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Old 05-18-2013, 09:53 PM
macgyver_GA macgyver_GA is offline
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Southern guys, Bermuda discussion thread

Seems like we are a minority on this forum so I thought I would start a discussion specific to Bermuda grass varieties.

Personally, All of my customer's are hybrid Bermuda (419). My personal lawn is also the same.

What are your best practices? App timings? what products do you use depending on the time of year? Preferred mowing heights for customers? What things have you done that you regret or products that have failed? Do you apply preventative pesticides for insects or only on an as needed basis? When do you prefer to Aerate?

I started reeling my personal lawn this year and I'm really impressed with the turf density so far and we're not even at the peak of Bermuda due to the cooler temps we've had this spring. I can't wait to see how it looks in another month when we're getting into peak growth.

Obviously reeling is the best way to mow Bermuda but then there's reality that many customers aren't willing to pay for it since it's a common turf around here and installed in houses of many price ranges so we have to mow it a little less frequent and a little higher than preferred. I personally start the season at 1.5" on weekly customers and raise it up to 2" towards the heat of the summer.

Let's get something going here to create a reference point for others.
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:58 PM
greendoctor greendoctor is offline
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How low are you mowing on your own lawn? Low mowing heights serve as a natural growth suppressant. I also take a look at N source and frequency of application. Keeping bermuda at a low height of cut is a bit more expensive than rough cutting it, but the appearance is there.
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:10 PM
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inzane inzane is online now
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I have a hard time getting my customers to mow every week, and then they wonder why the lawn looks like poo. Its gonna be a long summer. On my own lawn, its every 3 to 5 days or it just doesn't look as good. But as i probably won't have time to mow my own that frequently i will go atleast every week. People are either to cheap or lazy to have the lawn mowed each week it seems. Plenty of customers want the golf course look without the effort or cost of proper maintenance. I'd like to someday reel mow my own bermuda as well, i am gonna have to get my lawn leveled first because its so bumpy. For now, i mow it on the high side with my honda 21" and it looks alright. I get it just low enough to where i don't scalp a bunch of areas. can't wait for this warm weather, bermudas really looking bad here now. I see a few looking good here and there though.. I have seen alot of people burning the bermuda this year in my area, and that has seemed to turn out well for those folks.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:15 PM
macgyver_GA macgyver_GA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greendoctor View Post
How low are you mowing on your own lawn? Low mowing heights serve as a natural growth suppressant. I also take a look at N source and frequency of application. Keeping bermuda at a low height of cut is a bit more expensive than rough cutting it, but the appearance is there.
Right now I'm at about 1/2" (2nd notch from the bottom on my tru-cut) mowing twice a week. This is my first year reeling it. In early April, I took it down as low as my 21" Snapper rotary would go and bagged it. Then Reeled it as low as the tru-cut would go. Then raked it with a leaf rake to lift up the stems (due to higher cutting heights last year) then mowed again with the rotary to bag the remaining stems. My lawn is still kinda bumpy, I plan on top dressing with river sand in a few weeks. I've slowly top dressed low spots over the years since I've been here (since '07) but it needs a total top dress to really get it "pool table flat".

On my personal lawn I'm experimenting with doing N apps every 30 days as opposed to the every 6 week apps I do on customer lawns to see how it does. We're still kinda cool here and haven't broken into the 80's much other than a few days and night time temps still aren't ideal yet for the Bermuda to do its best. We're suppose to see night time temps in the upper 60's early next week so that'll help. Tonight was kinda warm and I could feel more humidity in the air.

I agree on the appearance piece, I love the look so far and we're not even near peak growing season yet. I've already gotten a few "wow it looks like a golf course fairway" from neighbors.


Quote:
Originally Posted by inzane View Post
I have a hard time getting my customers to mow every week, and then they wonder why the lawn looks like poo. Its gonna be a long summer. On my own lawn, its every 3 to 5 days or it just doesn't look as good. But as i probably won't have time to mow my own that frequently i will go atleast every week. People are either to cheap or lazy to have the lawn mowed each week it seems. Plenty of customers want the golf course look without the effort or cost of proper maintenance. I'd like to someday reel mow my own bermuda as well, i am gonna have to get my lawn leveled first because its so bumpy. For now, i mow it on the high side with my honda 21" and it looks alright. I get it just low enough to where i don't scalp a bunch of areas. can't wait for this warm weather, bermudas really looking bad here now. I see a few looking good here and there though.. I have seen alot of people burning the bermuda this year in my area, and that has seemed to turn out well for those folks.
Do you provide any written brochures/pamphlets for your customers that don't have you mow? I put together a "Bermuda fact sheet" for my customers that covers the basics of mowing, irrigation, Bermuda facts, and links to web resources (uga's site and Walter reeves' site). Whether or not they actually read it, lol who knows but at least they have something in writing.

