How to Mow Tall Grass

How to Mow Tall Grass Without Damaging Your Lawn

Mowing in tall grass can be difficult. It can often cause your mower to get bogged down or even to stall our while you’re mowing. In this article I’ll tell you how to mow tall grass. I’ll also provide tips to avoid wasting time stalling, clearing clogs, or damaging your lawn.

While commercial lawn companies do have equipment that will cut an overgrown lawn, they can be expensive. You also might not have time to wait around for them to schedule your appointment.

Following these basic steps will help ensure that you don’t damage your lawn when mowing through tall grass.

My Tips on How to Mow Tall Grass

Below I’ve collected my top tips on how to mow tall grass efficiently:

First, Cut a Little Bit at a Time

One of the biggest mistakes that someone can make when mowing an overgrown lawn is trying to cut it down to the desired height on the first pass.

While this may seem like it will save you time, it won’t.

Trying to cut long grass in one pass will cause your lawn mower to clog up. Your mower will likely stall and shut down as well. Not only can this damage your mower, it will leave you with more aggravation than you started with.

I suggest cutting your lawn down in a few passes and, if possible, spreading that mowing over a few days.

Remove the top layer of grass. Then mow it again one or two days later to get to the desired length.

If your grass is like a meadow, try a weed-wacker or scythe to knock it down to size. Allow the grass to recover for a few days, then repeat the process to get to the desired length.

Mowing Tall Grasses with a Weed Wacker or Scythe

If you cut more than 1/3 of the length of your grasses at a time, you risk damaging the health of your lawn.

This is why I recommend giving your lawn an opportunity to recover, heal, and begin growing again before you cut more.

Using your trimmer, cut off the tops of the blades of grass, and removing the trimmings when finished.

If you’re pressed for time (or you’re impatient), it’s usually ok to take multiple passes over your lawn to get it to the desired length.

Make sure to bag your clippings or rake them so you’re not smothering the grass with the mulched clippings.

One thing that I recommend when mowing tall grass is to stop mowing as soon as your grass is standing up straight.

Let the lawn heal at that point before coming back later in the week to mow to the desired height. You’ll be glad you did.

Next, Trim Grass to the Desired Height

Just because you have trimmed your grass once doesn’t mean that you won’t have to trim it again for another year. It actually means just the opposite. It is recommended that you trim your grass again roughly one week after the initial trim.

You can either do this by using your grass trimmer, or you can do this by setting your lawn mower to its highest setting before you mow.

It is common for most lawn mowers to have the highest setting of 4.” If your lawn is still taller than this after the initial trim, it is best to use the trimmer to cut the lawn down before you use your lawn mower.

Remember, a good rule of thumb to use when deciding how short to cut your lawn is the “Two-thirds rule.”

You only ever want to cut the top third of your lawn, leaving the bottom two thirds to live and be healthy.

Finally, Remember to Take it Slow

Now that your lawn is the right height and you can finally use your mower, remember it isn’t a race.

It might be tempting to go full throttle with your lawn mower. That will not lead to a healthy lawn.

A slower pace will cause less stress on your grass, ensuring a healthy lawn.

Proper Maintenance is Important After Mowing Tall Grass

Tips for Mowing Tall Grass in Your Lawn

Mowing the lawn is not always everyone’s favorite household chore. It can be really easy to let your lawn get overgrown and out of control. However, letting that happen will only lead to more work in the long run.

If you let your lawn get overgrown, it can cause stress on the grass, leading to an unhealthy lawn.

I have another article that discusses how often to mow your lawn if you’re looking for tips.

Here is a quick recap of the tips mentioned above:

  • Trim your lawn first. It is important to not immediately take a lawn mower to your tall grass. The lawn mower likely not be able to handle the amount of clippings, but it will also damage your lawn. Trim it back first using a trimmer for the best results.
  • Trim your lawn twice. After the first trim, it is likely that your lawn is still too long to mow. Make sure that your grass is standing upright, no bent blades before you decide to mow.
  • Slow and Steady makes healthy grass. By mowing your lawn at a slower pace, you will have the best-looking lawn on the block in no time.


Sarah’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

2 thoughts on “How to Mow Tall Grass Without Damaging Your Lawn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *