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Cutting Bermuda - How?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MowHouston, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    I never have to cut Bermuda when I'm in Houston. However, I can't go back to my home in Galveston so I'm stuck in Dallas.

    I've already picked up four customers up here and hit two of them yesterday.

    The first customer's grass was about 8 inches tall. I had to mow this stuff twice for the simple fact that when I run over this grass it just seems to lay down. Its so stringy, I doesnt seem to want to cut.

    I'm hoping its because of the length of the grass. St Augustine is much easier to cut in my opinion, but maybe its because I haven't had the chance to cut a maintained yard yet.

    I know its supposed to be cut much shorter than St Augustine.... but I havent had that opportunity yet. Any tips would me appreciated though.

    The second customer had 3 - 4ft tall grass in his back yard. About 4000sq ft. Took me a little under two hours to cut.

    I would normally not pick up jobs like that but then again, I only have two changes of clothes and my lawn equipment. I gotta make money somehow...
  2. Nosmo

    Nosmo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,216

    I'm approximately 250 miles north of Dallas and we have Bermuda grass here too. I cut mine at 3-1/4" but I do it at least once a week and twice when it is really growing fast.

    With that grass 8" tall and especially 3 to 4 feet tall if you do get it cut down what remains is going to be brown. I wouldn't be surprised if that 3-4 foot tall stuff is stringy and patchy with bare spots too.

    Cut slowly and have sharp blades in those conditions with that high grass. Oh and be careful of what may have been left in that grass like bricks , steel rods or ???

  3. huskres

    huskres LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    8" tall bermuda shouldnt just lay over. You sure it wasnt fescue? I can mulch bermuda that high with one pass usually.
  4. Rhett

    Rhett LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,071

    Hate the stuff. Like cutting jello at that hieght. Should be cut at 2 or a little lower. Take it down slowly to that as you will have nothing but brown grass. This time of year try a low N and some iron to green it up
  5. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    That's some high bermuda you're talking about. You sure it's not something else.

    Anyway you'll need to bag it up. With that much material even if you mulch it's gonna cover the grass and bad things will happen. Cut it down gradually, don't shock it down from 8" to 2" in one sweep.

    It does like to be cut low and now towards the end of the season 2" should do. I don't know how hot it gets in TX but have no fear, this grass is really resistant to drought. BTW, how were you doing with that storm running about?
  6. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    Oh and it's not that stringy unless when sort of "half dry". Keep the blades sharp and it's no big deal.

    For trimming, tilt the head just a bit so the tip of the string does the work. Twisted line works really well and drop the revs to a 1/2 to prevent down blow. Can be cut just as nicely as any grass.
  7. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Yeah its definitely Bermuda. I had another lawn today that had about 6-8inch of growth, however it cut great.

    The difference I have noticed is that the one I mowed today was much more dense and greener than the one yesterday. I think it is just more difficult when the lawn is dried out more and the grass is less dense, although tall.

    I cut both of these at 3 1/2 inches with browning in mind and will drop the height on the next cuts.

    My blades need to be sharpened to, I'm sure of it. I hadn't sharpened them before I evacuated Galveston and I didn't bring any tools to do it with. I may have to just get a file and do it the hard way for now.

    Thanks for the info guys.
  8. Genlandscape

    Genlandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 185

    Sorry to hear you have been displaced,but it's good to know you are safe and making a few bucks. Bermuda can be scalped down to the brown, and it should green up within a week or two with water. Bermuda grass has a long stalk and a short leaf blade. Common and seashore Bermuda grasses are grown here for hay stock, and will grow to an excess of three to four feet. Scalp them down if your customers don't mind the brown for a week or two. Good luck in getting back home!! Our thoughts are with you.
  9. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Messages: 1,956

    I agree. 3"-4" is too high for bermuda. I like to keep is at 1.5"-1.75" for common bermudagrass, and 1.25"-1.5" for hybrid varieties. Cut it every week if you can, but don't go any longer than 10 days by any means, otherwise you'll cut off most of the green shoot and be left with just the brown crowns.
  10. clallen03

    clallen03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 514

    Everyone always says that you are supposed to cut your bermuda very low for it to look good. This is the furthest thing from the truth. It may be healthier for the lawn but most homeowners are not willing to pay for that type of service. The recommended height is about 1-1.5" but its really hard, almost impossible to keep this grass at this height especially when fertilized and watered regularly. The only way that is possible is if you mow the lawn like every 3-4 days.
    The beginning of the season I cut my bermuda at about 1.5". As the season progresses you have to slowly raise the deck to maintain its lush green color. If you dont raise the deck you will notice the lawn is brown after you cut it. Today we are cutting all of bermuda on 2.5" and it is very thick, lush green, and at this height my exmark even leaves strips in the lawn. My customers love it. I mow these lawns every week and I have some the best looking lawns in these subdivisions.
    Im not saying this the brag, Im just trying to tell you what has worked for my business. If you go by the recommended height you will have some unhappy clients if they are not willing to have their lawn mowed at least every 3-4 days.

    I mow bermuda grass everyday all day, so Im not just talking out of the side of my neck. Im no expert, Im only speaking from my own personally experience.

    Good luck:)

    PS. Make sure you take off all the brown dormant grass at the first of spring. That brown grass doesn't turn back green, the green blades comes from the soil. If you dont scalp it early spring the old brown grass will show through your lawns and make it look brown every time you mow it. Not to mention if you hit a dip, it will look like you sprayed round up in that spot in the lawn.

    Thats just a quick run down, you still have a lot more to learn about this type of lawn but you have to get some more experience on this grass to find out anymore.

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