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How to tackle mowing a neglected property

Posted on:Apr 8, 2024

How to tackle mowing a neglected property

You want your yard to look nice, but what you’re looking at right now is a complete mess. Maybe you just bought a house where the seller didn’t even attempt to keep up with the landscaping. Or maybe you just returned from a much deserved two-week vacation. Or maybe your old mower kicked the bucket a few weeks ago and you finally got around to buying a new Grasshopper.

Whatever the case, that overgrown lawn needs some serious attention. Depending on how long the grass has grown, you may have to tackle this in phases. The good news is that after rolling up your sleeves for a couple of weeks, you can have your lawn back under control so that ongoing maintenance will be a lot easier.

Step 1: Size Things Up

Before attempting to mow a single blade of grass, it’s a good idea to thoroughly inspect and assess what you’re dealing with. Taking the time to size things up will allow you to formulate a more efficient plan of attack, while also helping to avoid any unintended mishaps that could cause injury to your mower and/or yourself.

Take a walk around the lawn, looking for any hidden objects such as dog leashes, balls and toys, cans and bottles, birds, baby bunnies, snakes, etc. Whatever you find, pick it up and move it out. Be careful with any wildlife, though. Hopefully you can just scare anything away.

While walking through the lawn, also make a mental note of how long the grass is. Is it up past the middle of your shins? If so, it’s likely too long to cut down to size in a single mowing. For the healthiest lawn, you want to avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade at once. In rare emergencies like this, it’s still a good idea to remove no more than half. 

Step 2: Start Sizing Things Down

If your lawn is really long, a mower may simply have a hard time getting through it. Then you’ll definitely need an alternative method. One of those big tractors used to mow roadsides is probably going to be too much machine for a lawn you want to look nice. A string trimmer, however, will allow you to cut down the overgrown grass and help you locate hidden objects, making it easier and safer to mow later on.

Grasshopper's 5.5” deep DuraMax® decks are designed to maintain proper airflow in heavy grass conditions to reduce buildup, all while leaving behind a manicured cut. DuraMax decks also discharge grass in a wider pattern so the clippings are more spread out and not as visible. Additionally, Grasshopper’s GrassMax™ blades are also engineered for optimum airflow and cut quality. And for added durability, Grasshopper's Sentry™ spindle guards help prevent hidden twine, wire or objects from damaging your mower spindle, which is especially important when mowing tall grass.

If you didn’t mind spending a little more time on your mower, you could also invest in a Grasshopper PowerVac™ Collection System to vacuum up the clippings as you mow. If you have an easy way to dispose of those clippings, this could prove to be a really good investment because it will also come in handy during spring and fall cleanups.

Step 3: Lock in the Proper Length

By now you’re likely closing in on your desired grass length:

-Tall Fescue 4”

-Bluegrass 3.5”

-Ryegrass 2.5”

-St. Augustine 4”

-Zoysia 2.5”

-Bermuda 2.5”

When you make your final cut to the desired length, take a look at the result. You’ve been cutting a lot of grass over the past couple of weeks. If you can see a lot of clippings scattered about the lawn, consider raking them up. Or, you could mow over the lawn again, a technique known as double-cutting. This will not only chop the clippings up finer, but will also leave an attractive checkerboard pattern on the lawn if you mow in a perpendicular direction that second time.

At this point, it will be hard to believe you’re looking at the same lawn from a couple of weeks ago. You still might have a little work to do, like scraping weeds out of sidewalk cracks and trimming overgrown shrubs. But you’ll be back to having a lawn you can be proud of, inspiring you to keep it looking that way for months and years to come.


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