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Cutting after Freezes?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by -, Jan 5, 2001.

  1. Guest
    Messages: 0

    This is my 2nd year in the lawn business and 3rd year cutting grass in Florida. This year we have had several freezes (not typical for Fla) and the grass is clearly stressed. Its all brown and dry. What is the protocol for cutting afterwards? Leave it alone for a while? If so, how long? Ok to cut right away? Thanks.

    GrassRoots Lawn Care
  2. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    I don't know about your stuff, but most of ours looks fairly bad. We are leaving it alone right now, putting tires on it right now will likely do more damage. There is no telling how many cold nights we will have before spring. We had 24 again last night with a heavy frost. 11th night below freezing this fall and winter. The frost is really what is messing them up, the lawns that are protected by trees are still in fairly good shape.

    Wait until a little green is showing up above the burned surface, then cut it. It will likely look bad when you first do it, but within days it should look ok. Then just don't cut it as low the next time.

    We are not encouraging customers to water too much right now. Alot of St. Augustine has gone completely dormant (unusual) and it would probably be better if it stayed that way for a while. The ones that really got burnt were the ones that had been fertilized recently by outside spray services. They loaded them with nitrogen to get some green back in them in early December. The ones that were properly taken care of with low nitrogen/ high iron formulas in November aren't all that bad and are still showing some green below the surface.
  3. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    In our area of Upstate NY, in the fall during late October and November frosts are obviously a part of our landscapes.
    As a rule of thumb I have been taught that it is okay to cut the grass as long as it is after a thawing period so that we are not breaking or damageing the turf.

    We usually have to wait until about 10 am before we can begin mowing operations and fall clean ups when frosts are prevelant to ensure that there is none remaining. Otherwise tire paths and footprints will have the same dullish brown color like the grass has gone dormant.

    Our seasons typically end the week of Thanksgiving, however last year we were able to cut the 2nd week of December due to unseasonably warm conditions.

    Hope this helps.
  4. curlawngreen

    curlawngreen Banned
    Messages: 309

    I'm not mowing until some warm-up.
  5. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    We cut all the time and I'm not that far from you. Is this the first time you've ever seen brown grass? Our centipede usually goes dormant after the first frost and doesn't bounce back until spring. We run over it all winter cleaning up leaves and it doesn't seem to hurt it any. It will tear on your turns if your not careful though. Our bermuda does ok, the dust just flies all over the place. You ain't gonna hurt it any. Mow away.
  6. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    What are you cutting in NY in December???? Someone in the northeast would payfor lawn service in Dec???

    Sounds weird to me, wish we had some of your customers when I was in CT !!
  7. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    We were having extremely mild temperatures for that time of year. Daytime highs were like 50, so our golf finatic customers were concerned that if we had a green xmas that the properties would look unkempt when family and friends arrived. We had probably 40-45% of our clients calling so I called up the guys. No one objected to working because it would be extra cash for the holidays. So we started the residential routes on a tuesday and finished on sunday. I think that we only had about 20% call up and inform us that they had not agreed to it and would not pay for it. Maybe were just lucky because we live amongst 12-15 golf courses and the majority of our customers are avid golfers who regularly grill their superintendants.

    Yes it was a fluke gift at the end of the season.
  8. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    Been dying all weekend to get out into the field again with my new blower, and what happens? Frost! Everywhere! Usually we get it in the outskirts of town this time of year (like in the hills where I live) every morning, but this morning it's all over the place! No way I'm putting a machine on all that crispy turf leaf...

    Ah well, 11 AM start, Pacific Time, then. ;)

    Or maybe I'll take advantage of MLK's B-Day to get some chores done around the house... :D

  9. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    Never trod on the lawn while a frost is on but once it clears you can cut, sometimes it even stimulates the grass if it is of the cool season type.
  10. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    That's how I figured it, osc, thanks! I wanted to let them thaw up before setting a machine to them. Should be okay for mowing shortly now. Good to have my thinking justified, however.

    Thanks again!


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