St. Augustine, edging and cutting it high

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by williams lcm, May 20, 2012.

  1. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    We NEVER cut below 4 inches on St. Augustine under normal maint. conditions. The reason is simple, you can figure as a rule of thumb that every 1/4 of inch you can give it on top growth can equate to 1/2 inch root growth possibility. The turf does not seem to use its resources to struggle to put on that growth again and therefor IMHO seem to retain a deeper green than a lawn facing similar conditons being cut shorter. This all my not be accurate in terms of color retention etc but it sure seems to be the case in neighborhoods were neighbors share the same fert company and have dwellings face the same exposure yet our lawns appear deeper green than the homeowners who cut there own lawn (of course at lower heights with residential push mowers).
    Currently we are mowing most of the healthy thick looking lawns at 4 3/4 and some at 5. The highest the mowers will go without being in transport mode is 5 1/4 and we were mowing many at that height last year in August as I recall when the heat was on. If you are doing the best you can to assist your pest control company you are or should be cutting high as possible to follow the "1/3 rule" as closely as possible. This is known to also help lower the chance of the lawn becoming too thatchy. I know it is never possible to follow it 100% but generally speaking if you are cutting at 4.75 or higher during the hot rainy are cutting the least of the leaf structure off because you know darn well in the heat of the season if you come in and are mowing at 4 inches or lower you are just saying the hell with that rule because the rapid growth rate during that period of time.

    We have no issue with Palmetto or Seville being cut at this height either and looking good. Especially Seville as unless installed incorrectly (in full sun) then you are most likely using it on a partially shaded or shaded lawn and leaving it long of course allows for more of the leave structure for root depth as well as photosynthesis. For those of you planting Seville in full sun you had better be ready to have a extra spongy lawn in a couple of years especially if the home owner is a active waterier and also it seems to be much more spongy in full sun if the fert company is using a quick release fertilizer.

    In many lawns that have patchy growth patterns cutting tall allows all the turf to catch up and eventually a lawn that once looked patchy because of irregular growth now look like carpet.

    My only reservation about cutting this tall during rainy season is if the lawn has a history of severe GLS fungus. A good sections of lawns will start showing signs of this disease during the rainy season and I have never gotten a confirmed answer from anyone as if cutting too high during this period may lend conditions that favor this disease as by cutting this high you are also potentially limiting air movement through the leave structure. I would appreciate hearing from any PCO that would want to give their thoughts on this possiblity.
  2. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,838

    I cut about 4 inches unless it's soft soil. I don't cut much higher than that maybe 4.5 inches. This is measured on concrete to blades cutting face. On the GLS I will usually make passes to blow all the clippings onto the sidewalk and then rake it into a bag and compose it at home.
    William how wide is your mower? If you have a wider mower you can usually get a nicer edge because the tires don't flatten out the grass edges.
  3. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    William here is the only picture I have on the PC that I KNOW for sure was cut at 5 inches. Like I said we are currently cutting many at 4.75 and I will snap a few shots for you this week and post on here.

  4. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,939

    Mike, how does it look after 6 days?

    We cut @ 4" year round. I suspect cutting much higher will trap excesive moisture and impede air flow creating excellent conditions for fungi.
  5. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    Generally it looks decent most of the year even at these heights really no different than the difference than you would notice if you cut at 4 inches. I will post some before photos too for you jvan to see what the properties look like when we arrive.
  6. Tri-City Outdoors

    Tri-City Outdoors LawnSite Member
    Posts: 152

    We generally cut higher than most We never cut SA lower than 4" most of the year we cut at 4.5". As the season and rain progresses we will cut up 5.25". The highest our mower will cut.
  7. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    Would you say your lawns experience any more issues with GLS than other lawns.

    Are you using Hustlers since you are cutting at 5.25?
  8. joel29m

    joel29m LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 647

    Spring, 2.0 2.5-2.75, summer 3.0, 3.5 and 3.75. Customers down here rather yards low, I explained so many times, now I'm like eff it, cut it low till its white lol. But seriously they like st Aug low by it growing so fast.
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  9. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    I agree. Remember the growing points with Floratam are above grade and not below.
  10. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,939

    For St. Augustine? That sounds way low even for the dwarf cultivars.

    How's your cinch bug problem out there?

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