How to Cut Tall Grass without A Mower


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While a push or riding mower is the most convenient way to cut tall grass, it is not always an option. If you don’t have one in hand, there are still several ways to maintain and trim a lawn.

For instance, you can use a string trimmer, hedge trimmer, scythe, or shears. Although some of these methods are outdated, they can still get the job done.

cutting tall grass

The key to getting the most of these methods is patience and safety. Take time, learn how to use the tool correctly, and carve out an even path wherever possible. 

This allows you to keep the grass looking straight and even without the need to power a large, noisy mower that takes up a lot of space.

4 Ways to Cut Tall Grass Without a Mower

1. Using String Trimmer

A string trimmer is one of the most straightforward and creative lawnmower substitutes since it is practical and provides good power.

Remember, you get what you pay for when purchasing a grass trimmer. This one I reviewed below will only cut short grass.

Step 1: If your weed whacker is gas-powered, fill it with gas or plug it into an outdoor outlet using a heavy-duty outdoor extension cable if it is electric. Press the safety button of the whacker first, then start. 

Step 2: Make contact with the grass to the trimmer’s head and swing the whacker’s head from side to side while taking small steps forward. Hold it so the handle is snug against your hip for extra support when swinging.

Step 3: For tall grass, start a little higher at the height of 8″ to 10″ above the ground. Try to hold it at this height throughout to get that neat, even trim. 

Step 4: Slightly overlap your strokes to ensure that all of the grass is the same length as you go. Turn and begin a second swath parallel to the first and slightly overlapping the boundaries of the first route at the end of your path. Continue to cut until the entire area is consistent in length.

Step 5: After finishing, clean and store your weed whacker.

2. Using Scythe

A scythe is a massive piece of metal with a long handle attached to one end. It has a long metallic blade with a curved shape and sharp edges on both sides. The best thing about this tool is that it is very efficient regardless of how long the grass is.

However, using this tool requires significant effort and physical force. Also, because it is a sharp blade, you must exercise extreme caution while mowing your lawn. 

Here are the basic steps involved in the process:

Step 1: Before you start, make sure the blade’s edges are razor-sharp. After you have confirmed this, grasp the top handle of your scythe with your left hand and the center handle with your right. Bend your knees and straighten your back.

Step 2: Extend your arms and place the scythe’s blade on the ground. The blade will naturally bend slightly upwards, and the rear of the blade will be flat on the floor.

Step 3: You must have your feet firmly placed on the ground and twist your torso such that the scythe blade slides to the right and somewhat behind you. 

Step 4: Begin by swinging the blade back and forth, using the muscles in your hips and thighs, and work your way through the grass. Hold the scythe’s cutting edge parallel to the ground for best results, and swing the blade evenly for a uniform cut.

Step 5: Lastly, keep an eye on the enormous metal blade. If this is not done, the cuts will be jagged and harsh. Once an area has been chopped, go forward to continue slicing through the thick grass until it is entirely clear.

3. Using Hedge Trimmer

Another option is to use a hedge trimmer. This trimmer is similar to the weed trimmer, with a few exceptions. It has a similar appearance and cutting ability to a chainsaw, but it has different mechanisms and blades.

To get the best out of the tool, follow these steps:

Step 1: Start the hedge trimmer by firmly gripping the handles. Insert the blade into the grass to one side of you. Keep the blade horizontal and parallel to the ground, and move it in a steady motion around and through the grass. 

Step 2: Avoid cutting too close to the ground because the finish won’t be as good as what a lawnmower would produce.

Step 3: Move the blade slowly. This is especially important if the grass is thick, as it will keep your trimmer from becoming overwhelmed and allow it to do its job effectively.

Step 4: To get a satisfying result from your cutting session, keep your hand stable and take some small breaks.

4. Using Shears

Shears are giant scissors that you will have to hold using both hands. It features two sharp blades joined at an angle and pivoting past each other. They use the same mechanism as scissors and have handles on the back to move the blades.

Shears are one of the most effective ways to cut tall grass, and the best thing is that it offers incredible accuracy and a pleasant and satisfying result of your trimming session.

using shears to cut long grass

To effectively use shears follow the following steps;

Step 1: First you need to wear elbow guards and knee pads or something similar will to protect your knees and elbows. This is because you will have to navigate your knees and elbows to cut the grass to the proper length.

Step 2: Make sure your grip is good to cut the grass perfectly.

Step 3: Hold the handle like a scythe, with the blades parallel to the ground. Place grass between them and squeeze the shear blades together with the handles to close the blades and cut.

Step 4: Cut tiny portions of grass at a time. Although it will take a little longer, the tool’s accuracy is good.  

Step 5: Continue moving gently around the yard and take some breaks.

Safety Precautions When Tackling Overgrown Lawn

Choose the right time: Overgrown grass should be cut in summer or spring. Never cut your lush grass in the winter. Trimming during the cold season can have a negative impact on grass recovery.

Furthermore, cutting your grass when it is dry reduces the likelihood of bacteria and diseases establishing themselves.

Inspect the area: This is significant because long grass can conceal various things beneath it: tree branches, rocks, and other debris. If not removed, they could get in the way of your equipment. This can not only damage your equipment, but it is also very dangerous. 

It would also help if you kept an eye out for any animals on your lawn, such as moles, snakes, or armadillos.

Grass height: When dealing with an overgrown lawn, never cut more than a third of your long grass in a single session. This can harm the roots and promote the spread of weeds.

Wear your protective gear: Make sure you wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, safety goggles, and closed shoes. This is because debris may shoot with great force toward your eyes, legs, or other exposed parts of your body and cause injury. Also, put on knee guards to protect your knees from the ground.

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Pause periodically: Because the grass clippings in this scenario are long, it can be difficult to tell what you’ve cut and what you haven’t if you don’t clear the cuttings. So work in sections and then pause to remove clippings. You’ll have a better idea of what you still need to cut.

Final Thoughts

There are multiple choices for trimming your lawn without using a mower. Knowing how to cut extremely long grass with the proper tools is critical to avoid damaging your lawn and affecting its recovery.

Once you’ve mastered the use of these tools, you’ll be able to complete the task without the need for professional assistance.

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