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How to Cut Really Tall Grass

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When you have a backyard, one of the things you should do on a regular basis is keep the grass under control to keep everything looking nice and prevent animals like mice or snakes from having a hiding place.

This means trimming it down occasionally so it looks neat while maintaining your yard’s health.

Sometimes though, things happen that prevents a homeowner from mowing their yard in a timely manner or they purchase a home that has been vacant for a while and the yard is overgrown.

Whatever the reason that your yard has overgrown grass or actually looks like a forest, we’ll show you how to cut it short and the tools to use.

Cut the Grass a Little Bit at a Time

Keep in mind that immediately cutting significantly tall grass to your desired height is harder than you think. The process should be taken one step at a time by trimming grass down rather than cutting it short immediately. 

By trimming the grass a little bit at a time, it will help in several ways, such as:

  • Maintain grass health
  • More accurate trimming
  • Avoid creating uneven grass patches

The best way to approach this is to spread out the cutting and mowing process over several days to avoid issues with your lawn mower. 

This way, you’ll be able to take your time cutting down your grass to the desired height without risking any problems.

Do this by first trimming down the top layer of the tall grass. Depending on how tall your grass is, keep doing so over a period of several days.

For every time you’ve trimmed it down, give it a day to recover, and then repeat the process once more.

Why You Need to Cut the Grass a Little Bit at a Time

When you try to cut down tall grass with a lawnmower, there may be some technical issues due to the volume of grass that has to go through your lawnmower blades.

In this scenario, the volume of grass may stall your lawnmower repeatedly.

When grass is tall, it can stall your lawnmower, and if this happens too many times, there is a chance that you may damage your lawnmower.

One trick I use when my grass is too tall or tall and wet is to push down on the handle which raises the lawnmower blade when I start to hear the mower stall.

This method works if you waited a couple of weeks to mow the grass ands take much longer. It won’t work if you grass is much higher though.

To avoid this lawn mowing problem, you can use other types of tools to cut the grass. But be mindful that going slow is the best way to get the grass down to a manageable height.

Tools to Trim Down Grass

As mentioned before, you should first trim your tall grass down before trimming them to your desired height. Below are the tools you should be using to do so.


A sickle is essentially a short tool often used by farmers to cut down a variety of plantations, and most often, weeds and grass. Sickles are used with one hand. 

The sickle is designed to have a sharp inner curve that is proven to effectively cut small patches of both weeds and grass. 

Grass Scythe

One of the most common hand tools used by farmers to cut long grass is the grass scythe/whip. Similar to the single-handed sickle, the grass scythe is its two-handed brother.

Most grass scythes/whip are around 5 to 6 feet in length but are also adjustable in their shaft. The size of the blade itself, which is at the end, is between 2 to 4 feet long. 

Weed Whacker

Weed eaters are most likely the most popular tool to use for the average joe. You don’t need much technique in using a weed whacker. If your grass is really tall, I’d recommend getting a gas or electric weed eater as it has more power than a battery version.

There are three different options to choose from with weed whackers, which include:

  • Gas
  • Electric 
  • Battery

Weed whackers significantly reduce the hassle and difficulty in cutting long grass especially when outfitted with a brush cutter blade. Be very careful with these blades as they are similar to a chain saw and can seriously hurt you if not used properly.

Thicker grass and saplings

If you have a lot of land and it is overgrown with grass, weeds and even tree saplings, you will definitely need more than hand tools or a weed eater to get through the overgrowth.

In this case, you should rent a brush cutter from your local tool rental company. This tool is made for this exact purpose and quickly gets through the tall grass as well as everything else. A typical rental costs about $100 a day.

Trim Your Grass to the Desired Height

Now it’s time to finally trim your grass to the desired height that you want. Before you begin doing so, it is recommended that you begin this process roughly one week after you’ve begun trimming your tall grass. This is to ensure that your grass maintains its health. Otherwise, it could become patchy in some areas.

Once the grass is less than 6 inches tall, you can use a lawnmower to get it even and to the height that you want. Make sure that you have the lawnmower blade setting to its highest height if the grass is still pretty tall. Most lawn mowers have the number “4” as the highest setting.

When you have up to 1/2 acre lot to cover, having a gas-powered walk behind mower is the way to go. If you have a lot of acreage, a riding mower will be best.

However, if you have a smaller-sized yard, then you might want to opt for an electric or battery powered lawnmower. The electric corded version is less expensive but you’ll have to make sure you have a long enough extension cord. While the battery version doesn’t have a cord to worry about, it does have a limited battery life and only works well in smaller yards.


By this point, it should be clear that cutting tall grass is not as simple as it seems. Follow the steps above as well as the recommended tools to use, and you are on your way to cutting down your grass properly while keeping it nice, green, and healthy.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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