View Full Version : Too dry to mow?

The Captain
07-08-2006, 12:29 AM
We in the mid-west are about as far behind in rainfall as those of you on the east coast are ahead. I need to mow some of my accounts (non-irrigated)just to get the Buckhorn under control. There has been no visible growth of turf grass for about two weeks. Everything has gone dormant except for the weeds. My question is, how much damage will I do to the lawn/turf by mowing in such dry conditions? :confused: Just walking across some of these lawns is like walking on wheat stubble.

Opinions please?


Tight Angles
07-08-2006, 02:20 AM
cut'em anyway. It's their responsibility to keep them watered and healthy. It your not cutting them, your not making money. I cut no matter what unless specified.

Up North
07-08-2006, 02:49 AM
I'd be careful about mowing in those conditions. Running a mower across a lawn that is dried out could damage the turf and make the recovery effort a much longer process. And in some areas I'm sure they have watering bans so as far as the "it's the customers responsibility to water"...well in some cases it would/could be illegal for them to water & maintain a green healthy lawn. It's very dry up here as well, the only thing I mowed this week was my own lawn. And yeah, I'm taking a ding in my paycheck but in this neck of the woods contracts don't work, so it's just part of the game here.

Good luck and if anyone knows a rain dance...let's boogie!


07-08-2006, 02:51 AM
I will not harm a customer's lawn, if I even think it might damage it then I'd rather wait.

As for the money, I save, save, save... If I earn absolutely nothing from here on out, I'll still make it to march '07.

p.s.: I'll do a little rain-gig for you tomorrow, hopefully it works :)

David Haggerty
07-08-2006, 07:38 AM
If you have to clip off the buckhorn do it early in the morning. I've seen lawns killed off by cutting them when they were dry. Mowing them in the heat of the day. It was like they were hit with roundup. Even killed the weeds! Nothing left but a few sprigs of buckhorn.

07-08-2006, 08:04 AM
Last year in our drought, you could actually hear the grass crack walking across it (and leaving foot prints) too.

07-08-2006, 08:40 AM
I'm on contract, so I'll start skipping as soon as possible.

We're not COMPLETELY dried out yet, but it's getting close.

As far as keeping the weeds down, here's what I'd tell the customer, and let them make the decision.

If possible, meet them on site.

Show them how the grass is not growing, but the weeds are.

You'd like to mow, but the grass is dried out, but the weeds make the property look like crap.

Try to sell them on the fact that this fall, they need to spray the broadleaf weeds, then next spring do it again, along with a pre-emergent if that's the type of weed they have as well.

This way, the customer has to make the decision. Mow down the weeds, yet risk SOME damage to the lawn, or leave the weeds for now, spray for them in the fall, and then if the dry weather comes back next year, the weeds won't be there, therefore you're not needing to worry about it.

Once you get that set up, then work on getting your customers set up on contracts, so you're getting paid whether you need to mow or not.

I tell my customers when it starts getting dry out, that I'll drop back to a 9-10 day schedule so the grass WILL start to look a little shaggy.

I can start doing that to protect the health of the turf, and thereby actually mowing more often, than if I just dried the lawn out and had to skip a month at a time.

I do some parks and a school district that's not irrigated, so when I can skip 2-3-4-5-6 weeks out of the year, that's about $5-6000 that I get that I didn't have to work for.

If you're not exactly sure how to get someone set up on a contract, there's been talk about it here before.....

Up North
07-08-2006, 12:13 PM
Last year in our drought, you could actually hear the grass crack walking across it (and leaving foot prints) too.

Well Rod if you miss that snap, crackle, & pop sound...come on up. And since it's so dry & I'm not mowing we may as well get some fishing in!:clapping: :clapping:


07-08-2006, 12:33 PM
Well Rod if you miss that snap, crackle, & pop sound...come on up. And since it's so dry & I'm not mowing we may as well get some fishing in!:clapping: :clapping:


Don't miss those days for sure Buck...the invite for a little fishin' sure is tempting though. :)

mulcahy mowing
07-08-2006, 12:58 PM
Was like that here last year. not anymore yesterday I had to cut a new lawn 4 times to make it look ok!!!

07-08-2006, 01:28 PM
where i am living(iowa) we have had 1/2 inch of rain in the last 2 months. It makes me want to cry because all my accounts are starting to go all dormant and look somewhat bad. MY MOWING HAS SLOWED WAY DOWN!

07-08-2006, 01:54 PM
Cutting when dormant? I have most of my accounts on a 7 month average - pay 7 equal payments - I like it, and they do to for this very reason. I have on very nice large factory, and when it is dry, I may just run the stringtrimmer along the curbs (1 mile of curbs) and the foundations. Last week there were stray weeds anywhere from 3 to 5 feet from the curbs, so I did a one pass mow along the curbs, and about three passes on the north side of the building that is shaded. - Today I went down and spot mowed the areas with clover, which are very defined, as this property has areas that collect water during heavy rain. Some of these spots were 3 acres, some only 1 acre. In another week, it probably will need a complete job.

Getting back to the 7 equal pay deal. -- You see, I can do anything I need to as often as I want in order to keep the property looking very good. I do not have to worry about "How much should just trimming be?" "How much is a spot mow job?" "Hey you just mowed 5 days ago, are you trying to bleed us dry?" Heck, I can mow the place every day if I so desire, and it costs them the same.

07-08-2006, 03:01 PM

No rain in your neck of the woods? We are still growing and mowing. Slowed down quite a bit even with the rains lately.

07-08-2006, 06:35 PM
Extremely dry here as well. In fact, I've been trying to decide all day whether to mow tomorrow (10 days) or wait until Wednesday, going the full two weeks.

One account is just up the road from my house, and I drive by every day. I cut it a week ago today, and the ONLY place in her entire yard that is growing is over the lateral lines.

07-08-2006, 07:26 PM
FinerCuts, and MoTurkey - I am right between you basically - SE. Iowa, so I know what your situation is - we had a drought last year, and it is continuing right into this year.