Manual Lawn Mowers: Can They Cut Tall Grass?


With the introduction of manual lawn mowers, companies have adopted a more eco-friendly way of cutting grass other than using electric lawnmowers. Not all manual lawn mowers are made equally since some of them are able to be adjusted to cut the varying lengths of grass. Manual mowers are great tools to use if you want an eco-friendly way of cutting the grass and your lawn size is less than 1/2 acre.

Manual lawn mowers can cut tall grass. Tall grass is more difficult to cut with a manual mower than short grass. Having sharp lubricated blades on an adjustable blade height manual mower can assist with making cutting tall grass mower manageable.

It is important that you understand what a manual lawn mower, also known as reel mower, does and how it works before attempting to use it to cut tall grass. A manual mower will not work as quickly or as efficiently as their electric and gas counterparts and will take more physical work by the operator. Read on to learn about manual lawn mowers and how they function in tall grass.

Manual Lawn Mower Functionality

Everyone knows that electric and gas powered lawn mowers are more effective in cutting grass than manual lawn mowers. If you are someone who likes to do things manually, you don’t have a large yard size and you are a friend of the environment, then these types of mowers can benefit you. Some benefits of manual mowers:

  • Easy to use
  • No need for a charger or cords for you to mow your grass
  • They do not burn fuel or make noise

Compared to their electric and gas counterparts, the blades of manual lawn mowers do not work with a motor. Manual mower blades are activated as you push the lawn mower. Grass is pulled into the bed knife as you move which cuts the grass with scissor-like blades.

Having manual lawn mowers can help you have more control over how you want your lawn mowed. Because manual mowers have no motor, they are lighter and easier to maneuver than your traditional electric or gas lawn mowers. They produce no sound and they produce no emissions which makes the process of mowing your lawn more comfortable. 

The only drawback that can be found in using manual lawn mowers is that they are, in fact, manual, which makes them less convenient. You have to push them for them to work. There is nothing assisting you in operating the mower so cutting tall grass can become pretty labor intensive. You need to consider your physical health and capability when choosing a manual mower.

A benefit to manual mowers is their parts are much cheaper to replace than their gas or electric counterparts. There are still a variety of things that you need to make sure your lawn mower has before trying to use it in tall grass. 

How to Cut Tall Grass Manually

Manual lawn mowers can cut tall grass, however, do not expect every type of lawn mower to be able to cut tall grass. You will need to check the characteristics of your model lawn mower before attempting to cut your tall grass. If you fail to do so, you may end up causing damage to your lawn mower and your grass since it will not be cut properly. 

There are some aspects that you need to make sure your model of lawn mower can perform to prevent any mistake from happening whether it will be a technical problem or an issue with how your lawn is mowed. 

  • Check to see if the blade height is adjustable and how tall they can be placed.
  • Make sure that the blades are sharp before cutting. 
  • Examine the blades to ensure they are properly lubricated with no rust on them. 
  • When adjusting blades, do not overtighten; otherwise, blades will not move effectively. 
  • Verify that there are not any obstacles like small rocks in the way.

We will explain in the coming section how you can make sure all of these things are ready before you start mowing your lawn with a manual lawn mower. 

1. Adjust Blade Height to Highest Position

Most manual lawn mowers are only able to reach a height of 1 ¾ to 3 ½ inches. If the blades can be adjusted, adjust them to the approximate height of the grass. If you notice that they cannot be placed to the height of the grass, then slowly start to mow the tall grass, and repeat the process until you see an even cut in the grass. 

Tall grass generally means more work. You want to make sure that your grass does not grow taller than four inches otherwise this might mean more work for you. Manual lawn mowers can find it hard to create an even cut when the grass is taller than this, and you may have to go back and forth several times to get an even cut. 

2. Make Sure Blades Are Sharp 

If the blades of your manual lawnmower are not sharp enough you may find it harder to cut the grass. Dull blades can cause uneven cuts on your lawn. This is something you want to avoid since it can cost you more time to complete the task. Dull blades can beat up your lawn and may turn the tips of the grass brown.

If you have a newer modern manual lawn mowers they do not need to be run with a back and forth motion like prior models. You may find yourself doing it if your blades are not sharp and unable to cut properly.

Ensure Blades Are Lubricated 

Verify the blades are properly lubricated or your blades will have trouble rotating. The blades of most manual lawn mowers act like scissors. Blades lift the grass from the soil and place it on the knife bed for a effective cut.

If they have rust in them, then you might need to replace them. Cutting with rusted or blades that do not have proper lubrication can make the task of cutting your tall grass harder. 

Do Not Overtighten the Blades When Adjusting

Although this might sound self-explanatory, there are many times in which people commit this mistake when they cut their grass following blade adjustment. Overtightening your blades can make your blades stiffer when they are cutting the grass. 

Overtightened blades will increase the overall effort you will have to put in to cut your grass. Having your blades overtight can cause uneven cuts to the grass. This causes you to have to re-cut the lawn to get a good cut. If this happens to you, make sure your blades are not tightened too much so they are able to move freely, lubricate the blades and then resume cutting the grass again. 

3. Mow in Dry Conditions

Make sure your grass is dry before you attempt to mow it. Wet grass can bind up in your lawn mower because it does not cut as well as dry grass.

4. Remove All Obstacles from the Path

Before cutting, make sure that there are not any obstacles like small rocks that can be in the way. Take away any big bumps, or rocks, since there are chances that your blades might become stuck in the bed knife, which can become frustrating. 

How Often Should You Mow with a Reel Mower?

For best result, you should mower your lawn at least once a week. In prime growing season, you may need to increase your mowing to twice per week.

Letting you grass grow too long with not only make the task of mower harder, but it will also cause your lawn not to look nice once you are done. The blades of long grass tend to lay down once it tall making the grass a little more matted. Your lawn mower may not be able to cut the blades of grass when the lawn is matted.

It’s best to cut your grass while the blades of the grass are standing tall. With a gas or electric powered mower, the blades are able to spin faster. With the faster blade tip speed and suction created in a mower deck, the grass is “lifted” and the blades come by and cut the blades of grass. You do not have this advantage with a manual mower. You will need to cut your grass before it gets too tall and the blades of grass fold over.

Conclusion

Manual lawn mowers can cut tall grass, but it depends on the way you do it. Taller grass tends to be harder to cut and harder to maneuver. With a manual lawn mower, you might need to repeat the process multiple times to have good results. 

Do not let your grass grow too tall. Otherwise, it will be more difficult to cut it. Maintaining your grass at approximately two inches tall makes your life easier during the mowing process.

Powered Equipment Team

We're just a guy and a girl obsessed with outdoor power equipment! We are excited to share the knowledge and tips we have learned over our combined 55 years in the power equipment industry. We have both ran equipment dealerships and took pleasure in helping our customers everyday providing equipment repair, parts, purchasing, and business tips to our residential and commercial clients. We hope our blog will help you with your next purchase, repair, or project.

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