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Brown areas...It pays to examine the mower

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by americanlawn, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,859

    My first stop was just behind our office today. He complained of brown areas. Since grubworms are hitting hard right now, I ran this service call right away. Turns out, he was mowing at 1 1/2 inches and less. High spots were mowed as low as 1/4 inch. He said his John Deere belly mower was set at the highest setting.:laugh: So we went into his garage and checked out his 54" belly mower.

    Turns out, his deck was set terribly low....the front end of the mowing deck was set at 1 1/2 inches. The rear was set at 1/2 inch.

    I ended up adjusting his deck to mow evenly (adjusting the guide wheels as well). Plus, he was NOT on the highest setting that he claimed to be.:laugh:

    Anybody else running in to this?
  2. indyturf

    indyturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Posts: 1,877

    I had a customer complaining about the color of their lawn. when I checked it out it looked shredded! they said they just had the blade sharpened so I looked at the blade and found:dizzy: it was on backwards!!
  3. gregory

    gregory LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,068

    sorry guys i am not in the buiness...but i see all kinds of people down here that mow so low they hit dirt.....its funny they put that deck on like grading level.....
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I keep telling the guys don't cut too short and don't cut too often!
    It's all too common for an Lco to get stuck in that mind rut of 'weekly' cuts, once a week whether it needs it or not.
    But once the temps hit 80-85 and higher, watch out.

    I'd say 9 out of 10 brown spot complaints I hear are due to too low and / or too frequent cutting.
    Not that I'm perfect, but as soon as I see a few spots I back off some kind of way, that almost always helps.
  5. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Posts: 711

    a large landscape maintenance company subs the fert to us

    they have some very high end accounts, both residential and commercial. Their foreman calls me and says we have been burning their lawns!

    of course I go right out and meet him on site, happened to be a commercial location.
    They use Scag mowers (pretty sure they are scag...yellow decks) anyway the freakin exhaust on those things are larger than a volkswagons! AND they are directed towards the turf.

    Every time they stop the machine to empty the grass catcher the machine sits there running. Large circular exhaust burns all over the place.

    Foreman thinks I'm full of it! Sooooooo, I have him start a machine...show him the turf as it is shaking like we are in a hurricane! He STILL thinks I'm just making excuses. I ask him if its possible to meet back out at that site in 2 days? and he says sure.

    Lo and behold in the same exact location I had him start the machine is a new circular burn.

    They have done some modifications so the exhaust shoots slightly upward...problem solved.

    Same commercial sites...along the parking lot lots of circular burn spots. I ask him to please notice how most of the cars there back into the parkin spot. You get a young lady (or man, whatever) start up their car...apply lipstick...tune in the radio...make a cell phone call...and that exhaust will scorch the turf. The site now has signs for their emplyees to pull straight into the parking spot, no more backing in.

    Tellin ya, you got to be more than just an applicator in this business. You also need to be an investigator
  6. Leaf Jockey

    Leaf Jockey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 360

    Similar situation here recently. A customer asks me to come out and look at what he thinks is a grub problem(because they think everything is a grub problem this year). Dead grass spots only on the one slope in his yard and ends at the lot line. I ask to see his mower and point out the cracked gas cap.
    You're right about having to be an investigator.

  7. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,859

    I always offer to inspect the homeowner's lawn mower. They usually say okay. So I check for dull blades ans especually MOWING HEIGHT. I have never seen a customer's mower set at the proper height! Always way too short. Sometimes as little as a quarter inch can make a difference, but usually they're mowing at least an inch or more too short. I mow my lawn at 3 1/2 to 4 inches.........no crabgrass, no dead areas, and it stays green!
  8. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 724

    Good catch, that would be an easy one to miss.

    I like the old homeowner trick of walking through the planter beds spraying round-up then walking accross the lawn :).

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