Help! I've let my lawn get too tall, what do I do?

Help! I've let my lawn get too tall, what do I do?

Help! I've let my lawn get too tall, what do I do?

$300 to mow my lawn??  

That is what many cities will charge you for a violation if they have to hire someone to cut it for you.

Nearly every homeowner has faced this dilemma

"My mower broke," or "I've been busy and I forgot" or "I've been out of town." 

But what should you do when your lawn gets too tall? 

Here are 5 ways to whip it back into shape. 

#1- Start With A Weed Eater

"Depending on how large your lawn is, you may want to start with your weedeater and knock it down as much as you can. This will at least reduce the height and the thickness and possibly allow you to get your mower through your lawn without it stalling every few feet.”

”This will also allow you to see if there are any items in your lawn that need to be removed like dog toys or hose pipes that can ruin your day and mower." -Feliciano Gomez with Feliciano's Lawn Care in Tampa, Florida

While it may be a bit more time consuming than your mower, you are less likely to break your equipment if you use a weed wacker. 

It's true, having a good weed eater will make this task simpler. But, you won’t need to use the best commercial trimmer in order to get the job done. 

You will however need time and patience. 

While you are working your way through the lawn with the trimmer, you can think about how to prevent letting it get so tall next time.

#2- Mow Small Portions at a Time

"When your grass gets very tall, you will need to raise your mower to the highest setting and work your way down. You may also have to use your push mower and carefully lift the deck and slowly lower it on your grass. Do small sections at a time so you can go back over them to level your grass out and rake up the debris to make it easier." -William Davis with Southern Grout Landscaping in Lawrenceville, Georgia

While mowing your tall grass with a lawn mower is not ideal, if it’s your only option…

Take it slow!

You can slowly make your way through the lawn section by section with a regular mower. Though it's not preferred. 

Consider using a weed whacker to lower the grass before finishing with your mower.

Understanding Mowing Strategies: The One-Third Rule

The one-third rule says: Don't cut off more than a third of your grass's height at once.

Why? It keeps your lawn healthy and looking good. Cutting too much stresses the grass, which can lead to brown spots and disease.

How to use it:

  1. Measure your grass height
  2. Set your mower to remove just a third
  3. For overgrown lawns, mow multiple times over a few days

This rule helps your grass bounce back quickly between mowings.

#3- Use a Bush Hog

According to DR Power equipment, anything over 24" tall should be bush or brush hogged due to the thickness and the height of the grass. 

The main difference between your average mower and a bush or brush hog mower is that your normal mower cuts with a sharp blade

On the other hand, bush hog severs with a dull wedge-like blade. This blade is much thicker and stronger than your conventional mower blade. 

Furthermore, the engine on your regular mower is not as powerful as a bush hog mowers.

#4- Hire a Professional

"When your grass gets too tall, you will need to hire a professional to get your lawn back in shape. Our equipment is much more powerful than the average residential mower but the key is to keep someone coming to mow consistently. It will take us a few times to get your lawn looking good again but it will be much easier for a professional. Keep in mind that it takes its toll on our equipment as well so normally it's going to cost twice as much initially to get it chopped down." -Justin Morris with JSM Lawns & Landscaping in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee

Here's the deal, at the end of the day, hiring a professional may be your best way out.

But don’t get surprised when the cost is much more than you are used to. 

Cutting through tall grass is rough on equipment, and doing it right can take 3 or more passes. 

While hiring a pro may be the best way to catch your lawn back up, it’s going to cost a bit more than you may want. 

#5- Prevention is Key

The key takeaway here is prevention!

Look, keeping your lawn mowed on a regular basis will save you money in the long run and keep your lawn healthier.

And, having the city remind you that you need to mow your lawn is not the neighborly thing to do. 

Keep in mind that most lawn care professionals will charge at least double or triple to get your lawn back into shape if it's over 12 inches. But that is nothing compared to what can happen if you live in an HOA.

Remember, not only is having long grass a blight on your neighborhood it also harbors bugs, insects, and snakes.

Pro Tip! Even if you have a mower and cut your own lawn, consider having a lawn care pro on deck in case you need him down the road.

FAQ: Help! I've let my lawn get too tall, what do I do?

What are the steps to mow extremely tall grass?

Tackling an overgrown lawn requires strategy and patience.

Here's how to do it safely and effectively.

Step 1: Trim

Use a trimmer to cut the grass to half its original height.

Step 2: Prep the Mower

Sharpen the blades and set the mower deck to its highest cutting level.

Step 3: Clear the Area

Remove any hidden obstacles from the lawn.

Step 4: Mow Gradually

  • Start with the mower at its highest setting.
  • Make multiple passes, lowering the deck gradually in stages.
  • Never cut more than one-third of the grass blade height in a single pass.

Step 5: Rest and Repeat

Allow the grass to recover between mowing sessions. Trim and mow again as needed.

Step 6: Clean Up

Rake up the clippings to maintain lawn health.

Which tools are best for cutting extremely tall grass?

A line trimmer or a brush cutter is effective for initially reducing grass height safely.

How often should you mow tall grass?

Mow tall grass every 4 to 8 days, gradually reducing its height until you reach the desired level. This spacing gives the grass time to recover.

What is the best weather for mowing tall grass?

The best weather for mowing is a dry, sunny day. Avoid mowing when the grass is wet to prevent uneven cuts and potential damage to the lawn.

How do you deal with weeds when mowing an overgrown lawn?

Identify and manually remove or treat weeds with targeted herbicides before mowing. This helps prevent the spread of weeds and encourages healthier grass growth.

What are the dangers of mowing tall grass?

  • Hidden obstacles: Rocks and debris can damage mowers or become projectiles.
  • Mower strain: Tall grass can overwork and overheat the engine.
  • Injury risk: Uneven terrain and concealed objects increase chances of tripping.
  • Poor results: Uneven cuts and shredded grass tips harm lawn health.

TLDR: 5 Strategies to Manage Overgrown Lawns

Facing a towering lawn? Avoid hefty city fines for lawn violations with these 5 practical tips for lawn care.

  1. Start with a Weed Eater: Tackle tall grass with a weed eater before mowing. It's safer for your equipment and reveals hidden obstacles.
  2. Mow in Small Sections: Use a high-set mower and do small areas at a time, reducing the strain on your mower.
  3. Use a Bush Hog for Very Tall Grass: For grass over 24" tall, a bush hog, with its stronger blade and engine, is more effective than a regular mower.
  4. Hire a Professional: For excessively tall grass, professionals, though more costly, have the right equipment and expertise to efficiently restore your lawn.
  5. Prevention is Key: Regular mowing saves money and keeps your lawn healthy, avoiding the extra cost of professional services for overgrown grass.

Remember, consistent lawn maintenance is crucial for a healthy, presentable yard and avoiding city fines.

The Bottom Line On Leveling Tall Grass

At the end of the day, if you need help cutting your lawn when it gets ahead of you, GreenPal is here to help.

Get instant lawn care bids from GreenPal, and get your lawn cut as soon as tomorrow.

Ever wondered what the best time of day to cut the grass is?

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