How To Use A Scythe To Cut Grass, Weeds, & Hay

Using a scythe is a traditional way to cut grass, prepare hay, and clear weeds from your yard.

It takes practice to learn the correct technique. But when you get the hang of it, you’re rewarded with a method of mowing that’s effective, good for the environment, and capable of dealing with thick weeds and brush that a lawnmower can’t handle.

So to help you get started, let’s take a look at how to use a scythe to cut grass and weeds.

How To Use A Scythe To Cut Grass & Weeds

Follow these steps to use your scythe effectively:

1. When using your scythe, keep your back straight and knees bent.

2. Place the scythe blade on the ground and extend your arms. The back of the blade should be touching the ground, and you’ll notice that the blade has a slight upwards curve.

3. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and twist your body as you pull the blade in an arc until it’s just behind you.

4. Sweep the blade in a semi-circle in one fluid motion through the grass or weeds in front of you. The blade should pass along the ground, cutting through the plant stems near the base with a shearing action.

Advice For Cutting Grass With A Scythe

When first using a scythe to cut grass, there are some common challenges you might encounter:

Short grass is often harder to cut with a scythe than long grass. Because it’s softer and bends away from your blade easier, you need good technique when swinging the scythe.

Sometimes, lawn grass gets flattened by people walking on it, causing it to point in different directions. Thinking about how you position yourself relative to the lean of the grass can provide better results. When mowing your lawn with a scythe, you’ll be more successful if you follow the lie of the grass. Position yourself so that the grass points away from you and to the right.

Leaving the grass in your garden to grow longer makes it easier to cut.

It’s easier to cut damp grass than dry grass. First thing in the morning, when dew is on the grass, is a good time to use your scythe. Or you can wait until after light rain. If nature lets you down, you can use a water sprinkler instead.

Keep your scythe blade well-sharpened. A sharp blade makes it easier to cut through grass and weeds with thick stems, as well as short grass.

You don’t have to apply a lot of power. Light and gentle strokes work best.

How Short Can You Cut Grass With A Scythe?

If you use a scythe correctly, the grass should be less than 3-inches tall. You can press down on the lower grip of the scythe to keep the blade close to the ground for a very short cut.

Can You Mow A Slope With A Scythe?

You can mow a slope with a scythe. You can use your scythe while going up, down, or across gentle slopes. On steep slopes, it’s easier to mow grass with the blade traveling down the hill as you turn the scythe through its arc.

Is Using A Scythe Worth It?

Using a scythe has been an effective way to cut grass and weeds for almost 2000 years. But it does take a lot more work than using a lawn mower or a trimmer. But using a scythe comes with benefits. As well as getting the job done, scything is also good for your health, providing exercise for all parts of your body.


Is a scythe better than a lawnmower?

Using a scythe takes more work than a lawnmower. And it will probably take you longer to complete the job. But you’ll find it easier to cut tall weeds and grass with a scythe. And you can use a scythe to cut weeds with thick stalks that a mower blade might struggle with.

Are scythes sharp on both sides?

Scythes are sharp on one side of the blade. Right-handed scythes have a long blade protruding from the snath (long handle) across the body of the user, with the sharp edge of the blade nearest to the body

What can a scythe cut?

You can use a scythe to cut weeds and bushes, mow grass for hay, and harvest crops. With a bush scythe, you can cut through brush, bushes, and small saplings up to 3/4” in diameter

How hard is it to use a scythe?

It takes skill to use a scythe effectively. So you need practice and patience to develop the required technique. Once you become proficient with a scythe, it’s easy to use for cutting grass, weeds, and various crops.

What’s the difference between a scythe and a sickle?

A scythe has a long blade at the end of a long wooden handle, and you need to use two hands to use it correctly. A sickle is a smaller tool, with a short handle and a circular blade. To use a sickle, you grab hold of grass, weeds, or crops in one hand, and wield the tool in the other hand.

Featured Image: Nenad Stojkovic

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