Winter Lawn Height ?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by EdTLawn, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. EdTLawn

    EdTLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    What is the recommended height for lawns during the winter months ? I let mine get down to 3" now.
     
  2. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    We have a lot of trouble with snow mold over the winter and into the spring. It seems to help if we mow our lawns and athletic fields very short going into the winter. Our game fields are mowed about 2" during the season and we drop down from there. Our lawns are mowed between 2 and 3" throughout the summer, and as we get to the end of the season, we're at 2'' or lower on all lawns.
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    It depends somewhat on the deck size of your mower due to scalloping, but the general rule of thumb is the first and the last cut of the season always as short as possible. It makes leaf cleanups easier, if it grows at all it will be fine, and it doesn't get away from you.

    I recommend 2.5" for 21" decks, 2.75" for 32's and 3" for 42" and wider, 3.25" for 60"+.
    Obviously in between decks and if the height can't be achieved, we compromise, but as short as you can without damage.
     
  4. Mic_bug

    Mic_bug LawnSite Member
    from N.B. MI
    Posts: 201

    I under stand the last of the season, but what reasoning is there for the first cut on the season??
     
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Since some time has elapesed, I'll answer that for him.
    The most important reason for that low cut height again in the earliest mowing of the spring is, again, good air circulation (later). And, of course, the first mowing's always going to be done when it's still very COOL out, especially in Canada. So there should be no 'harm' done.
    The object, then is to gradually raise the blades incrementally, a 1/4" or so of an inch at a time, as the temperature rises toward summer. What this does, (if you where the size of a praying mantis looking laterally into the turf :dizzy: , is create a turf grass 'canopy', of sorts! This canopy will help hold in soil moisture and give the lawn that 'springy' feeling when you play on it.
    But beware! Raising the bar of expectations can have it's downfalls! A 'canopied' lawn can actually be a detriment if it not irrigated properly and if you don't know how to diagnose and treat some things timely, such as sod webworm and diseases like brown patch and dollar spot.
     
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,837

    Some think it introduces and freshions air circulation opens the grass up a little for letting light and fert in think of it as a alarm clock getting you up for the day
     
  7. Lawnmasters

    Lawnmasters LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    In the South, we let our Bermuda and Zoysia grass lawns grow higher and cut the last cut at about 3" for insulation against winter kill which can wipe out a good hybrid lawn if you have a good freeze with winds. Then in the Spring we cut them down low and let it grow out from the Rhizomes and stolons to start the year out.

    Depends on your grass type, and where you live as to what is best.
     
  8. JWTurfguy

    JWTurfguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 327

    Generally it's wise to avoid leaving the turf cut too low in the wintertime, since it's only through the leafblades that the plant is able to photosynthesize (a process already somewhat hampered by fewer hours of daylight in the winter). At the same time, you don't want it cut too high, since an excessive turf canopy can contribute to other problems, such as snow mold.
     
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Say what? Huh? :confused:
    What amount if any photosynthesis goes on in turf that is fully dormant?
    I think your logic works well for those areas of the country that generally are along the 'fringe' of the frost belt. Or areas where ' radically reduced winter growth' is usually experienced.

    I've never had any problem going down to as low as 1 3/4" in bluegrass, and 2" or so in fescue. I've found that they respond well to close mowing in the fall, using that 'close cut' opportunity to focus the energy to the root system.
    And bluegrass needs to be cropped pretty short going in to the spring to take the fullest advantage of the sun's warmth, and using it in it's lateral rhizomial reproduction.
     
  10. mark_the_psycho

    mark_the_psycho LawnSite Member
    Posts: 214

    I cut mine to 1 inch, shorter is better.
     

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