View Full Version : Cutting shorter for last cut?

11-13-2004, 06:23 PM
So, I'm cutting an account today and I was just finishing up with the mowing, getting the trimmer ready. The customer comes out and asks me to cut it shorter. I told him that I have just finished cutting, but I will do it for an extra charge however I will not scalp the lawn. He says ok so I fire up the mower again, drop the deck down 1 inch and start cutting.

I'm cutting the lawn, grass flying everywhere, neighbors looking at me thinking "What the hell are you doing?". I look forward and go as fast as I can. Finish up, lawn looks terrible so I take the blower to spread some clippings out to make it look nicer, clean his driveway and his neighbors driveway since they both have grass clippings on it from me. I'm in and out in 45 minutes, I charged him $75. He accepts and pays me on the spot.

Now, my main question is do any of you cut shorter for the last cut? This is the first time Iíve done it and was wondering if it benefits the grass at all...


11-13-2004, 06:27 PM
Yes, on the last cut we definitely cut it shorter. On lawns that we normally cut at 4 inch, we take it down to 3 inches. Lawns that we normally cut at 3 inches, the final cut gets 2 1/2 inches.

11-13-2004, 06:33 PM
I always do.

11-13-2004, 06:36 PM
'Shorter', yes

'Scalp', no

11-13-2004, 06:38 PM
REALLY NOT SUPPOSED to do that with cool season grasses. Never cut more than 1/3rd of blade. It is important to not let grass get too long prior to snow fall, so it does not get "snow mold" from being smashed down & damp for a couple of months. However, it is equally bad to cut too much of blade off. Don't believe me? Go to PURDUE TURF web site. This is what Dr. Zac Reicher says!

Now that being said. ALOT of clients will REQUEST that yard be cutter shorter on last cut. I will maybe knock it down 1/4 an inch from normal. Definitely will not scalp it!


11-13-2004, 09:21 PM
Most lawns in the summer get cut around 3-3.25. Normaly a month or so before I will stop I start lowering the blades down .25" each cut. I will not cut shorter than 2" and will not scalp.

11-13-2004, 09:46 PM
I do it pretty much like Stevesmowing dos it.

11-13-2004, 09:50 PM
No .............

11-13-2004, 09:53 PM
Most lawns in the summer get cut around 3-3.25. Normaly a month or so before I will stop I start lowering the blades down .25" each cut. I will not cut shorter than 2" and will not scalp.

Ditto here. I start lowering my height every week starting about three weeks before my estimated last cut. I have found that it comes back nicely in the spring and blowing of leaves is much easier.


11-13-2004, 10:33 PM
Absolutely not. It's unhealthy for cool season grasses. Not only that but the shorter the grass the more likely you'll have problems with weeds/crabgrass germinating in the spring before the lawn comes out of dormancy.

11-13-2004, 10:33 PM
like I said before in another post there is pro's and cons to cutting it shorter. By cutting shorter you decrease the chance for disease, ie snow mold, during the winter months. But by cutting it shorter you are decreasing the area of the blade, thus the blade can not gain more energy for winter by the means of photosyntheisis

11-13-2004, 11:38 PM
Always start mowing lower starting in October dropping a little every week but not scalping.

Envy Lawn Service
11-14-2004, 01:52 AM
I've just learned to relax and go with the flow of growth. It's the best choice for me, the turf and my equipment. But if I had a customer wanting it shortened some more and was willing to pay the extra... well I'd probably do it just that one time if the customer insisted even after some education. This could be their last interaction with you for the year and could make all the difference when it comes time to re-sign them.

11-14-2004, 02:43 AM
I cut most lawns shorter at the end of the season for several of the reasons listed by others here: less winter fungus, leaves blow off easier. I am cutting most lawns at 2 1/4" to 2 1/2", down from 3" in the heat of the summer.

But there is another big reason to cut the Bermuda and Zoysia lawns down a little, one that I don't tell my customers. In the spring we scalp warm season grasses, and there is a huge volume of clippings to haul off. If I have already removed 1/2" in the fall, that makes quite a difference in how much time the scalping takes.

But scalping in the fall is a no-no, because of 2 reasons: with sunlight able to reach more of the soil surface, there would be a lot more winter germinating weeds. Second, this part of the country is in the transition zone between warm season and cool season grasses, and some winters are pretty hard on Bermuda lawns. Scalping before winter would be removing the insulating layer that helps Bermuda survive the winter here.

I also cut cool season grasses at 2 1/4" to 2 1/2" this time of year just because I think it makes the lawns look a little tidier.

11-14-2004, 08:04 AM
We have similar growing conditions and I do the final cuts lower but I never would knock an inch off without bagging it. The reason we get away with side discharging and mulching during the season is that the warmer weather accellerates the breakdown of the clippings. Leaving the clippings all over the lawn late in the season invites disease because they dont have the chance to decompose before winter hits.
There are pros and cons to the shorter cut but I slowly lower the deck as the season winds down and all of my lawns are in great shape. I never go lower than 2" with most being in between 2 and 2.5. It reduces the amount of leeaves that sit on the lawn and it also is a deterrent to the little voles that like to make tunnels in a nice thick lawn for the winter. I am sure you ahve seen those little paths carved by those buggers in some of the thicker lawns.
If you gotta make a mess then you are gonna have to bag it. It is the healthiest thing for the lawn and you can charge more for the bagging after you teach your customer why you have to bag it. Good Luck.

Freshcut Lawn Care
11-14-2004, 08:55 AM
Like many have stated before...we also cut it shorter at seasons end; without scalping for many of the same reasons listed! :rolleyes:

11-14-2004, 09:52 AM
If the customer is straight weekly, we tell our guys to lower to be sure they know we were there, & it works out at for those that think it should be short at the end of the season.

However many of our customers go bi-weekly at the end of the season & are the same ones that call for the last mow to be short. We tell them that is a reason to continue weekly at the end of the season!

11-15-2004, 08:52 PM
I'm just getting in to the lawncare and snow removal thing but in my yard for advice i go to www. scotts.com and they say to cut it any wear from 2 1/2 to a 1 1/2 for the winter to protect from winter mold and it helps in earlier spring green up this is the first year doing anything to my lawn but i've always followed what scotts said and it turned my lawn from dead and weedy to green and healthy have to cut it twice a week now

11-15-2004, 09:00 PM
We start cutting shorter the whole month of October. This is when the temps tend to drop up here, and the lawn doesn' have as much growth on it. :)