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Cool, Transition, or Warm Season Grasses - What's Tough to Cut?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimQ, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. JimQ

    JimQ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,139

    Do you guys find anything uniquely challenging about cutting transition zone grasses?

    For instance, if a deck performs well in cool season grasses like Fescue and Bluegrass and also does well in warm season grasses like Bermuda, Bahia, and St Augustine, is it safe to say it will perform well with transition zone grasses?

    What grass types do you guys find most challenging to cut and why?

  2. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,178

    I always thought Bahia was rough to cut, but thats not transitional, mainly in FL. I hear Scag does well in all areas with grass mixes from what owners post here, not great but acceptable. Its hard to find a mower that does well in all area's, thats why Hustler has different decks for different locations, I must say my Walker cut good in all area's that I have lived in.
  3. wnccutter

    wnccutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    What is a "transition zone grass"? Warm season grasses go dormant or start growing under certain conditions and vice versa for cool season grasses.
  4. wnccutter

    wnccutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    There is more work involved with warm season grasses simply because they have to be bagged. Cool season grasses should not be bagged.
  5. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 6,462

    you dont have to bag warm season grass.
  6. wnccutter

    wnccutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    Agreed. Depending on the cultivar we try to avoid it...but several of our lawns are a type of Zoysia that has these thick waxy blades that simply refuse to decompose. We will start out not bagging but end up having to bag to keep the lawn looking good. If we don't bag we end up dethatching at the end of every year which is really hard on the lawn.
  7. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    I know several LCO's that have spent several seasons in Florida and then came to Kentucky. They told me that this grass (KY area), especially in the Spring is the hardest area to get a good cut on, not leave clumps and keeping the deck unclogged. The grass and weed mix here, mostly fescue with a little of everything in surrounding fields blown in is a mushy, slimy, consistency when cut. the clipping resemble cow manure and can be compacted like a snow ball when lush which in most of the year (but not this year due to the drought). The grass holds a lot of moisture and just sticks to everything, wants to clump. It is a very soft grass on average so actually cutting it isn't the problem as much as the clippings. Much of the grass and weeds also grow at a 45 degree angle so you really need a deck that can stand it up or have enough vacuum to suck it up before it is cut. We have crabgrass outbreaks in late Summer that are really tough to get looking good (and the customers generally won't pay for a crabgrass preemergent). I haven't cut in Florida but the main person I talked to works at a Hustler dealer and put his self through college mowing in Florida. He says there is no comparison so I'm just going by what he said. The grass here also has no rigidity so it wants to lay over. To get a good cut you just need a deck that will lift it properly before it is cut. Just my observation but rigid grass on the other hand stands up and is cut easier. Pure stands of grass here are an exception and rare but they do cut better than the normal mix. When they build a home, or subdivision here the field where cows were grazing just months before becomes the new lawn. Even on half million dollar homes the field now becomes the lawn except for a small area around the home. KY 31 is the most common grass in lawns and really it is not even a turf grass, it is more of a roadside, field, and rough area type grass. So many good fescues out there but they continue to sew this crap on lawns.
  8. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,918

    A black panther is a beautiful proud animal, I'm sure glad they don't watch football on TV, it has become rather embarrassing.
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062


    What do you want to know exactly?

    If that is your only question, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NO.

    The reason being is that in the transition zone, there are a great many variances in climate in all aspects... and altitude.

    Like here in North Carolina... in the transition zone you can drive a ways in either direction, unload and find totally different conditions and totally different characteristics in the turf. I'm talking EXACT same turfs. Let's just pick a single variety for example, such as Millenium Tall Fescue or Kentucky 31... the exact same variety will exhibit different characteristics from place to place.

    I can cut one of these fescue lawns at a higher elevation, and the turf will be sappy, sticky and limp, but be otherwise very easy to cut. Pretty much like tacoma describes Kentucky turf.

    Then I can go cut the same variety of fescue 15 miles south of there at a much lower elevation... and the turf will instead be very erect, coarse and very hard to cut. Upon close inspection of the grass blade, the veins inside a piece are like fine fishing line.

    I think it has to do with climate and direct intensity of the sun.
  10. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 6,462

    interesting, i have one zoysia lawn and have never once bagged, and it does just fine. very weird how it is.

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