?

The grass height limit for most lawn mower is 4 inches. Some mowers might be capable of handling up to 8 inches. But if the grass is 8 inches or taller, use a cutter to reduce it to at least 4 inches.

If you cut the grass down to 4 inches, do not mow right away. Wait a few days before mowing.

While tall grass is annoying, do not cut them down to regular height or to almost nothing. Cut only on third of its size. The one third grass cut rule ensures your lawn does not die and that no diseases will spring up.

You do not need to do a lot of measurements though. Usually grass grows 3-6 inches a month, so mowing every 1-2 weeks will be fine.

If the grass is very tall, just cut one third and wait a few days to cut another third. Keep repeating until the lawn is what you like. Do not cut everything right away because that could have negative effects on the lawn.

The ideal grass height is a matter of personal preference. A typical lawn is 3 inches high for summer and 2.5 inches for the cold season. No matter which you prefer, remember the 1/3 cut rule and that most mower cutting capacities will max out at 4 inches.