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View Full Version : do you ever cut it shorter? part 2


bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 04:59 PM
i asked this question a while back, and everyone said no, never, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do u have to cut it shorter for the well being of the turf. i disagree, STRONGLY, and i'll tell you what MY EXPERIENCE has taught me: this is for my grass types in new jersey, i don't know anything about that crap you boys grow elsewhere. i picked up a group of lawns, all neighbors. tuff, tuff area. most of the yards were sunny in the front, and shaded in the back, MOST, but not all. reguardless of the exposure, they all had the same story. this was for the back yards only: " we seed in the fall, the lawn comes in nice, in spring it looks nice too, but by june it's shot, and we have to repeat the proccess every year. we have been through numerous services, and learned to accept this, so just add thatching and seeding into the program on a yearly basis." i didn't buy the "there is no answer" explanation. so, year one, did programs as usual, the result was just as they had said. lawn in back was dead, all of them, by june. now, not all of them were shady, some had partial sun, and the front lawns, some were shady, some full sun, but in the front, they all held up nicely all season. i don't get it, same soil, same fert program, same exposure. i have succesfully maintained lawns in heavy shade areas, so i wasn't buying the "too much shade" crap that the others told them, and once again, not all of them had heavy shade in the back. what on earth is causing this? one hot muggy day, i was there mowing on one of the yards that was sunny in front, but shady in back. after mowing the front, i went in the back, OH MY GOD, it's sooo much hotter back here, but why? this is shady, and the front is sunny, shouldn't i feel cooler in the shade? i felt like i was standing inside a box, suffocating, no air. WAIT, I WAS!! all of these properties had the same thing in common. the house was blocking all air movement from one side, wooden fences bordered the properties on the right and left side, and a hedge for privacy along the back. it was like i was standing inside a cardboard box, there was no air movement whatsoever. so, i started noticing that, because there was no air flow, these lawns would be wet, all the time. even if the client didn't water, ever, as late as 2-3 in the afternoon, the lawn in the back was still wet from the morning dew. this caused the grass plants, even at hieghts of only 3 inches, to be top heavy from the never drying moisture, and "fold over", and slowly suffocate itself. i started noticing more and more lawns that had this "boxed in" situation, having the same problems. the problem was LACK OF AIR FLOW. how did i correct it? number 1: tell the client not to water these areas, EVER. the lack of air flow combined with the dew in the morning, and whatever rain we got, was more than enough to give the grass whatever moisture it needed. number 2: i mowed it at a height of 2-2.5 inches, and mowed much slower in these areas to get some lift. in some cases even cut these areas twice a week. that's my story, and i'm sticking to it

Lawn-Scapes
08-30-2004, 05:32 PM
Makes sense to me...

Did it correct the problem.. 100% improvement?

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 05:34 PM
absolutely. problem solved

Lawn-Scapes
08-30-2004, 05:42 PM
Though I will probably not run into this situation.. thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. :)

How does it feel?

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 05:44 PM
terrible, i feel, so, well, violated, i can't explain it

Lawn-Scapes
08-30-2004, 05:46 PM
Don't worry... it'll get easier

rodfather
08-30-2004, 05:47 PM
BG

What happends if ya can't mow that short cause you will scalp alot in trying to mow that low??? I agree with your assessment of the "cardboard box" syndrome, but I have lawns thay if I go lower than 3", crap (turf, etc.) will be flying everywhere...not to mention the damage to my blades and possibly breaking a window.

EastProLawn
08-30-2004, 06:04 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
absolutely. problem solved U are Da Man, Bobby :D

txlawnking
08-30-2004, 06:10 PM
Very informative Mr. Gedd. Thanks...

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:10 PM
ahhh, that's another can of worms rod. on my properties around here, they are tiny back yards, i grab the 21", lower it, and do the job. those football fields you mow, that's a different story

CJ GreenScapes
08-30-2004, 06:12 PM
boxed in? That means that when I am in the woods hunting, surrounded by timber, I should be hotter than if I was standing in the field? and all of the undergrowth should be soaking wet? Well, that is just not the case for me. What am I missing?

Fareway Lawncare
08-30-2004, 06:17 PM
If a lawn is not being watered it won't make much difference if it's cut @ 2.5" or 4".....People who don't water don't care enough to tell if their 4" cut lawn looks slightly healthier....To them it just Looks Brown & Shaggy instead of Brown & Neat....

