View Full Version : Cutting Height

08-16-2000, 08:29 PM
How low do you guys cut your lawns? I had somebody tell me I was cutting too high. For any of you Toro 21" mower users I'm cutting on deck setting "C". Is that too high? I figure any lower and lawns will burn up here. Thanks guys.

08-16-2000, 08:33 PM
I cut with my toro on "e" or whatever the highest setting is.

08-16-2000, 08:37 PM
Hey guys!

If you put your mower on a flat concrete pad or garage floor, etc, and measure from the floor to the bottom of the blade that will give you a pretty accurate measure of your cut. I always cut at 3". Its easier for me to keep green and stripes a lot better.

But different areas call for different looks!
You have to get specific info from someone in your region/climate.

Hope this Helps!

08-16-2000, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by Scag48
I had somebody tell me I was cutting too high.

They obviously want you to scalp it to dirt so they want have to pay you to do it as often.

Two types of customers:

A. Likes their lawn and landscape and wants it to look good.

B. Thinks grass is evil and must be stopped.

Stay away from B

08-16-2000, 09:03 PM
Great post Keith! You hit it on the head!! Thats another good reason to cut at 3", because it will always look like it needs a weekly cutting, even if it only needs a little trim off the top!!

08-16-2000, 09:24 PM
I had a lady tell me I was cutting too high and snakes come out of the grass. I asked her if she was the boss in this fantasyworld she lived in? So I cut it down too the ground, no more snakes, no more lawn either!

08-16-2000, 09:30 PM
Ahh yessss. The snake problem. Tell the person if they have snakes, they have a rodent problem not a grass problem. That's why the snakes are there. :D

08-16-2000, 09:45 PM
Thanks guys. Keith-It wasn't a customer, just somebody that saw me cut. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

Guido-I just measured. I'm at 2 1/8 inches. Thanks for the tip!

Accuratelawn-I usually don't cut that high becuase most of my customers want it cut lower than what you cut at. I cut at "c" at one of my customers lawns, showed up a week later and with all the heat here the grass didn't grow much. Probably about 1/4 of what it used to grow in a week. I was talking to the customer and he thought is was "fricken long" after 1 weeks growth. I sittin' here thinkin' to my self "Man, that aint long at all".

08-16-2000, 10:27 PM
Your doing right.:) I'm assuming you are around the Spokanne area, anyway, your climate is similar to the climate that we have here in the San Frnacisco area. Keep those customers happy. The downside is more watering and fertilizing requirements.

The point that I'm trying to make to the other people in this forum is just because that's the way you do things(cutting height) in your neck of the woods doesn't mean it's correct for my neck of the woods.

The grasses that I cut vary per sod farm specs. The bluegrass that I cut,they recommed keeping it between 1" to 2" and what I now use, "Dwraf Fescue with Bonsia" the best height should be no lower than 2" to 3". Hotter weather, you can cut taller,but no taller than 4".

When you use a small machine, you can cut shorter and still have a nice lawn. The only thing that not so hot is the fact that the lawns need to have more water and fertilizer. The latter, can be a money maker:D.

08-17-2000, 01:32 AM
My town is a low mow town everyone wants it scalped and don't complain if the soil shows through . Once it got real hot I sneak my 21" toros up a notch in either the front or back . I do this a couple three times over a few mows and have every one between 2" and 2 3/4" . This is mighty long around here . This mindset drives me nuts .

08-17-2000, 08:10 AM
Up here in Wisconsin we have cool season turf, KY blue and fescue mix with some rye. It looks good at 2.5 in the summer but only if it rains or you have an irrigation system. 3" is really standard for here from june thru mid september. It can look good at lower settings but only the golf course managers have the time and money for that so I like to go walk on it sometimes. (a business expense).

Do what works for you and your customers but know what your cutting. Good Luck.

08-17-2000, 08:58 AM
Most of mine are at 4 to 4.5in. even bermuda is up to 3.in.
when it gets cooler will take back down. but looks much better now in the heat.

08-17-2000, 10:32 AM
I've been cutting around 2" for years, but edged my way up to 2.5 to 3" this summer. In the past two weeks, I've had no less than a dozen customers complain that the lawn was growing too quickly and asked it to be cut shorter. I explained all the reasons why the grass should be left high and green in the warm season and to a man (or woman), they all basically nodded understanding and asked for it to be cut lower anyway...

So, I'm cutting lower again, around 2 1/4 for most places. Things are different out this way, and people like it the way they like it. However, I plan to start edging my way upwards again slowly to try & keep 'em green... ;)


08-17-2000, 06:54 PM
TGC, I understand what your saying about they want it there way, and absolutely their the customer. I'm glad you at least tried to educate them on their bad moves.

Do they think the grass doesn't grow as fast when its short?? It grows faster!!!

I dunno, hopefully when the "next generation" moves up in the world and becomes our clients they won't be as stubborn.

We'll see I guess!! :)

08-18-2000, 12:02 AM
Not only does it brown out the lawn too early in the season, but cutting low promotes weed growth. So, the same people complaining to me in two months about a brown lawn and too many weeds are the same ones not listening to me now... ::sigh::

On the same subject, I went to cut a lawn today owned by a lady I've been trying to convince for months that we need to set it higher, with nary a budge, and she asks me today if there's anyway we could start cutting her lawn higher.

