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How To Tackle Long Grass

Dealing with long grass can be a tricky process. It is never as simple as just pushing the lawnmower over it, as you risk damaging your lawn or even your lawn mower; if grass is too long, the lawn mower can get clogged or overheated, and you also risk tearing the grass, which can affect the overall health of the lawn. Regardless of the scale of the job in hand, before beginning, you should first check that your machines are in perfect working order. By performing a maintenance check, you can make sure that the lawn mower or grass trimmer is at its most efficient, which will make the difficult task significantly easier.

The Smaller Jobs

As a general rule, you should never cut more than a third of the length of your grass at any one time. If you have returned from a holiday, or a period of time away, to find that your grass is too high for your standard lawn mower height, you will need to adjust. This means raising the height of your lawn and giving an initial cut at a higher level before dropping it down to the correct height. You don’t want to over-stress your lawn, so it is recommended to let your grass recover between cuts.

When A Job Requires More Oomph

If your lawn has been neglected for a while, and the growth is much more significant, the long grass can pose a larger problem that will most likely not be sorted instantly. This type of task becomes a big project, in which you will need to dedicate a fair amount of time and patience to getting your garden how you want it. If the grass is too long, the simple act of cutting it will stress it out so much that getting it to the correct height will cause a lot of damage short term.

You will therefore need to complete the following steps before beginning the cut.

  1. Check for debris
  2. If the garden has been neglected for a while, perhaps by a previous owner, you may need to check the garden for debris before you use your machinery to clear the grass. Items like rocks or tree stumps can end up damaging your lawn mower, so it is better to be aware of any dangers before you start out.

  3. Take off the top layer
  4. You will find it much easier to get the grass to the ideal height if you take off the top few centimetres with a grass trimmer or a scythe. As lawn mowers will struggle with grass that is too long, the grass trimmer provides the perfect alternative to removing the top layer of grass. Once you have taken off a good chunk of grass, you should water your lawn and then leave it to recover so as not to over-stress the grass. This will help in the long run.

    You may be initially against investing in a grass trimmer for what could just be a one-and-done job, but the applications from trimmers go well beyond cutting back long grass. They can be perfect machines for cleaning your edges or cutting grass around obstacles.

  5. Give a second cut
  6. Once you have left the lawn to rest for a bit, you will need to give it another cut. This time you can use your lawn mower but be sure to not take off too much. You should only look to cut one third every time you cut the grass anyway so as not to stress out the grass, causing it to turn yellow. This may mean you will need to have your lawn mower at its highest setting.

  7. Scarify if necessary
  8. It is very possible that, after the second trim, your lawn may look awful. This is mostly in extreme cases where the growth has been very high but after all of the trimming it just hasn’t been able to heal very well. You will need to push through here and know that the ends will very much justify the means. It may take a while but you will be left with a luscious lawn you can be proud of. You will need to scarify the lawn to remove all of the weeds and moss - you will not want this on your lawn so it is better to remove everything before rebuilding.

  9. Re-seed and rebuild
  10. Now you have cleaned out the worst bits of the old lawn, it is time to rebuild with some new grass seed. You may want to supplement this with a lawn fertiliser if you feel it’s necessary but be sure to do this at the proper time of the year, as you don't want to encourage growth in frosty weather.

    It may also be worth creating some method of deterring birds from stealing your grass seeds before they germinate. There are a lot of products on the market that can help with this so it will be down to personal preference.

    After all of this, your lawn may not look great initially but you will be surprised at how quickly your new lawn will grow. After a while, all you will need to keep a lawn you can be proud of is just to maintain it by mowing it every so often.