Shoot me if I ever take on another Bermudagrass lawn

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by brucec32, May 17, 2003.

  1. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    For years I had weeded out most Bermuda lawns and mowed 90% Fescue. I cruised through the days w/o much of a fatigue problem. After the last few years' droughts, I figured it would be a good idea to get some again, since they don't burn up in the summer heat.

    Well, with the wet weather combined with rising temps, I'm already regretting it. It's not that it isn't mowable. In fact, my new 32" Toro wb I bought for these lawns mulches great and looks good. The problem is that most of the Bermuda lawns I see here are not flat enough to mow with the ZTR, so I'm walking behind the mower, since it's also too soggy lately to use the Velke. At age 39 that's not my thing. Add in super humid air today and hills to boot and I just about couldn't handle it. They also have about triple the edging/trimming per sq foot as the Fescue lawns. I did two much larger Fescue lots on the ZTR and breezed through them today, yet nearly collapsed on 4 Bermuda lawns back to back this morning and another 2 this evening. I actually had to go home and cool down. With the fatigue cutting my day short, they're money losers.

    Based on the time required to mow these lawns, there is no way I can get the price I need for them. They're small, but take a long time to mow. Psycholgically, people are just not going to pay me $50 to mow 4,000 ft of intricated landscaped Bermuda every week. Even in upscale neighborhoods. Even with a ZTR, they'd take longer since I"d have to crawl on them due to the crazy surfaces and poor drainage. Some of this stuff is laid at 45 degree angles, no kidding. I'm strongly considering dropping the 8 new ones I picked up and replacing them.

    Anyone else hate Bermuda sod laid on accordian-like surfaces as much as I do? Big flat expanses are ok. But these new tract home neighborhoods are not doable unless you have employees you can put out there. I need too much per-hour to make it pay, and it's killing me to boot.

    Toss in a much shorter mowing season than Tall Fescue, slower mowing speed that mulching requires, and I don't see any reason to take it on unless you can get a price premium. The opposite seems to be the case. For the time invested, I get less, not more.
  2. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    hahahaha. We cut 80% bermuda and 20% zoysia here. Fescue only grows in the shade. I hate bermuda but it is the main bread winner here. Every year is a battle.
  3. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    I hate bermuda.

    snaggly, gnarley, thatchey bermuda!

    that's what I say!

  4. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,964

    I hate it too. If you've seen many of my posts, you'd get that impression. If it's not scalped early in the season to mow the dead off, it's hard to get it right. Wish I didn't have to know that. Hoss, fescue won't do right there? I guess I'll have to rethink my move to northern Alabama.
  5. kels

    kels LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    This is why I feel a Walker is the tool for these type grasses, mulching and side discharging is great some times, but bagging bermuda and zoysia is great all of the time.
  6. jlcare

    jlcare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    bruce32 if you quit mowing bermuda,how will you stay in business? 95% of my lawns are bermuda. I agree with you on fescue being easier,but I can't find any fescue except for backyards, at least not in Newnan.
  7. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 378

    Have over 100 Bermuda accounts. Love them. Part of it is client education, part LCO education, a lot of hard work and 21" Toros. I'm just the opposite. I hate Fescue and no longer accept them because no one can pay me what I want to work in the winter. Brrrr
  8. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 720

    I'm with you xpnd. Love Bermuda, and you gotta have the 21" Proline. Love the oooo's and ahhhh's from the customers. But gotta stay on schedule! It's growin' fast now even with no rain.
  9. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,662

    About 90% of my properties are Bermuda. On uneven lawns, I mow at 1 1/2 - 2" for the first few mowings. I let the blades grind off the high spots. Once it gets growing, I mow them all at 2 1/2" and they look real good. My favorite grass here is St. Augustine, but in the dry heat of the summer, even with irrigation, it just won't grow much. If I mowed all St. Augustine, I would go broke in the middle of the summer for lack of work.
    I hate Fescue. It never gets dried out and turns to gummy mush when you try to mulch it.:)
  10. jlcare

    jlcare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    quiet and xpnd how are you guys making money on the little 21ers? My money is made on the 52" ztr!

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