How To Cut Weeds On A Hill

Cutting weeds on a hill can be challenging. It’s hard to keep your footing on a steep incline. And the slope makes it hard to use traditional weeding tools like hoes.

Fortunately, it’s not as difficult a problem as it first seems. Using a string trimmer, walk behind lawn mower, or zero turn mower, sometimes in combination, you can keep most slopes weed-free.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at how to cut weeds on a hill.

How To Cut Weeds On A Hill

Trim The Weeds

If the hill slope is overgrown with weeds, the first thing to do is trim them. A good tool to use is a string trimmer.

If large, well-established weeds cover the hill, then it’s a good idea to use a powerful gas-powered trimmer. Equip the trimmer with square trimmer line made for slicing through tough weed stems and light brush.

Steps to take:

  • Wait until the area is dry.
  • Wear footwear with spikes or studs on the soles to give you extra grip, such as football cleats.
  • Then cut the weeds by walking up the hill rather than down to avoid slipping or falling downhill.

If the hill is very steep, consider working with a partner. The person at the top can hold a rope attached to the person with the trimmer in case they slip while trimming the weeds.

It’s possible to complete the weed cutting job with just a string trimmer. But you can often cut weeds quicker using a mower.

Mow The Slope

After trimming tall weeds down to size, you can get out your lawn mower to complete the job:

Using A Walk Behind Lawn Mower

You can use a walk-behind mower to cut weeds, even when the hill is quite steep. Set the blade to the height you prefer. Then mow horizontally across the incline with the mower. You’re less likely to have an accident when mowing horizontally (1) than mowing up and down the hill.

Proceed slowly and carefully when mowing on a hill. Then you’ll have time to avoid holes and rocks, allowing you to keep control of the lawn mower more easily.

Using A Zero Turn Lawn Mower

A zero-turn mower can make quick work of small weeds on steep hills. Simply drive up the hill, mowing the weeds and grass as you go. Then back the zero turn mower slowly down the hill until you reach the bottom again. Reposition the mower for the next run up.

Important tips:

  • Fit your zero-turn mower with full ROPS (rollover protection structure) and wear a seatbelt to protect you in case of a rollover.
  • Make sure you keep the front wheels of the mower pointed up the hill at all times.
  • Only mow the slope when the area is dry.

Cutting Weeds And Grass On Hills Safely

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA offer guidelines (2) for the type of mowers you can use safely on slopes: 

  • 0° to 15° slope — tractor mowers and riding mowers are both approved for use.
  • 15° to 22° slope — tractor mowers are approved for use.
  • 22° and up slope — push mowers, string trimmers, and specialized riding mowers designed for use on slopes can be used on steeper inclines.
  • Within 5 feet of a drop-off — maintain a buffer zone; only use push mowers and string trimmers inside the buffer zone.

Clearing Up

Use a garden rake to collect the weed and grass clippings into a pile and then dispose of them in a waste bag. It’s a good idea to wear garden gloves while you do this, as you may have to pick up pieces of weeds with spiky stems and leaves.

To make cleaning up quicker and easier, you can also use a leaf vacuum mulcher.


How do you control weeds on a hillside?

You can use a number of methods to control weeds on a hillside. Hand pulling can take care of a small number of weeds. For controlling weeds over a large area, you can cut the weeds or spray them with herbicide. Another natural method you can try is to allow goats to graze on the hillside.

What to plant on a hill too steep to mow?

You can plant ground cover on a hill that’s too steep to mow. Clover, ivy, daylilies, creeping Jenny, and creeping thyme are all examples of plants you can use as ground cover on slopes instead of turf that you’ll have to mow regularly. Ground cover plants will help with soil erosion control and reduce weed growth.


  1. How To safely Mow A Slope –
  2. Dangers Of Roll-Overs Of Riding Mowers –

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