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View Full Version : Fert Company says Im cutting too low!


ron mexico75
05-31-2012, 11:42 AM
So I see a customer in another part of the neighborhood who's yard I cut. She stops to say hello and says how happy she is with the way things look. She has a regional company treat her yard all season long. She had them before I started cutting her property. To me, they seem like a good reputable company. NOT Tru Green by the way but a regional company. All the lawns that I have seen that they treat always look good. Green and no weeds or fungus.

So I cut one day last week and the company came and sprayed the following day. This customer tells me that they left her a note that said whoever is cutting your yard is cutting it too low and they need to be cutting no less then 4 inches. She relayed this to me and said I am happy with the way you're cutting it and Im not too sure why they said this. The lawn is green, not dry or looking burnt but they were adamant you cut it at 4 inches. She said Im happy with what you're doing so just keep doing it. I just wanted to let you know what they said.

I told the customer thanks and that I am currently cutting it at 3 3/4 inches. Actually a tad higher. To be exact I am cutting at 3.93 inches. I looked in my Exmark manual at the setting I have it at. The book only has the setting for specific spacer settings and not every combination available. By the manual specs I have it at 3.75 and then I have another 3/16 spacer on top of that which equates to 3.93.

My questions are; would you call the fert company and ask to speak to a manager and inquire as to why they have a tech telling a customer this? How would it be possible to tell the difference between 3.93 and 4.0? Would you be irritated or just blow it off since the customer was fine with my job?

I just feel irritated that some guy is going behind me and indicating Im not doing what I should be according to his eyes?



The other thing is this. On the Exmark, for those may or may not be familiar, it says in the manual to have at least one spacer between the spindle and blade for a good cut. It doesn't say that you have to but Im assuming they say that for a reason. If I want to go to 4 inches I can remove the spacer from below the spindle and be left with none between the blade and spindle.

The other option is to jack up the mower, take out the axle adjustment bolts out and reposition the axle to the highest position. That entails readjusting the wheel drive and brake linkage. I really am not too sure how to adjust that properly and don't want to mess anything up.

What do you think?

TriCountyLawn
05-31-2012, 11:51 AM
Keep doing what your doing. Id say your close enough to 4"

mtmower
05-31-2012, 12:20 PM
I've had the same happen to me as well. Both sod companies and fert. companies push 4". I think it safe guards them. Make it less likely that their product fails or does damage. Usually looks greener as well. Up north here I start at 2.5" in the spring and take it up to 4" by the hot part of the summer and then as things start cooling toward fall I take it back down to 2.5". This helps here with thatch and voles supposedly.

ron mexico75
05-31-2012, 12:42 PM
I've had the same happen to me as well. Both sod companies and fert. companies push 4". I think it safe guards them. Make it less likely that their product fails or does damage. Usually looks greener as well. Up north here I start at 2.5" in the spring and take it up to 4" by the hot part of the summer and then as things start cooling toward fall I take it back down to 2.5". This helps here with thatch and voles supposedly.

Yup, my thoughts exactly. A safeguard for them. Im not arguing that 4 is bad by any means. I just don't like how it was done you know? Like Im some teenage punk cutting at 2 inches or something.

Smallaxe
06-01-2012, 08:05 AM
They say stuff like that, so in case things go south, they can come back and say: "See, I told you so."

Mark Oomkes
06-01-2012, 08:38 AM
What is the blade length of the grass?

Not the mower setting, but actual length?

With my Exmark TT, if I have them set at 3.5", actual mowing height is about 3". The Lazers really get messed up, they're usually not even close from the factory.

Dave does lawns
06-01-2012, 09:32 AM
I had a similar situation yesterday. A lady who hires someone else to mow but the other guy does not do edging. So she wants me to just edge. 200 feet worth of edging so I jumped on it. I arrive on the property to find fertilizer burns all over and clearly the lawn is being mowed with dull blades. I wanted to say something but I did not. In your opinion, should i have said something?

ron mexico75
06-01-2012, 09:44 AM
What is the blade length of the grass?

