cutting heights throughout the year (transition zone)

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Clear-Cut, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. Clear-Cut

    Clear-Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    im in jersey and cut mostly Kentucky bluegrass, tall and fine fescues, and ryegrass, with the occasional bermuda lawn.

    i was wondering what height you guys cut at throughout the year.

    i know the best height to cut at for a healthy lawn and deep root system is 3" but on thinner lawns the grass doesnt get cut beccause the blade just blows it to the ground.

    during peak growth periods this past year i cut at about 2 3/4" and 3" during drought and my lawns (for the most part stayed pretty green throughout the summer). some people dont like it being cut this high (they like the putting green type lawns apparently but i jsut explain to them how bad it is for the lawn)

    now i just tried cutting at 2 1/2" for the fall. this height seems low enough to cut the thin lawns. so i think it will be a good height to cut at. its not too high and not too low. the only concern i have is how the lawn will last during the hot dry times that we have here in jersey.

    so i was wondering what works for you guys that are in the transition zone (zone 6 and 7)
  2. Turf Troll

    Turf Troll LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    Start the year at 3" through the summer 4' end the year at 3",

    tall type fescues and contractor blends, perennial rye
  3. loom-gen

    loom-gen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 150

    3.5 then 4 then 3.5. All the grasses you mention have a min recomended cutting height of 3 to3.5 accept bermuda. it can be cut shorter.
  4. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Your customers will ultimately dictate to you what they want. But the rule of thumb for fescue turf is that the first mowing of the spring, and the last mowing of the year in the fall, always will be the shortest, and there's no problem going down to 2 1/2 '' or so , as long as the ground is level enough to allow you to. It's important to go into the winter, and to begin the early spring, with turf that has a 'fresh crown' that has good air circulation about it. And from there, as the spring progresses into summer and gets hotter, you gradually raise the blades with the temperature. This creates the 'sponge' effect, or the 'layered' effect, that a summer lawn has. And what's neat about that is you're creating a 'canopy' of sorts, that will help keep moisture in the ground better.

    But this can work to your disadvantage is you screw it up with improper (frequent and shallow) summer watering habits (OR) over fertilization! Enter into the picture: DISEASE! :cry:
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention the other turf problem you mowers hate to take any blame for, but should: BROWN PATCH
    When you mow on a hot day (about 80 degree +) and the humidity is right, did you know you are actually spreading BROWN PATCH around like butter on bread?!? And maybe you've noticed the mailmen's footsteps through the yards to the doorsteps? They're doing the same thing!
    What to do? Mow at night with lights on? Of course not.

    Just keep these facts in mind: 1)Mow in the coolest part of the day when possible (take a siesta at noon and work later?) 2) Mow with sharp-sharp-sharp blades 3) Change mowing directions and patterns 4) teach your customers this information too.
    PS- And teach folks not to walk on frosted turf as well! It amounts to the same thing. :waving:
  6. Clear-Cut

    Clear-Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    i wish i could cut at that height...but most customers dont like it that high (and im at the stage where i need the lawns.its only my 2nd year)

    i see other companies cutting around here and there is no way and of them cut higher than 2 1/2"
  7. sancho_man_orlando

    sancho_man_orlando LawnSite Member
    Messages: 216

    I cut customers at 4 inches all year...

    My personal is cut at 6 inches all year.
  8. TurfCo  LLC

    TurfCo LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Most of my customers like their lawns cut high. 4.5" or so. But personally, I think 4" is a great height, and of course in the fall, cut it shorter for everyone all the way around. I usually don't cut anything shorter than 3.5".
  9. Clear-Cut

    Clear-Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    thanks guys.

    what do yuo do when a customer asks to have it cut shorter? do you cut it shorter for that one person or just tell them that you cut it high for a reason and you will not cut it shorter because it will compromise the health of the lawn?
  10. TurfCo  LLC

    TurfCo LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    When someone asks to cut it shorter, I cut it a little shorter for that customer. I tell them it's kind of like a hair cut, I can always take more off, but I can't put it back on. I keep cutting it a little shorter every time until we find some common ground.

    Some customers want it cut so short, it's unhealthy for the grass. I try to educate them on the benefits of leaving the grass a little taller. But if they insist, I let them find out the hard way, and end up seeding it in the fall when they've had me cut it too short over the summer months and they've killed sections of it off.

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