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:19 PM
cj, take an old refrigerator box. place it in the middle of the lawn. top and bottom removed of course. leave it there 24/7. move it only for a few seconds and put it right back after you mow that strip. tell me what happens to that area of turf after 3 months. and your woods thing, it's probably winter when u hunt. harder to notice heat and humidity in winter/fall. i bowhunted, in sept when the humidity is high, yes it is in fact hotter in the woods, where air flow is limited.

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:21 PM
fareway, you're missing the point. these folks DID WATER, and because of the environment, watering was actually part of the problem

CJ GreenScapes
08-30-2004, 06:26 PM
Bobby, some of my customers already have refrigerator boxes in their yards, along with some old pic-ups on blocks, but I don't think they'll like me messing with their decor...

I spend time in the woods year-round, in the scorching Southern heat. I can tell you that it is definitely cooler in the middle of a big timber draw than in the middle of a field. Funny thing is, I don't care how deep you go, the air is till moving. If 30ft tall white oaks and huge narly pines covered in kudzu won't stop the air, do you think a little privacy fence is?

Sorry Bobby, I just don't see it.

Trevors Lawn Care
08-30-2004, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
fareway, you're missing the point. these folks DID WATER, and because of the environment, watering was actually part of the problem

Not a bad bit of information. Havnt noticed that at all on any of my properties. I will keep this info stored in my vast hole between my ears

trevor

Mark Lawncare
08-30-2004, 06:33 PM
So wouldn't the real solution be to give the lawn more air moving around on top of it?

leadarrows
08-30-2004, 06:36 PM
Comparing the air flow in NJ to that of a woods? Nah I don't think I can go along with that one. Those yards are a box in a box if you think about it. His success is more proof than any theory we might have. I think Bobby got this one. Dew wet till 3 is extreme though I'd like to see some pictures of one or two of these yards if that's possible.

Liberty Lawncare
08-30-2004, 06:36 PM
Interesting. What helped more stoping watering or cutting lower?
I also think the woods is cooler than a field. But would definatley say the woods is much more moist.

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:37 PM
cj, perhaPS the woods, and boxed in back yard is different. do you think the environment i described, fenced in on 2 sides, house, and hedge bordering property, will NOT effect air flow? do u think standing inside a box will effect your air flow? yes sslc, but how would you do that? you'd have to take down the fences, or the hedges, or the house...

Liberty Lawncare
08-30-2004, 06:39 PM
Originally posted by SSLC
So wouldn't the real solution be to give the lawn more air moving around on top of it?
Now bobby will be selling huge fans to his customers. Be carefull you dont blow away all that firtilizer (kitty litter) ok bob.:D

Lawn-Scapes
08-30-2004, 06:41 PM
I'm sure it was a combo of both.. cutting it shorter will definitely allow more air to the soil.

Mark Lawncare
08-30-2004, 06:44 PM
Bobby; you could make a killing putting ceiling fans over those peoples yards.

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:44 PM
lead, i will post a pic of a new neighbor on this block that finally caved and hired me. i will be thatching and seeding her property this week. i'll take a before picture (it looks like hell) and a picture of the environment surrounding the lawn. liberty, the woods thing i guess can't compare. but i will tell you, the lack of air flow is what made these lawns stay wet from the dew, hours, and hours after it should have burned off. if you had a flood in the basement, what would make it dry faster, a fan ( providing air flow) or a heat lamp? the combination of mowing shorter, and stop watering, went hand in hand contributing to the success

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:47 PM
no lawnscapes, cutting shorter prevented the grass plants from being top heavy, and folding over from the weight of the dew. not to mention, a small rain, these areas would remain wet for days

fga
08-30-2004, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
lead, i will post a pic of a new neighbor on this block that finally caved and hired me. bobby,
i never saw you post a picture. have any of a crazy lady cursing you out? :)

trying 2b organic
08-30-2004, 08:21 PM
Wow, that story blew my mind. I have seen the same problem in the same circumstance and it will be easy, using the irrigation timing, to test your theory. Great info. The only question I have is technical, what actually killed the grass? Fungus? Rot? Heat? The thing you said that really made me sit up is when you talked about the fold over, I have that, in small back lawns totally fenced in. I never knew what to make of it, customer blaming the mower but its top notch with sharp blade.
Plus if i may, do you cleanup after de-thatch, I often sell aeration and overseed to make the price more palitable. ty.

trying 2b organic
08-30-2004, 08:25 PM
btw my solution for the fold over was try cut higher, no suprise that didnt work i guess

Minnesota mower king
08-30-2004, 09:50 PM
rodfather

Make a double cut on the lawn and it will look 2 times as good. If you have your blades 3" you should be fine... Just double cut it and it will help or frame it all up.

