Rise of the Blades: Push Mowers and the Long Grass Challenge

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Written By Cameron Rahman

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Maintaining a well-groomed lawn is a homeowner’s pride, but what happens when your lawn grass grows longer than expected? Can push mowers handle the challenge of tackling tall grass?

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of push mowers, exploring their capabilities, tips for effective mowing, and a step-by-step guide to ensure your push mower can handle long grass like a pro.

Understanding Push Mowers and Their Capabilities

Push mowers, also known as walk-behind mowers, are popular choices for maintaining residential lawns. These machines are available in various types, such as reel mowers, gas-powered rotary mowers, and electric mowers. Their effectiveness in cutting long grass depends on several factors, including the mower’s type, engine power, blade design, and the height adjustment mechanism.

Can Push Mowers Cut Long Grass?

The short answer is yes, push mowers can indeed cut long grass. However, there are certain considerations to keep in mind for successful and efficient mowing:

1. Choose the Right Type of Push Mower:

Different types of push mowers have varying capabilities. Reel mowers work well on shorter grass, while gas-powered rotary mowers and electric mowers equipped with higher horsepower can handle longer grass more effectively.

2. Blade Sharpness Matters:

A sharp blade is essential for any successful mowing operation. Dull blades can tear the grass rather than cutting it cleanly, leading to an uneven and unhealthy lawn. Before mowing long grass, ensure that the mower’s blade is sharp and in good condition.

3. Gradual Mowing Technique:

If your lawn grass has grown excessively long, it’s advisable to use a gradual mowing technique. Begin by setting the mower to a higher cutting height and make the first pass. Then, gradually lower the cutting height with each subsequent pass until the desired lawn height is achieved.

4. Avoid Scalping:

Scalping occurs when the mower cuts off too much grass in a single pass, exposing the soil underneath. To avoid this, adjust the cutting height incrementally and make multiple passes until the desired grass length is achieved.

5. Clear the Area:

Before you start mowing, remove any obstacles, debris, or large objects from the lawn. Long grass can hide obstacles that might damage the mower or pose a safety hazard.

Step-by-Step Guide to Mowing Long Grass

Step 1: Preparation

Gather all necessary tools and equipment, including the push mower, safety gear, and any accessories.

Step 2: Adjust the Mower

Set the mower’s cutting height to its highest setting. This prevents the grass from being cut too short in the initial pass.

Step 3: Clear the Lawn

Remove any debris, branches, or obstacles from the lawn that could impede your mowing path.

Step 4: First Pass

Begin mowing by pushing the mower in straight lines across the lawn. The first pass should be at a higher cutting height to reduce stress on the mower and prevent scalping.

Step 5: Subsequent Passes

Gradually lower the cutting height with each pass. This progressive approach prevents shock to the grass and ensures a more even cut.

Step 6: Sideways Overlapping Passes

For an even finish, make overlapping passes in a sideways pattern. This eliminates any missed spots and ensures uniform grass height.

Step 7: Final Check

Inspect the lawn for any uneven areas or missed patches. Touch up these spots using a targeted approach.

Step 8: Clean Up

Clean the mower’s deck and blades thoroughly after mowing. This prevents clippings from accumulating and ensures the mower’s longevity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can push mowers handle really long grass?

Yes, push mowers can handle long grass, but the process requires proper technique. It’s recommended to start with a higher cutting height and gradually reduce it over multiple passes to avoid stressing the mower and the grass.

Q2: What type of push mower is best for cutting long grass?

Gas-powered rotary mowers or electric mowers with higher horsepower are better suited for cutting long grass due to their stronger cutting capabilities. Reel mowers may struggle with extremely tall grass.

Q3: How often should I mow long grass?

For long grass, start by mowing at a higher cutting height and then follow up with regular mowing sessions every 4-7 days, gradually reducing the cutting height with each pass until the desired lawn height is achieved.

Q4: Can I use a push mower on wet long grass?

Mowing wet grass is not recommended, as it can result in uneven cuts and clog the mower’s deck. It’s best to wait until the grass is dry for optimal mowing conditions.

Q5: Should I bag or mulch long grass clippings?

Mulching long grass clippings can provide nutrients back to the lawn, but if the grass is extremely tall, it’s better to bag the clippings initially to prevent them from smothering the grass underneath.

Q6: How do I prevent the push mower from stalling in long grass?

To prevent stalling, start with a higher cutting height and make slower, deliberate passes. Gradually lower the cutting height as you progress to avoid overwhelming the mower.

Q7: What safety precautions should I take when mowing long grass?

Wear appropriate safety gear, including closed-toed shoes, eye protection, and hearing protection. Clear the area of debris and objects that could pose a hazard, and be cautious when maneuvering the mower on uneven terrain.

Q8: Can I use a push reel mower on long grass?

Push reel mowers are best suited for shorter grass and may struggle with long grass. They tend to work more effectively on well-maintained lawns with grass of moderate height.

Q9: How do I maintain my push mower after mowing long grass?

After mowing, clean the mower’s deck and blades to prevent grass clippings from accumulating. Check and sharpen the blade regularly, and perform routine maintenance according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Q10: What’s the optimal cutting height for long grass?

Start with a higher cutting height, about 2-3 inches, for the first pass when tackling long grass. Gradually reduce the cutting height with subsequent passes until you reach the desired lawn height.

Q11: Can I use a push mower on an overgrown lawn without damaging it?

Yes, you can use a push mower on an overgrown lawn, but take a gradual approach. Start with the mower at a higher cutting height and make multiple passes, lowering the cutting height with each pass until the lawn is at the desired height.

Q12: Are there any lawn conditions where a push mower should not be used for long grass?

Avoid using a push mower on extremely wet grass, as it can lead to uneven cuts and mower clogs. Additionally, if the grass is too overgrown, it might be more efficient to use a string trimmer to tackle the initial growth before mowing.

Q13: Can I hire a professional lawn care service for mowing long grass?

Yes, professional lawn care services have the experience and equipment to handle mowing long grass effectively. They can ensure a uniform and well-maintained lawn even after dealing with overgrown grass.


Push mowers are versatile machines capable of cutting long grass effectively, provided the right techniques and precautions are followed. By choosing the appropriate type of push mower, maintaining sharp blades, and adopting a gradual mowing technique, you can transform your overgrown lawn into a beautifully manicured landscape. Remember that proper maintenance of both your lawn and your push mower is essential for long-term success. With the guidance provided in this guide, you’re equipped to handle the challenge of long grass and achieve remarkable results every time you mow.

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