Not the mower setting, but actual length?

With my Exmark TT, if I have them set at 3.5", actual mowing height is about 3". The Lazers really get messed up, they're usually not even close from the factory.

Interesting, I guess I'll have to break out the tape measure. I thought whatever the setting was set at is what you were cutting at. Is it just your mower or are they all like that?

Whatever the case is though, I have it set as absoloutely high as it will go minus doing what I expalined in my original post (moving the axle setting)

Mark Oomkes
06-01-2012, 09:50 AM
Interesting, I guess I'll have to break out the tape measure. I thought whatever the setting was set at is what you were cutting at. Is it just your mower or are they all like that?

Whatever the case is though, I have it set as absoloutely high as it will go minus doing what I expalined in my original post (moving the axle setting)

Every mower I've ever used has been this way.

ron mexico75
06-01-2012, 09:57 AM
Here a pics of a lawn I did yesterday. Its not the ladyies lawn but a different one to show the setting I have it at.

Kind of hard to tell I guess unless you see it in person. But, does that look bad? Again, it's set to 3.75 ( 3 3/4).

The grass grows very fast just from one week. I usually have to use a catcher because discharging leaves it looking like crap. I say that because it's a little too tall in my opinion to just side discharge.

ron mexico75
06-01-2012, 12:01 PM
ummm anyone?

Mark Oomkes
06-01-2012, 12:16 PM
Hard to tell, it looks short, but it's a 2D picture. Could be the neighbors is 6" and yours is 4".

ron mexico75
06-01-2012, 12:38 PM
Hard to tell, it looks short, but it's a 2D picture. Could be the neighbors is 6" and yours is 4".

yeah I know it is kind of hard to tell through a photo. That is the entire yard I cut though. I just took a pic halfway through cutting for comparison.

mtmower
06-01-2012, 03:34 PM
This is part of the reason I got my license so I can fertilize and spray pesticide on the yards I cut. This also allows me to put on super slow release granular on two or three times a year which is much easier to keep up with on a weekly mowing schedule than a five time application of liquid nitrogen done by other companies.

kirk1701
06-03-2012, 09:57 AM
Ron

I say someone is jealous and just wants to get under your skin; maybe the applicator knows you in some way or somewhere is his name also on the report?

Be intersting to know if its a dumb ass high school classmate

chris brauch
06-03-2012, 10:18 AM
what's the catch do? can you get those for all the mowers? and is that like a bagging system?

TLS
06-03-2012, 01:10 PM
You need to measure from the cutting edge of the blade to a concrete floor.

This is your cut height.

Don't go by what eXmark says in a manual.

If it does MEASURE 3.75" then that is MORE than high enough.

Mark Oomkes
06-04-2012, 06:17 AM
You need to measure from the cutting edge of the blade to a concrete floor.

This is your cut height.

Don't go by what eXmark says in a manual.

If it does MEASURE 3.75" then that is MORE than high enough.

But, because of the tires sinking into turf or whatever, this will still give him an actual grass blade length of 3.25-3.5" for walk behinds. It's a crapshoot for riders, at least Exmarks.

easy-lift guy
06-04-2012, 06:53 AM
You sir should be ashamed of your customers beautiful lawn, after all if it wasn't for the pest control company pointing out that your cutting to short the lawn would be obviously dead by now. All kidding aside your customers lawn looks great and as long as the customer is happy, don't give the PCO opinion another moment of your time. If the lawn is not broken, don't fix it.
easy-lift guy

Get Some...
06-04-2012, 06:56 AM
To find out the height of the grass after the cut...measure the height of the grass..:)

Duekster
06-04-2012, 07:16 AM
To find out the height of the grass after the cut...measure the height of the grass..:)

Brilliant. :laugh:

ron mexico75
06-04-2012, 08:17 AM
Ron

I say someone is jealous and just wants to get under your skin; maybe the applicator knows you in some way or somewhere is his name also on the report?

