Cool Season Grass and Fall scalp mowing.....?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Exact Rototilling, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Not trying to be contrary,,, but think about it...
    2.5 inch cut in cool weather is not detrimental to KBG, Ryegrass or Fescue(as long as it is not scalping)... Lawn HEALTH is dependent on so many things beyond an inch difference in cutting height...
    A good 21" pushmower is the best cut you can get and the difference in height makes the difference in the look, rather than the mower... :)
     
  2. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,355

    Smallaxe, I hear you but what I'm going to have to do for the next 12 months is put this to the test.

    On my front lawn I'm going to set up a test area for different mowing heights for the entire 2014 season and get to the bottom of this. Granted it is just one test area.

    I have to disagree that my belief that 1" of extra length does make a substantial difference in photosynthesis and plant health.

    Not far from me is a test research plot for low/mow cool season turf. The test plots are exclusively mowed with reel greens mowers. I'd like to be a fly on the wall and see their data.

    :waving:
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  3. happyuser

    happyuser LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Great topic and very well said Exact! I am with you most clients do not have sprinkler systems nor do the know how to water. The higher cut keeps more moisture in making it harder for the sun to dry the lawn out. The higher the cut the deeper the roots. If the edges are trimmed well the lawn still has a manicured look. However a shot cut at season end is good at it reduces spring pink/gray snow mold. My 2 cents
     
  4. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,846

    Improved cultivars will seldom suffer from snow mold. Question: What plant prefers it's natural height to be reduced? Does it become healthier when it's tissue is removed?? Not suggesting anything, cuz I've done both. Merely food for thought. (right plant for the right place)? :confused:
     
  5. Mike A

    Mike A LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    Here is a link of optimum mowing heights for specific grasses:

    http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/tips/2004/mow1222.htm

    If you keep the grass at the same height throughout the fall, the plant will continue to photosynthesize until dormancy as Exact Rototilling mentioned.
    Photosynthesis at this time of the year allows the plant to store energy for winter and next spring. Scalping now reduces energy storage and will weaken the plant for next summer....
     
  6. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,895

    Good link. So only the one with "tall" in its name has a recommendation above 3.5" and all other cool season lawn types are 2.0" - 3.5"?

    This has probably been discussed somewhere before but it would be interesting to see a table of all the major mower brands with their height setting (number or letter) and what the corresponding actual height in inches is. It would be helpful to have blade type and tire air pressure noted. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about this on lawnsite.

    We used to manually set "bench height" in thousandths of an inch of golf course equipment. Actual height was then slightly less than that due to weight of machine and compression of the surface to be cut. Matching reels on a machine that was several units wide was an art and a science both - an important one.
     
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    Every single mower is different even same brands we use all Toro's but each one is different and set up accordingly, and each one requires a different height setting even on the same yard, one may be on 3.5 while the other is on 3.25 to get the same height, now bring in the 21" and it gets really crazy. Charts are only guidelines nothing in stone imop, just cut at what looks best overall. I've already seen a few guys scalping down here which I thought was a bit crazy this early.
     
  8. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,895

    I agree completely. My suggestion was aimed at dispelling the notion that the numerical settings on my Toro Z or another guy's Hustler Z
    1) have anything to do with height of cut in inches or
    2) could ever hope to match each other

    I seriously doubt there are many customers who are paying to have a typical subdivision lawn cut at 4 1/2 inches (meaning also that the grass could reach lengths of 6" or more between cuttings).
     
  9. locallawncare.ca

    locallawncare.ca LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 756

    I can only subdivision type lawns, typically 3-8k, and i usually cut a 2-2.5 inches all year, i know its short but if you cut any higher with a push mower it just doesn't look good or even cut for that matter. Around here everyone does it, and most homeowners cut even shorter, I have some really nice lawns that I cut a 2" all summer and they always look great, then some at 2.5" and dropping it to 2" causes the lawn to yellow/brown and make an ugly appearance. I find that with small lawns people want it short because it looks better when you are right on top of it, which most people are, they pull in the driveway, look at the lawn and go inside, they aren't able to look at it from a far, like larger properties, and most people are able to water a small lawn properly and aren't concerned about excessive water usage. I have never cut one of my properties higher than 2.5" unless its new sod, call me crazy but around here this is common practice.
     
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Optimum range is 2.0 = 3.5 according to the link, for our standard mix...

    I'm talking about mowing the grass on the low side of optimum range during the peak season of rapid growth, i.e. cool weather... It is good for over seeding and cleanup with a lower cut, but towards the end of the season I let it grow until dormancy, so that it has the extra body mass for the winter...
    So far I've cut it once at 2.5, I might cut one more time this Fall, but right now the roots are growing so I'm not too concerned... :)
     

Share This Page