How to Cut Tall Grass with a Riding Mower?

Are you tired of your overly-grown grass making your garden look awful? Then it is time to learn how to cut grass with mower using a riding model.

While you may think a tall grass is easy to cut – just like any other lawn out there – you’re wrong. 

Not only are they more difficult because they produce a lot more mulch and debris, but also because you may end up clogging the riding mower, which could take several hours to unclog.

And sure enough, you don’t want that. 

Luckily, you can find a way to mow that tall grass without damaging your lawnmower. But you’ll have to read our article to find out.

Below, there’s everything you need to know about mowing tall grasses with a riding mower. 

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Cut Tall Grass with Riding Mower

cut grass with mower

As soon as you take a look at the tall grass, you will know it is not an easy deed. 

While renting a mower service can be an excellent solution, there’s nothing like learning how to cut the grass yourself. 

That’s why we brought a set of steps and tips you need to follow if you want to cut that tall grass without causing any damage to your riding mower.

Care to find out? Then read what we have for you:

Things to Consider

Before you start, be sure to know the different things that you may or not experience and how you can prepare for them. Here’s a list of those things:

  • We recommend cutting tall grass in the summer or spring. These are the best seasons to tackle this endeavor if you want to prevent any damage from colder seasons.
  • Do not start mowing your lawn if it is raining or the environment is too moisty (cloudy and humid). Wait for a sunny or dry day instead. 
  • You need to prepare the mower for a difficult job. For that, we recommend sharpening the blades beforehand so the machine can work as smoothly as possible. 
  • Riding mowers tend to overheat when used under too much strain. To prevent any overheating issue, be sure to stop every now and then mid-operation. Remember not to put the mower under too much stress.
  • You should have a mulch collector or grass bag on the mower. This would help enormously helpful when cleaning the area so you can keep moving smoothly.
  • Cutting an overgrown lawn will take anywhere from 1 to 7 days, depending on its size. Fragile lawns may get damaged if you cut more than 1/3 of their length at once. 
  • Considering how much it can take to mow tall grass, we recommend planning well before starting. 

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Riding lawnmower
  • Grass bag/mulch collector
  • String trimmer
  • Rake
  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles

Once you’ve collected these items, then you can start cutting away the lawn. Follow these steps: 

1. Prepare the Area to Mow

First and foremost, before you start to cut grass with the mower, you should prepare the whole area. This will prevent any unwanted damage to the mower and make the entire process a lot smoother.

Consider these tips:

  • First off, put on the work gloves. Then look for stones, twigs, branches, and other types of debris on the lawn before cutting it. Get them out of the way to prevent any problem with the mower.
  • Take away any type of sprinklers, garden hoses, or similar watering tools from the grass. Also, remove pots and other objects in the area. 
  • Then use a rake to remove the extra mulch on the grass. Mulch could get the mower stuck, and you don’t want that. 
  • Collect everything you’ve found on the grass and place it away from the area of mowing. If you can remove everything out of the property, that’s even better.

You now have the grass area ready to start cutting. 

2. Get Rid of the Top Layer

cut grass with mower

Before you start cutting anything with your mower, we recommend getting rid of the top layer. Because you probably have tons of grass to cut (over 2 feet), so you’ll have to tackle the top first. Here’s how:

  • Now, put on your safety goggles. Then grab the string trimmer and start cutting at least 1 foot from the grass. 
  • Be careful not to cut too much either, as you may end up damaging the grass. The focus is to leave no more than half a foot of straight grass so you can cut it with the riding mower more easily.
  • After you’ve trimmed most of the overgrown lawn, then you can proceed to get rid of the debris left behind. Use a rank and a grass bag to remove everything.

Trimming will prevent any clogging while passing the riding mower over the grass. At the same time, it will make sure the lawn cuts are more even. 

3. Leave the Grass to Rest (Optional)

If you want to do this the right way, we recommend leaving the grass to rest no less than two days after trimming it. This will prevent any damage to the lawn (especially if you have a fragile species), and make it easier to mow later. Here’s what to do:

  • Once you’ve trimmed the top layer, then water down the whole lawn area. Water it once again the next day in the morning.
  • Try not to step over the grass while it rests. The focus is to let it recover from the trimming and let it stand up straight afterward.
  • If you see that the grass is still too long, then you may want to trim a little bit once again before mowing it.