If they would just listen!

Ah, well, I nudged a couple others up higher today after relenting last week. Let 'em complain again next week about it. Eventually, they'll get the point ... won't they?? ;)


08-18-2000, 12:05 AM
Most of the time last year I was cutting at 2 3/4" but not this year. I've had to raise the decks up to 3" -3.5" because of how fast the grass is growing and mowing some of the fussy people every four days to keep the thatch buildup down.
With all the rain we've had up here,you can't even start mowing until 10am or so. And if you plan on bagging the dew isn't off the grass till after noon now and the bagger just plugs up.

08-18-2000, 01:22 AM

I'm in the Spokane area. 40 miles northeast to be exact. But I do have one day of accounts in Spokane itself. I cut all of my lawns at 3". And one at 3.5" We're in a drought here right now, even the irrigated grass is showing signs of stress. Most of the lawns I see are cut shorter than 3", and you can really see the effect of the heat and drought on them. I had a customer who I cut for at 3" want me to go shorter. Which I did, reluctantly I might add. Glad to have him out of my route. Out of nowhere he decided he had to have his lawn bagged. So I explained to him that I'd have to charge more. Well two weeks later after "shopping around", he decided on a competitor. Told me he had been very happy with my services, but couldn't afford the jump in price. The new guy would bag cheaper than I would discharge. I apologize for getting off topic a bit, but I drove by the other day, and his lawn now looks like everybody else's on his street. Scalped, and brown, with lot's of little 21" stripes. :) The new guy must be cutting down to 2". Where I had been at 3", then had to go down to 2.5"

08-19-2000, 02:58 AM
<a href="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=976030&a=7987223">
See 3 bigger different views click on me.</a>

This is a photo of a lawn that is cut at 2" on right side and on the left side, I'm guessing at 1" or a little higher. Guess which side I take care of. Both of these lawns were started from seed and have an automatic sprinkler system that I did 4 years ago. The house on the left was sold 3 months ago.
The people wanted cheap cheap cheap. They thought $35, 2 times a month was to much. Each time I do my one client, takes me no longer than 15 minutes per visit. Winter time, maybe 7 minutes. We cut 52 weeks a year.

08-19-2000, 08:27 PM
Up here in Maine I cut at 3 1/2- 4". the competition scalps at about 2". I cut my lawns weekly,theres are burnt up and only get cut bi-weekly.I guess the different types of grass around the country would be cut at different lengths. mostly Kentucky Bluegrass up here,looks good at higher settings and stripes out awsome!

08-19-2000, 11:08 PM
Most of mine are a 3 1/2 inches. A few at 3 inches. and 1 at 2 1/2 inches.

08-20-2000, 01:25 AM
Well i cut different hieghts depending and three things, first of all, if they have irrigation, second, the type of soil, and third the property owner and what they like. I cut usually at 2" for irrigated accounts, and if its been rainy, other wise i cut at 2.5" i dont like to cut any higher than 2.5 because it doesn't leave as clean of a cut. Do any of you have that same problem?

08-20-2000, 01:31 AM
Here in Maryland, the industry standard seems to be between 2 1/2 and 4 inches. I typically mow between 3 and 4 inches. It depends on the yard. A lot of my customers have zoysia and bermuda grass and some with some tall fescue types. It seems that most of mine have the zoysia and bermuda grass. That seems to need the higher mowing height because our mowers will scalp, especially with the lumpy, bumpy-type yards. I know some other contractors who mow at 2" or maybe 2 1/2" but it always looks scalped and the grass doesn't recover in normal weather conditions. But...because we seem to be in a monsoon, it doesn't really matter this year. Some of my customers want me to mow down to the dirt. Can't do that. I tell them that will promote weed growth and can kill their grass. They don't care. If it's over their toes, they think it's a jungle. Well, I don't care...I won't mow under 3" typically. If they want their grass to be dirt, find someone else to mow their dirt!

08-20-2000, 09:08 PM
Here in central Michigan, we're cutting at 3.25 to 3.5 in. With all the rain we are getting, the ones that are cut at 3.5 are growing too fast. I just can't get on top of them. (I'm TRYING!) I'm just about to go down to 3 in. though. I want to be able to walk through these places! Note: 3.25 height is actually 3.5 setting on mowers because of double blade setup.

08-20-2000, 11:53 PM
I decide on lawn heights when I get there. If it hasn't rained(Ya right!!) I cut higher. I cut to the height that the lawn lets me. If it looks good, thats the right height. I normally cut between 3 and 3.5. There exceptions both ways though.

08-21-2000, 01:30 PM

I started using the double blade setup with a formed blade on the bottom and a straight gator on top, which puts the blades at the same height. Nifty !


08-21-2000, 06:10 PM
Where did you get a formed blade??

08-22-2000, 06:19 AM

The formed blade is what came on the mower (bobcat 48 purchased used) but I have seen them advertised at http://www.proparts.com/. They are shaped with the sharpened part of the blade higher than the blade bolt ( like a shallow "u").


08-22-2000, 08:23 PM
Your gator blade would STILL be cutting 2 1/4" increments below the spindle which would put your actual height 1/4" below what 1 normal blade would be. Or so it would seem.

[Edited by Runner on 08-23-2000 at 05:11 AM]

08-23-2000, 07:52 AM

I'll double check and get back to you.