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Old 09-05-2013, 10:39 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: District 9 CA
Posts: 18,365
Originally Posted by ChiTownAmateur View Post
There's a simple way to see this and understand the fix:

Cutting it higher, means that it will grow deeper roots. Grass height gives an approximation of root depth. Deeper roots means it can get water deeper down and survive the hot weather. Therefore, you want deeper roots, and must cut higher all year round. With cold season grasses, 2-1/2" in spring and fall, 3-4" in summer at it's hottest.
In an unrestricted soil, grasses can develop roots well beyond 12" depth. Even in a restrictive soil (ex. heavy clay) I have seen roots beyond 12". That said, a higher cut will generally allow for more extensive root growth during the appropriate time of season (spring/fall for cool season grasses). While I wouldn't say this without site verification, you may be able to very loosely correlate height of cut to effective rooting depth during the summer for cool season grasses.

More importantly, a higher cut allows the turf to better manage heat through transpirational cooling, so a higher cut cool season turf in the heat of summer will usually tend to look better for a longer period of time than a lower cut turf under the same conditions.

Originally Posted by ChiTownAmateur View Post
Roots are always growing and replenishing, but tend to stop in the hottest weather.
This is true for cool season grasses.

Originally Posted by ChiTownAmateur View Post
Therefore when you have a low cut grass and shallow roots (because you have cut it short all year), the grass cannot get water from anywhere except on the surface where the roots are. With deeper roots, it pulls water from deeper in the soil and can survive hot weather much longer. As warm weather approaches, raise your cutting height from 2-1/2" to 3 or even 4". When the cool weather returns later in the year, return back to 2-1/2".
This is generally true, but you have to be careful here as a consistently low cut turf may have a more shallow root system for reasons other than cut height.

Originally Posted by ChiTownAmateur View Post
Crabgrass doesn't grow well in a thick stand of grass. And if the stand is tall, it is even harder for the crabgrass to compete. Therefore, a well-grown lawn that is cut to a higher height in summer and has filled in over a season or two will make crabgrass much less prevalent. You can't beat hand-pulling it also as it is very effective, albeit time consuming.
I agree on hand pulling any weed, particularly when you see it going to seed. A good thick stand of turf will keep the weed problem to a minimum making hand pulling a viable weed control tactic.

Originally Posted by ChiTownAmateur View Post
You pros keep the squables to a minimum! Just give the homeowners basic advice and let them go back to enjoying their pool!
The OP needs to rezone and manage his irrigation according to site conditions and plant demand. Having to over irrigate one area in order to barely irrigate another is indicative of a poorly designed irrigation system.
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