Be intersting to know if its a dumb ass high school classmate

Maybe, who knows. The customer has the report and Im sure its a first name only. People are crazy so your theory could be possible.

You need to measure from the cutting edge of the blade to a concrete floor.

This is your cut height.

Don't go by what eXmark says in a manual.

If it does MEASURE 3.75" then that is MORE than high enough.

Yeah, I will do that this week. Thanks

You sir should be ashamed of your customers beautiful lawn, after all if it wasn't for the pest control company pointing out that your cutting to short the lawn would be obviously dead by now. All kidding aside your customers lawn looks great and as long as the customer is happy, don't give the PCO opinion another moment of your time. If the lawn is not broken, don't fix it.
easy-lift guy

Ha ha, good one, I think I should go bury my head in the turf! Thanks for the compliment I really appreciate it. Always good to hear a positive comment from another in the business.

To find out the height of the grass after the cut...measure the height of the grass..:)

Yeah and there is that option too. :laugh:

I think I will measure the blade from the edge to the concrete floor and also do what you said and measure the cut turf. See if there is a difference.

TLS
06-04-2012, 08:21 AM
But, because of the tires sinking into turf or whatever, this will still give him an actual grass blade length of 3.25-3.5" for walk behinds. It's a crapshoot for riders, at least Exmarks.

Tires sinking is a variable.

The industry standard for cut height has always been blade tip to concrete floor.

I set my 48" SCAG WB to 3.25" and I set my 60" SuperZ to 3.25"....They both cut the grass at the same height. What that measurement is on the blade of grass is of no concern to me.

Darryl G
06-04-2012, 08:42 AM
I don't understand how you guys can set your mowers for the same cutting heights for all of your lawns. I change my cutting height often and have a range of about 1.5 inches on the lawns I cut. I've even been know to cut different portions of the same lawn at different heights (within 0.5 inches).

TLS
06-04-2012, 08:47 AM
Darryl,

I have a few that I change. Lowest is 3", highest is 3.5" (That's as high as this XR-7 can cleanly cut!)

My SCAG stays at 3.25" most of the year. It's for small areas (pool gates, etc) and areas I can't get the ZTR on.

J & D Greens
06-06-2012, 11:00 PM
Last year I acquired a new customer that was un-happy with her old lawn guy. They also cut the lawn across the street. Well the lawn across the street was always cut too short and looked like crap. I was talking to their daughter discussing things that would improve their lawn. See my the client I do has a Fert. company that do a good job, she water just right no irrigation system but she keeps up with it very well and I cut her grass at a good height for cool weather grass and it looks great. I told her that they need to water, fertilize and have the crew raise the deck height. They did what I said and their lawn is looking ten times better already. I was not going after that account but just wanted them to be happy with their lawn.

soloscaperman
06-09-2012, 03:07 PM
I don't understand how you guys can set your mowers for the same cutting heights for all of your lawns. I change my cutting height often and have a range of about 1.5 inches on the lawns I cut. I've even been know to cut different portions of the same lawn at different heights (within 0.5 inches).

Same here!

gcbailey
06-09-2012, 03:18 PM
personally I'd love to have customers tell me to mow it longer. It seems every year we have a few who whine and moan who want a scalped yard. I try to explain the benefits of longer grass (3.5"-4") especially if they don't have any type of fertilization schedule. But these are also the customers that are 65% weed 35% grass....

sturge23
06-09-2012, 03:55 PM
Our cut height varies by the type of grass the customer has. Each type of grass has a height range to be cut at. We also use the 1/3 rule of not cutting off more than 1/3 of the balde.

stoker
06-09-2012, 05:17 PM
Interesting, I guess I'll have to break out the tape measure. I thought whatever the setting was set at is what you were cutting at. Is it just your mower or are they all like that?