After letting the grass to recover for a couple of days, it will be ready to be mown smoothly and more evenly. 

4. Prepare the Mower

Whether you left the grass to rest or not, it is time to start mowing it. But first, be sure to prepare the riding mower properly for the job. Follow these tips:

  • Start by making sure the mower has a collection bag installed. This is optional but will help you enormously to prevent any clogging. 
  • Proceed by sitting on the mower. Set the parking brake, so it doesn’t move and then place the gears in neutral.
  • The mower throttle should be set to slow or the minimum speed available. Read your mower’s manual to find the lower throttle available.
  • Now start the mower and check that it is working neatly. Then position the mower deck in the highest position possible.  Again, read the mower’s manual to learn how.
  • Then drive the mower close to the grass you want to cut. You can now engage the blades by pushing the clutch lever to ON. Not all mowers are the same, so you may need to retake a look at the manual. 

With the mower in position and turned on, then it’s time to get rid of that extra grass. 

5. Start Mowing

cut grass with mower

If you’ve ridden this type of mower before, then you probably already know what to do. But if you haven’t, then follow these tips:

  • Start by pressing the mower throttle pedal. This should start moving the machine forward slowly (if you set it at a low throttle). Be sure to check how the mower starts cutting the grass.
  • If you feel any resistance in the process, then release the accelerator and reverse the riding mower. Then put the mower in drive once again and continue. This should prevent the machine from clogging.
  • To cut the grass more evenly, then you should come back to the places you’ve mowed already and cut a second time. Remember to let the mower deck stay at the highest level.
  • Cover the whole area you decided to mow. Be sure to stop every 5 to 10 minutes if the area is pretty large so you can rest and let the machine breathe. 

Mowing this way will prevent the mower from getting stuck, and it will leave a much more even cut on the grass. 

6. Empty the Bag & Check

If you installed a bag, then you should empty it once you’ve mowed the whole area following the previous steps. Also, you should check your progress.

  • Check that the grass is evenly cut all around. If not, then pass the mower once again over that area to make sure it is. 
  • Grab the grass bag and empty it. Remember to place it away from the place you’re mowing to prevent any issue later on with the mower.
  • The grass should look more even and almost to the desired level now. You can leave it like that if you wish.
  • In case you want to keep mowing it further, then let it rest between 24 to 48 hours before continuing. This will prevent further damage to the grass itself.

You’re almost ready by now – you just need to make one last mowing session that will make the lawn look pristine. 

7. Mow Everything Again

After mowing the first time, you’re probably not satisfied by how tall the grass looks. Well, don’t worry – you can still mow it even lower and make it look better. Here’s how:

  • If you waited for the grass to rest and recover from the mowing session, then you need to start the mower like Step 4. But instead of placing the mower deck at the highest level, place lower to the level you desire. 
  • Leave the throttle in the lower level. While going at the highest throttle may feel like fun, you may end up damaging the lawn or eventually making uneven cuts. After so much work, you don’t want that.  
  • Start mowing as you would typically do. Now you won’t have to worry about excess of grass debris clogging up your mower. And you can achieve the desired grass level.
  • Mow everything one time again and finish by checking. If anything looks uneven, don’t hesitate and pass the mower over one last time.

By now, you should have an almost entirely leveled grass. You’ve successfully cut a tall overgrown grass with a riding mower. 

Start Cutting your Tall Grass with A Riding Mower Now!

A tall lawn will be harder to maintain and not as enticing to look at. That’s why learning how to cut grass with the mower will help you enormously.

So don’t hesitate to follow this guide on how to use your riding mower to cut tall annoying grass on any lawn. 

You won’t regret doing so after considering our advice and recommendations. The lawn will look better than ever! 

Brice The Botanist
 

Growing up in Ventura, California famous for it's rich gardens. Brice has spent most of his life trying to help make the world greener. Studying Botany at CSRA, he's made it a lifelong passion to greenify every home.

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