I also do the mowing on 90% of my customers so I can keep that piece done properly. I won't accept a customer who wants bi-weekly mowing.

Last edited by macgyver_GA; 05-18-2013 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:19 PM
macgyver_GA macgyver_GA is offline
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Got my roller from Reelworks the other day and put it on the tru cut. I like it! It helps when cutting along the edge of my beds so I don't drop a wheel in the bed and scalp it. It also adds some weight to the front end so it doesn't pop a wheelie as badly when I engage the drive.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:28 PM
greendoctor greendoctor is offline
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For your lawn, it might be worth it to consider a golf course style liquid program. Low rates of soluble fertilizers and Primo applied every 30 days. I do break out the Primo on any lawn that grows too much between mowings. BTW, the convention in Hawaii is for lawns to be mowed every 2 weeks. Some lawns, due to generous watering, better than normal soil and/or full sun all day cannot stay within those boundaries. 0.25 oz Primo added to the liquid fertilizer fixes that. A lawn hit with 1+ lb of N from slow release will always overgrow. Hence my preference for low rates of nitrate and ammonium nitrogen applied at 30 day intervals. I remember one zoysia lawn a "landsaper" threw 24-2-10 on. That lawn grew 6" per week every week for the next 2 months. What you apply as fertilizer and how much has a large part in determining whether the lawn will need daily or every other day mowing. The last time I ever sprayed 0.5 lb of N from urea, that lawn overgrew between mowings. Other people have done the same thing applying 1 lb of N from 21-0-0.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:30 PM
greendoctor greendoctor is offline
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Hit post too soon. In hot weather, when it is not necessary to push growth, bermuda in a home lawn might not need more than 1/4 lb of N every 30 days. Want more color? Use micronutrients.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:37 PM
macgyver_GA macgyver_GA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greendoctor View Post
For your lawn, it might be worth it to consider a golf course style liquid program. Low rates of soluble fertilizers and Primo applied every 30 days. I do break out the Primo on any lawn that grows too much between mowings. BTW, the convention in Hawaii is for lawns to be mowed every 2 weeks. Some lawns, due to generous watering, better than normal soil and/or full sun all day cannot stay within those boundaries. 0.25 oz Primo added to the liquid fertilizer fixes that. A lawn hit with 1+ lb of N from slow release will always overgrow. Hence my preference for low rates of nitrate and ammonium nitrogen applied at 30 day intervals. I remember one zoysia lawn a "landsaper" threw 24-2-10 on. That lawn grew 6" per week every week for the next 2 months. What you apply as fertilizer and how much has a large part in determining whether the lawn will need daily or every other day mowing. The last time I ever sprayed 0.5 lb of N from urea, that lawn overgrew between mowings. Other people have done the same thing applying 1 lb of N from 21-0-0.
I have thought about going liquid on mine with frequent lower rate apps. I'm still hesitant on customer lawns because none of them have irrigation systems and they pretty much rely on rainfall for irrigation needs. I don't have an in ground system on my lawn but I have a "Jerry rigged" system of hoses and gear drive heads I setup on a programmable timer to irrigate when needed.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:43 PM
greendoctor greendoctor is offline
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1/4 lb of N applied in 2-5 gallons of mix is not enough to fry a non irrigated lawn. Those high rate mixes I posted are only for lawns that I can be spraying ahead of each zone as it comes on. Being there every 30 days also enables you to keep an eye on things. I still cannot get how a lawn can be maintained weed, disease, and insect free when it is only looked at once every 60-90 days. Me walking a lawn to put down the liquid mix is when I am also inspecting it for trouble.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:48 PM
macgyver_GA macgyver_GA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greendoctor View Post
1/4 lb of N applied in 2-5 gallons of mix is not enough to fry a non irrigated lawn. Those high rate mixes I posted are only for lawns that I can be spraying ahead of each zone as it comes on. Being there every 30 days also enables you to keep an eye on things. I still cannot get how a lawn can be maintained weed, disease, and insect free when it is only looked at once every 60-90 days. Me walking a lawn to put down the liquid mix is when I am also inspecting it for trouble.
I agree with you. Fortunately, since I mow 90% of my turf care customers, I'm on the lawn once a week and can spot potential problems. Part of the whole 60 day model is just customer perception of how things have always been done around here.
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