Whatever the case is though, I have it set as absoloutely high as it will go minus doing what I expalined in my original post (moving the axle setting)

I have 6 Lazers and none of them cut according to the measurements on the mowers and all of them are different from each other. You just have to get to know the mower you are using. Can't go by the measurements on the mower.

Darryl G
06-09-2012, 10:12 PM
I don't know how you guys can go by the 1/3 rule...I'm often cutting 1/2 to 2/3 of the grass height because it grows so fast in the spring. Even with my mower deck in the transport position I'd be cutting off more than 1/3.

gcbailey
06-10-2012, 07:59 AM
I don't know how you guys can go by the 1/3 rule...I'm often cutting 1/2 to 2/3 of the grass height because it grows so fast in the spring. Even with my mower deck in the transport position I'd be cutting off more than 1/3.

mow three times a week and charge the client! haha. I actually have one client that during the early spring pays for twice a week mowing, fine by me...

Duekster
06-10-2012, 08:35 AM
I don't know how you guys can go by the 1/3 rule...I'm often cutting 1/2 to 2/3 of the grass height because it grows so fast in the spring. Even with my mower deck in the transport position I'd be cutting off more than 1/3.

That will kill the grass. The grass goes in to a negative energy trying to recover it's top growth at the expense of the root system. Then the summer heat rolls around and the grass is thin and weak.

If you have to scalp the lawn, just go a head and get it over with and take it down then try to follow the 1/3 rule for several weeks raising your mower a little each week. That way the roots can rebuild their stores a little.

Darryl G
06-10-2012, 08:59 AM
I just don't think the 1/3 rule is very realistic/achievable in a real world enviroment where people want their grass cut every week or two and want it looking neat after it's been cut.

I evaluate my cutting height on every lawn with every cut and try to strike a good balance of the lawn's health, the lawn's appearance and the customer's desires. I record what mower(s) was used and my cutting height in my log book along with my start and stop times (to the minute). This is why I don't get how some guys can cut all their lawns at the same height....I change my cutting height often between lawns and even change it on different portions of the same lawn.

Duekster
06-10-2012, 09:04 AM
I just don't think the 1/3 rule is very realistic/achievable in a real world enviroment where people want their grass cut every week or two and want it looking neat after it's been cut.

I evaluate my cutting height on every lawn with every cut and try to strike a good balance of the lawn's health, the lawn's appearance and the customer's desires. I record what mower(s) was used and my cutting height in my log book along with my start and stop times (to the minute). This is why I don't get how some guys can cut all their lawns at the same height....I change my cutting height often between lawns and even change it on different portions of the same lawn.

Bi-Weekly is a joke. I tell every client that it will harm the turf in the long run. The one upside is it is not getting cut more than 1/3 every week :laugh:

Sounds like you are doing all you can do without the help of a PGR.

Do you do apps? or just mow?

Darryl G
06-10-2012, 09:22 AM
No apps.

I just measured my back lawn. It's at 8 to 9 inches and was cut a week ago to the day at 3 inches...Turf-Type Tall Fescue. I'll "scalp" it back down to 3 inches after the dew dries. Not every blade of grass is that tall but some are.

I have quite a few bi-weekly accounts, but only a couple insist that it be cut no sooner than two weeks, so I do them more often during peak growth and then go to every 2 weeks in summer when it's more appropriate.

Duekster
06-10-2012, 10:03 AM
No apps.

I just measured my back lawn. It's at 8 to 9 inches and was cut a week ago to the day at 3 inches...Turf-Type Tall Fescue. I'll "scalp" it back down to 3 inches after the dew dries. Not every blade of grass is that tall but some are.

I have quite a few bi-weekly accounts, but only a couple insist that it be cut no sooner than two weeks, so I do them more often during peak growth and then go to every 2 weeks in summer when it's more appropriate.


Basically you are cutting hay. You need a bailer. :laugh: