How to Mow Wet or Long Grass

A few more mowing tips and tricks to help you, your lawn mower and your lawn when the grass is wet, long or when returning from holiday

Sometimes needs must so here are a few more Lawnsmith mowing tips to help you, your lawn mower and your lawn:

Mowing a Wet Lawn

  • Drag a hose across the grass to ‘squeegee’ off the rain or dew. It will now dry much quicker if you can wait awhile, otherwise you can mow straight away
  • Raise the mowing height to reduce load on the lawn mower
  • Empty the bag/box more often – less weight for you and your mower
  • Keep your speed down to reduce load on the mower blade
  • Clogging may occur so please, no heroics with the engine/blade running
  • Hose down the mower after use and leave in a ventilated area to dry
  • Don’t bother and refer to mowing long grass below

Cutting Long Grass

Who hasn’t got back from holiday to find the grass up to the window cills?

Bet you were glad you gave it a close cut before you went?

Well, sorry to disappoint but the shorter you mow the grass the quicker it grows so the chances are your lawn put on a bit of a spurt whilst you were sunning in the Costa’s!

The best approach for mowing long grass is to stick to your normal mowing height before you go. If the weather is dry don’t water the lawn as it’ll grow more and if you’re feeding the lawn don’t do it in the six weeks leading up to your holiday.

When you get back from holiday this is the time to make grass cutting adjustments. Raise the height to follow the ‘one third rule’ and give it a high cut. Then two or three days later mow it again on a lower setting still following the ‘one third rule’. You should now be able to make the next cut at your normal mowing height. This is also a good procedure if you haven’t been able to mow for a while due to bad or wet weather.

This works very well with a rotary mower but a cylinder mower will struggle and so will you. Therefore, borrow or hire (very cheap to hire) a rotary mower for a couple of days to get the highest cuts done. This is another good reason to buy a rotary mower if you’ve got anything other than an ornamental lawn. And if you’ve got an ornamental lawn you should be arranging for mowing to be done whilst you’re on holiday!

Yellow Grass After Mowing

Often when mowing long grass you find the remaining grass is yellow. This is because light hasn't reached the lower down parts of the grass plant which you've now exposed. Light makes plants green so no light means yellow grass!

In addition, when you mow you remove the leaves leaving the stalk behind. This is also not green. An analogy would be a tree; cut it off half way down and you've removed all the green leaves leaving a brown trunk.

The slow reduction in height suggested in our method for cutting long grass above is friendlier to the grass, less hard work and will go some way to preventing the yellow lawn. The good news is it will green up over a few weeks either way but faster with our method.

Mowing 'Leggy' Grass

This is grass that has been flattened usually due to mowing in the same direction with a mower with a roller set on a fairly high setting or using a hover mower. Over time the grass gets repeatedly rolled or flattened and starts to grow at an angle instead of straight up which results in the grass being 3" to 4" long even though the mower is set at 2". This means the stems become quite long and as they are brown the lawn can start to look brown and patchy when you mow. In addition the stems can start shooting new growth causing some abnormal looking grasses to appear.

The cure is to rake the grass so it stands up, then mow it from a different direction.  You may have to do this several times over a few days to get it cut correctly. The lawn will be quite brown after you've done as you'll have cut most of the grass leaves off leaving the 'leggy' brown stems behind. It will green back up over a few weeks, and in future, make sure you change direction when you mow with a rollered mower to prevent this happening again. If you are using a mower on a high setting without a roller you should lower the mowing height slightly or be prepared to repeat the above procedure occasionally. You can continue to mow in the same direction if the mower doesn't have a roller. If the issue occurs when using a hover mower you're best off replacing it with a rotary mower, sorry.