Mowing long grass

Close up of Bobcat mower

Maybe you’ve been away enjoying a holiday or other jobs have gotten in the way….whatever reason your grass has grown out of control, here are our tips on how to mow long grass.

Don’t overcompensate

If it’s just a bit longer than usual, stick to the normal mowing height. Don’t try cutting it down shorter than normal, you’ll only damage the grass. This also applies if you’re not going to be able to mow it for longer than usual (if you have plans to go away, for example). Cutting it down lower than normal is not recommended.

Which mower is right for your property? Find out everything you need to know before you start. Get your free guide now.

Mow it down gradually

Very long grass will need to be mowed more than once to bring it back under control. For the first mow, raise the height of the mower deck quite high and go over it once. Wait a couple of days, lower the deck it a notch or two then mow again. Remember the 1/3 guideline, it might be damaging to the grass to take off too much at once.

For grossly overgrown areas (mid-shin height or higher) it’s absolutely essential you cut it back gradually even if it takes several weeks. Remember, those stalks and leaves have a purpose in keeping the plant alive; cutting off this source straight away will result in dieback caused by a sudden loss of nutrients.


Leaving long grass clippings on the lawn can be bad for the overall health of your lawn as they suffocate it and kill the grass. A decent side discharge mower like our BOB-CAT range will spread the cut grass over a wider area, leading to fewer piles of grass which can lead to dead patches. If your lawn is not too long, you could use a mulching system to cut the clippings up finer, however, remember the mulching rule of thumb is not to take any more than the top third of grass length at a time. A mulching mower first cuts and then mulches the grass before discharging it. This means the clippings are finer and less noticeable. Keep in mind though, they will be visible because of the sheer volume of grass that has been cut, but it’s essentially a free nitrogen treatment for your lawn so let them lie. If the grass is very, very long, however, you may find you end up with large clumps of clippings. You might want to rake them up as leaving them there damp in the heat of summer can lead to fungal issues.

Don’t mow when wet

While it is possible to mow wet grass, when it comes to VERY long wet grass you really do need to wait for dry, warmer weather. Not only is it easier on you and your equipment, it’s better for the grass to recover.

Trim with a weed trimmer first

Once it’s up to or over the knee you’ll need to start with a weed trimmer. Cut it back to about half the height, leave it a few days to recover then either repeat to bring it down a little bit more, or start the gradual mowing process as mentioned above. Use the trimmer to cut down the grass until it reaches around 15-20cm.

Specialist equipment for cutting long grass:

Some mower brands, such as Canycom, have mowers specially designed and built to tackle long grass (and slopes).

Field and brush mowers could also be an option for exceptionally long grass or overgrown areas. These are designed to cut down and chop up tough, springy, hardwood saplings as well as long grass and weeds.

Specialised Zero Turn Mowers – our BOB-CAT range of zero turn mowers all have adjustable front deck lips, and removable deck baffles, allowing you to cut long grass a lot easier. These two important features are unique to BOB-CAT, check out the range here.

A mulching attachment could be the answer. For large open areas of long grass you can attach a flail mower to your lawn tractor to cover lots of space with lots of cut power.

If you have a property with long grass to tackle, we’d be happy to talk you through your mower options and arrange a free demo.

You can also download our free guide on how to choose the right mower and learn more about what you might need for your property.

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