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hgaerations
05-14-2005, 03:28 PM
Hey guys-new to the site. I've been in the business for a couple of years. I currently mow with a 32" toro and I noticed this past week that quite a few of the lawns I mow are getting some brown stripes where my mower tires were on the previous cutting. I, along with 2 others, have checked the mower up and down for any possible leaks onto the tires and have found absolutely nothing. I don't think the grass is stressed, especially this early in the season (I'm in Colorado), but I do notice it isn't as noticeable on lawns of customers that stay on top of their watering. Any thoughts? I've been spraying down the mower and trailer, and am wondering if I need to use some kind of cleaner on them. Any help would be greatly appreciated-no customers have called about it yet, and I'm hoping it doesn't get to that point! Thanks.

DFW Area Landscaper
05-14-2005, 03:44 PM
You are compacting the soil with the tires, but more importantly, you are crushing the stems of the plant each week.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=52810&highlight=Ruts+Ferris

Try increasing the nitrogen levels and see if that doesn't solve the problem. It will on bermuda, but I don't know about the northern, cool season grasses.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

heavenlydeere
05-14-2005, 05:34 PM
try alternateing the way you mow, i try about 4 diff patterns rotated each week, works real good, nitrogen , i believe, will indeed help, good info dfw!

Appalachian landscape
05-14-2005, 06:43 PM
maybe the lawns should be watered more regularly.

GreenUtah
05-16-2005, 06:52 PM
hg, did you experience a frost with this last storm complex? If you did and you early morning mow, while the grass was still crunchy, you broke the grass off at the crowns with the weight of your mower. If you are talking about wheel ruts in the summer time, while it is under stress, the same can apply. Make sure you rotate your cut pattern, as suggested above, everywhere you can and do not mow frosted turf or those in severe dought stress until conditions improve for the turf. A little N will help the lawn rebound while we are still here in the spring flush growth period and make sure that the dead areas do not get a chance to matte down, or that will slow your efforts to get them back and hidden.

hgaerations
05-18-2005, 06:28 PM
Thanks for your input, guys. I didn't mow any lawns with any frost on them, but I am noticing that it isn't as bad on the lawns that have been watering for awhile. I have thoroughly washed down the tires of the mowers (and the mowers themselves) as well as my trailer. I took them all to a do-it-yourself car wash and scrubbed away. I guess now we just wait and time will tell. Is it possible, if sprinklers haven't been turned on, that the grass could already be stressed under the weight of the mower-this early in the season? I spoke to the people whose lawns seem to have it the worst and all of them either haven't turned on their sprinklers or just did. Thanks again for the help, everyone!

alwaysgreener
05-18-2005, 07:41 PM
These stripes result from mowing when the plant is entering the early stages of drought stress.. The wheels,mower housing, blade, and/or feet apparently destroy the integrity of the leaves and thus even when the area is watered, the leaves will not green-up.The plant will regrow from the crown given four weeks or more with regular irrigation or rainfall and the stripes should disappear.

hgaerations
05-18-2005, 08:40 PM
Thanks alwaysgreener-I would be willing to bet on that given we still have the watering restrictions here in CO. So in other words...I should just keep mowing and encourage them to water regularly, correct?

Cimarron Landscape
05-18-2005, 09:16 PM
curiosity-
is there a possibility you mowed on grass that had some sort of herbicide applied to it? washing the tires would prevent that, so if you're still haveing problems after washing, I'd say it could be compaction. It won't get any better, so you might suggest to the owners to aerate the lawn. It's good to do it anyway about every 2 yrs, more/less depending on traffic.
Definately rotate your pattern...also helps with the direction the grass grows, believe it or not.
~Brian

Cimarron Landscape
05-18-2005, 09:17 PM
didn't see always greener's reply....I agree with him. Disgregard my previous reply.

ed2hess
05-18-2005, 10:39 PM
These stripes result from mowing when the plant is entering the early stages of drought stress.. The wheels,mower housing, blade, and/or feet apparently destroy the integrity of the leaves and thus even when the area is watered, the leaves will not green-up.The plant will regrow from the crown given four weeks or more with regular irrigation or rainfall and the stripes should disappear.
This happens in Texas on St Augustine in summer when the grass gets under sever stress. Don't cross mow that makes it worse, YOU MUST stop mowing until the yard is watered!!!l The bigger the equipment the bigger the dead tracks but I seen it with a little 21" snapper. We weed eat areas that are definitely underwatered. We have tried blowing after mow, and we tried watering with hose nothing works. And it definitely can kill the grass in the tracks. You can imagine what the customer says when this happens and you try to tell him it is his fault for not watering. We have tried to be proactive and warn them ahead of time to water and that makes makes them madder. They will always claim that they are watering but the reality is the dead tracks prove they haven't watered enough. Good Luck!!