Common bermuda Cutting Height

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Meier, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    What is the best cutting height for common Bermuda? All the university web sights indicate 3/4" to 1-1/2". Some recommend as high as 2", but most seem to recommend no higher than 1-1/2".

    All the LCO's in my area are cutting around 3" I'd guess.

    I've just finished scalping all the lawns I do at the lowest setting, which is 1-1/4" on my Ferris. I figured I would gradually raise the cutting height during the early part of the season to 3" or so, but now I'm wondering about all those university recommendations.

    If I'm not going to violate the 1/3 of grass blade rule, I'll almost have to cut higher than 1-1/2" or 2", considering that I only mow my lawns once a week. After they're hit with nitrogen and the weather warms up, and if the water is right, they'll almost need mowing twice a week, even at a 3" cutting height.

    Any advice from experienced bermuda lawn cutters is appreciated.

    DFW, TX
  2. I mow Burmuda at 3-4". thick lush, green, and helthy as can be.

    Some I mow shorter those are thin and fry once it get's hot n dry.
    Brown patches are Zoysia. Munis under the tree, most of the rest of the green is Burmuda.

    fg 6.jpg
  3. I agree with LGF, the higher the better. Especially when it gets hot and dry. But the customer is the boss. If the lawn is big, short cuts look sparse. There are different strains of Bermuda Grass that do better shorter than others, but 2"-3" is my norm. I'll go higher if the lawn is big and the customer lets me.
  4. Frosty_03

    Frosty_03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 333

    I mow my bremuda at 3 1/2 " tall it makes for a nice cut and my customers like that nice thick carpet look. It you cut it to short it does seem to be a little thin. this is a lawn that I cut at 3" tall
  5. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    Ok, I see that common Bermuda lawns look good when cut at 3", but these university web sights don't seem to recommend cutting it that high:

    North Carolina State:

    "Mow the lawn when it first turns green in the spring with a reel mower set at ¾ to 1 inch or a rotary mower set as low as possible without scalping. Mow before the grass gets taller than 1½ to 2 inches"

    University of Missouri:

    "Bermuda can be mowed at heights ranging from half an inch up to 2 inches"

    University of Arkansas:

    "The optimal growing height of common bermuda is one to two inches"

    If you cut higher, I would suppose drought would be more protected by the shade the leaf blade would provide the soil. Also, if you cut it higher, I would suppose the mowers are less likely to scalp on un-even soil.

    Why are people cutting higher than the university recommendations? The universities tend to think that higher cutting hieghts will promote thatch. What kind of problems will I encounter if I follow the university guidelines of no higher than 2"?

    DFW, TX
  6. TurfGuyTX

    TurfGuyTX LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 648

    To meet those university guidelines, you'd have to cut the lawns more frequently. They also would require more water than what might be available here in DFW during the summer.

    We start out short of scalping to remove dead grass and thatch. We raise the height as the temperature rises, keeping most of our residentials at 3"-3 1/2". Once Fall comes into view, we reverse the process and start to lower heights. That's what we've done for several years. Good luck on the new season.
  7. The main problem is the next-door neighbors that cut ¾” high. My customers get to thinking they need to match that scalping. But come late summer, that idiot’s lawn is bleach-blond if he doesn’t water it twice a day. While my customer’s lawn stays lush in the heat. Another benefit is that when fall comes, you can easily mulch leaves into tall thick Bermuda Grass.

    Some of the University recommendations you quoted were for “optimal growing height.” Is that the best all-around height? Or the height at which the grass grows the fastest?
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Most home lawns aren't grown or mowed in a University lab. Bermuda will grow too fast to mow weekly and mow it that low. I start at 2" and move the height up to 3-3.5" as the season progresses and it "outgrows" my weekly mowings. Gets a little puffy sometimes, but keeps the green part on top.

    Even though I mow it, I still despise Bermuda.
  9. Holloway Lawns

    Holloway Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 253

    I cut my Bermuda lawn at 3" and my walk behind is set at 2.5" some customers do want it as low as possible they think that the lowr cuting will take longer beforeit needs cut again it is just the oppisite. If the grass is cut taller than the roots grow deeper which makes it better for drought if it is cut low the leaves grow faster so it can absorbed the sun and the roots do not grow any more.

    i try to explain this to my customers and after a full season they do noticed less weeds an more green grass thais due to the grass being more healthy and choking out the weeds.
  10. TotalLawn

    TotalLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    It's like hair, the shorter it's cut the more often it needs cut.

    I have a customer that told me last year he wanted it cut shorter. "Like a golf course." I asked him if he was going to "water like the golf courses"? He agreed to let me take care of it. We're BOTH happy now.

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