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View Full Version : cutting heights throughout the year (transition zone)


Clear-Cut
10-24-2007, 01:22 PM
im in jersey and cut mostly Kentucky bluegrass, tall and fine fescues, and ryegrass, with the occasional bermuda lawn.

i was wondering what height you guys cut at throughout the year.

i know the best height to cut at for a healthy lawn and deep root system is 3" but on thinner lawns the grass doesnt get cut beccause the blade just blows it to the ground.

during peak growth periods this past year i cut at about 2 3/4" and 3" during drought and my lawns (for the most part stayed pretty green throughout the summer). some people dont like it being cut this high (they like the putting green type lawns apparently but i jsut explain to them how bad it is for the lawn)

now i just tried cutting at 2 1/2" for the fall. this height seems low enough to cut the thin lawns. so i think it will be a good height to cut at. its not too high and not too low. the only concern i have is how the lawn will last during the hot dry times that we have here in jersey.

so i was wondering what works for you guys that are in the transition zone (zone 6 and 7)

Turf Troll
10-24-2007, 01:40 PM
Start the year at 3" through the summer 4' end the year at 3",

tall type fescues and contractor blends, perennial rye

loom-gen
10-24-2007, 10:48 PM
3.5 then 4 then 3.5. All the grasses you mention have a min recomended cutting height of 3 to3.5 accept bermuda. it can be cut shorter.

Marcos
10-25-2007, 03:31 AM
Your customers will ultimately dictate to you what they want. But the rule of thumb for fescue turf is that the first mowing of the spring, and the last mowing of the year in the fall, always will be the shortest, and there's no problem going down to 2 1/2 '' or so , as long as the ground is level enough to allow you to. It's important to go into the winter, and to begin the early spring, with turf that has a 'fresh crown' that has good air circulation about it. And from there, as the spring progresses into summer and gets hotter, you gradually raise the blades with the temperature. This creates the 'sponge' effect, or the 'layered' effect, that a summer lawn has. And what's neat about that is you're creating a 'canopy' of sorts, that will help keep moisture in the ground better.

But this can work to your disadvantage is you screw it up with improper (frequent and shallow) summer watering habits (OR) over fertilization! Enter into the picture: DISEASE! :cry:

Marcos
10-25-2007, 03:46 AM
Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention the other turf problem you mowers hate to take any blame for, but should: BROWN PATCH
When you mow on a hot day (about 80 degree +) and the humidity is right, did you know you are actually spreading BROWN PATCH around like butter on bread?!? And maybe you've noticed the mailmen's footsteps through the yards to the doorsteps? They're doing the same thing!
What to do? Mow at night with lights on? Of course not.

Just keep these facts in mind: 1)Mow in the coolest part of the day when possible (take a siesta at noon and work later?) 2) Mow with sharp-sharp-sharp blades 3) Change mowing directions and patterns 4) teach your customers this information too.
PS- And teach folks not to walk on frosted turf as well! It amounts to the same thing. :waving:

Clear-Cut
10-25-2007, 04:42 PM
i wish i could cut at that height...but most customers dont like it that high (and im at the stage where i need the lawns.its only my 2nd year)

i see other companies cutting around here and there is no way and of them cut higher than 2 1/2"

sancho_man_orlando
10-26-2007, 06:02 PM
I cut customers at 4 inches all year...

My personal is cut at 6 inches all year.

TurfCo, LLC
10-27-2007, 12:43 PM
Most of my customers like their lawns cut high. 4.5" or so. But personally, I think 4" is a great height, and of course in the fall, cut it shorter for everyone all the way around. I usually don't cut anything shorter than 3.5".

Clear-Cut
10-28-2007, 01:59 PM
thanks guys.

what do yuo do when a customer asks to have it cut shorter? do you cut it shorter for that one person or just tell them that you cut it high for a reason and you will not cut it shorter because it will compromise the health of the lawn?

TurfCo, LLC
10-28-2007, 03:23 PM
thanks guys.

what do yuo do when a customer asks to have it cut shorter? do you cut it shorter for that one person or just tell them that you cut it high for a reason and you will not cut it shorter because it will compromise the health of the lawn?

When someone asks to cut it shorter, I cut it a little shorter for that customer. I tell them it's kind of like a hair cut, I can always take more off, but I can't put it back on. I keep cutting it a little shorter every time until we find some common ground.

Some customers want it cut so short, it's unhealthy for the grass. I try to educate them on the benefits of leaving the grass a little taller. But if they insist, I let them find out the hard way, and end up seeding it in the fall when they've had me cut it too short over the summer months and they've killed sections of it off.

Daner
10-28-2007, 05:37 PM
I cut at 3"...the only time I rais It up to say 4"...Is when the grass Is growing like crazy.

I put the lawn to bed In the fall at 2- 1/2"

Clear-Cut
10-28-2007, 10:00 PM
When someone asks to cut it shorter, I cut it a little shorter for that customer. I tell them it's kind of like a hair cut, I can always take more off, but I can't put it back on. I keep cutting it a little shorter every time until we find some common ground.

Some customers want it cut so short, it's unhealthy for the grass. I try to educate them on the benefits of leaving the grass a little taller. But if they insist, I let them find out the hard way, and end up seeding it in the fall when they've had me cut it too short over the summer months and they've killed sections of it off.

isnt it a PITA changing the height of the mowers though. and remembering what customers like it at what height?

mow town
10-28-2007, 10:38 PM
I've been told weed seed germinates less if grass is kept long enough to keep the weed seed well shaded.

Stillwater
10-29-2007, 12:20 AM
isnt it a PITA changing the height of the mowers though. and remembering what customers like it at what height?

what the pain is when you discover you never lowered the deck when you started mowing and then haveing to start over again

TurfCo, LLC
10-29-2007, 12:28 AM
isnt it a PITA changing the height of the mowers though. and remembering what customers like it at what height?

No... after you do it enough, you just remember. I have 85 mowing accounts a week, and most of them fall into one of three heights common heights. It isn't a big deal. Changing heights isn't a big deal. Move the pin from 4.5" to 4" is a snap.

And when someone calls and says they need something mowed, you can tell by the height of the grass when you get there about how short they like it. If you arrive somewhere, and the grass really isn't that tall, but they say it needs mowed, more than likely, they like it on the short side. If you get there, and it's 5 or 6 inches tall, odds are they like it around 4" or 4.25". And besides, if you go .25" too short or too tall, no one really notices anyway.

TurfCo, LLC
10-29-2007, 12:30 AM
I've been told weed seed germinates less if grass is kept long enough to keep the weed seed well shaded.

and you're right.... it's like a rain forest canopy.

Clear-Cut
10-29-2007, 02:42 PM
thanks turfco. as much as i hate cutting it really short for a few select customers, i guess i will just deal with it and hopefully they will get tired of all of the weeds and then i will offer to cut it higher and the the satisfaction of "haha i told you so" lol

if anyone else has any input feel free to post it up