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 10:06 PM
trying2b, the "fold over" is caused because the grass always has moisture to it, due to lack of air flow. this makes the blades top heavy(from the weight of the moisture). it folds over, and suffocates itself little by little, kind of like if u left clumps of grass on the lawn, they would damage the turf, same thing. by cutting shorter, you eliminate fold over, because shorter grass can't "fold over". it just stands straight up, like when a man gets a crew cut on his hair.

Eric 1
08-30-2004, 10:10 PM
Hey, i knew BG had SOME knowledge up there.

Good job.

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 10:26 PM
thank you eric, and somehow i feel like it costs me money when i share info.

dishboy
08-30-2004, 10:42 PM
This is a no brainer, duh , if the grass is is laying over, lower the mower, the shorter you mow the the more dense the turf becomes. 2.5 inches is really not near the low end of cool season grass mowing tolerance range as most recommedations from University's say 2.5 to 3.0 inches for summer and 2.0 to 2.5 inches spring and fall. I am at 2.5 inches now.

corey
08-30-2004, 11:05 PM
I can see your point bobby. I experience the same type situations here in NC on a select few yards and I have gone to 2.75 and kept the customers amazed at the quality of there yard now from previous lawn care providers stand strong some people just aren't open minded enought to know there are many regions and situations that make areas different and to each his own type of solution.

bobbygedd
08-31-2004, 12:44 AM
dishboy, DUHHHH, when i posted this question 2 months ago, you, and 100 others said no, there is never a condition where you should cut the grass shorter. duhhh, you needed a university to learn how to cut grass?

dishboy
08-31-2004, 01:48 AM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
dishboy, DUHHHH, when i posted this question 2 months ago, you, and 100 others said no, there is never a condition where you should cut the grass shorter. duhhh, you needed a university to learn how to cut grass?

BooBy, I never responded to your thread two months ago, there are multiple reasons and times cutting short is benifical. I have been mowing cool season grasses below three inches for twenty four years, and never looked at any University recommedations until this year after I was called a scrub for saying I cut 2.25 inches in April by one of lawnsite's resident geniuses. You can now take your foot out of your mouth......DUHHH

matthew horner
08-31-2004, 02:04 AM
here we go again.

LAWNS AND MOWER
08-31-2004, 02:17 AM
I mow cool season grasses and always lower the blades in the spring and fall, 2.25 inches. Encourages new growth.

dishboy
08-31-2004, 02:20 AM
Originally posted by matthew horner
here we go again.


Isn't that the point of Booby's threads?

Big M LawnnSnow
08-31-2004, 06:47 AM
Sounds like you came up with a good solution for a problem I'm seeing on a new account I have.
Thanks for the idea.

bobbygedd
08-31-2004, 08:54 AM
dishboy, the point behind THIS thread, was to help some of the others who are having the problems i've seen, and can't figure out why it's happening, or what the solution is. i highly doubt you are cutting lower for the reasons i explained, and i truly believe that faced with these clients lawn problems, you'd end up on the list of " the other guys who couldn't figure it out."

GreenMonster
08-31-2004, 09:00 AM
Bobby,

Thanks for sharing....... finally.

:D

dishboy
08-31-2004, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
dishboy, the point behind THIS thread, was to help some of the others who are having the problems i've seen, and can't figure out why it's happening, or what the solution is. i highly doubt you are cutting lower for the reasons i explained, and i truly believe that faced with these clients lawn problems, you'd end up on the list of " the other guys who couldn't figure it out."


Your right Booby, you are the only one here who has enough experiance and brains to troubleshoot a problem.

bobbygedd
08-31-2004, 11:00 AM
NOW you are makin sense son. see ya later, goin fishin

Lawn-Scapes
08-31-2004, 07:41 PM
So... cutting it shorter does not allow more air and light (how ever little there is) to filter down to the soil? :confused:

bobbygedd
08-31-2004, 08:52 PM
perhaps lawnscapes, but that is not my point. cutting it shorter was for one reason, and one reason only: the lack of air flow kept the lawn from drying after rain, and from morning dew. this moisture made the grass top heavy, which caused folding over. if you cut at "standard heights" (3.5-4") within a couple days, it was high, which made the top heavy/folding over thing occur. cutting at say 2.5", then returning every 4 days or so and cutting again, kept it short, and minimized fold over.