I recently made a small (approx 7-8 sqm) lawn by laying topsoil and then turf.

It took hold nicely however I left it far too long before mowing and now have a problem!

I currently have a manual cylinder mower with is no good for the long grass (it jams and tears at the grass) and a strimmer which is also no good, I intended to cut it short enough to use the mower with this but it just flattens the grass (like crop circles) and does not cut it well.

As the grass has grown long, when short it does not look nice - yellowish and a bit sparse in places with small bare muddy areas.

What is the best way to fix this? I assume I can borrow a powered mower to get the grass short, then sprinkle seed to fix the worst of the bare patches, then just wait and it will fix itself as it is still fairly new (couple of months) good quality turf. Is that correct? Is there more to it? Does the type of mower matter? I was thinking a small hover mower would be the easiest in my small awkward garden but not sure if that's best for the grass or if it matters at all.

Thank you :)

2 Answers 2


Hover mowers are fine and also good at dealing with long or wet grass, but, and it's a big but, if the grass is as long as you say, you may burn the motor out, so you need to do it stages, on the highest setting, a little bit at a time, without a grass box in place. The usual procedure in these circumstances instead of just mowing is to hack back the length of grass with hand shears, rake that off, then run the mower over. Don't cut it too short at this stage either - I don't know where you are in the world, but I'm hazarding a guess you're in Europe or the UK from the terminology you're using. If you're not then what I say in the next sentence or two might not be appropriate! Leave it a week or two to see how it looks, whether the yellowness and soggy areas recover or not before deciding on remedial action. Reseeding of bald areas is best done in September anyway.

The other difference with hover mowers is you won't get stripes on your lawn, and it's said they don't make a clean cut on individual blades of grass - in my experience, if they're 'chewing' the grass, the blade's not sharp enough. If it makes any difference, I've used hover mowers exclusively for the last 30 years because they're light, easy to carry, easy to manouevre in difficult spaces and will deal with long grass, damp grass and grass on slopes much more efficiently than a cylinder mower. They also don't leave behind those longer, stiffer flowering stems when the grass has been left too long - cylinders just don't touch those, whereas a rotary or hover cut through just as they do the rest of the lawn. Whilst I wouldn't recommend hover mowers for, say, bowling greens, luxury turf or obsessive lawn fanatics, I don't think they can be beaten for the average home lawn.


Do you have a 'reel' mower, is that the same as hover mower? Your line trimmer should have no problems getting the heft out of your lawn, once in a while, your grass will deal with it just fine. Try to not lop off more than 1/3, if not short enough for your reel mower, wait a week and lop off another 1/3.

What I am fairly sure you are doing is allowing your line to be TOO LONG. Pull both lines up above the middle of your trimmer head, cut them off about 5". Then to perfect the length of the lines for the sharpest most accurate cutting with a line trimmer...turn the trimmer upside down and touch the spinning line tips to concrete or a boulder. You'll hear the rpms go UP and then you will know the lines are perfect to cut grasses, weeds and take care of the motor of your trimmer. To squash down the grass like crop circles tells me your lines are far too long, tough on the motor of your trimmer and the speed at the end of the lines is so slow they are unable to cut anything.

Is your trimmer gas or electric? Do you have a blower? The only equipment I will use is gas powered. Gas with NO ethanol. Proper mix of the best 2 cycle oil you can find. Keep your filters clean, changed out to keep dirt out of the engine and your trimmer, blower, mowers will last forever. Electric is just too lame. sorry. Gas is far more powerful and easier to use. Get rid of the bump and go head, get a fixed head, proper line and also get rid of the shield so that you are able to see exactly what you are doing. Always wear safety glasses and be aware of your surroundings...and where you are 'tossing' rocks, debris! That shield in my opinion is worthless, giving the user the sense they don't have to be aware of the 'tossing'...a single little pebble becomes a bullet, no mistake!

When I have to mow too long grass or too wet grass, I use my blower to fruff up the grass, blow moisture and weight off. I'll do this prior to cutting and after and then a light touch up. Bag clippings...mulching mowers aren't yet true mulching mowers and there is always a great place to use clippings (compost)?

Talk to the lawn equipment service men...they can be your best friends.

MOW NO SHORTER THAN 3"!! Unless you are a golf course, a home lawn needs to be 3" (cool season grasses) or you will have weeds, wimpy grasses. Keep the blades of your mower super super sharp. Otherwise it will cause ratty ends and a grayish look to your lawn. Aerate your lawn once per year pulling out plugs and leaving them on your lawn. Water DEEPLY (4=6") and allow to dry out before watering again. When your footprints on the lawn stay down, that is the perfect sign to water again. Otherwise use a shovel and look at your soil profile.

And mowing once per week is minimum, twice is cool (always at 3" no shorter). Try not to allow your grass to grow too long, pretty stressful on both you and your lawn. What are you using for fertilizer? Believe it or not the expensive organic (extended release inherent) stuff is BEST. Not the fast, commercial fertilizer by Scott's or Ortho...Try something like Dr. Earth's lawn fertilizer. I was (as a veteran of lawncare) blown away with the results. You don't have to use it more than twice maybe 3 times per year versus the absolute must of 4X per year. Watch the formulation for different seasons! You should never have to use any other chemicals ever with this methodology...

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