Does cutting height affect root depth?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ChiTownAmateur, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I am in the midwest, curious about this element

    I realize that watering and cutting height are two separate things. If I water deeply and somewhat infrequently, I should be able to encourage the grass to grow deeper roots.

    I think I have also read that root depth tends to be related to how high the topgrowth grows...i.e. if the topgrowth is 3" tall then the roots tend to go about that deep

    Is that true? Does cutting height affect root depth? or is it 90+% controlled by watering?

    I've read repeatedly that you don't want to cut more than 1/3 of the topgrowth at any time...but I wonder -- if cutting height does affect root depth, wouldn't it make sense to allow the lawn to grow tall a few times? or is this just completely off-base?
  2. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    It absolutely does, and that is why I try to pound into customers head to MOW IT HIGH!!
  3. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    slick thank you for the response that is helpful

    i use a reel mower, a small one because my front yard is only 250sqft and backyard is maybe another 650sqft, easy enough for a reel mower and i like how quiet it is.

    my front is 100% pure poa supina, weeds hand picked, new growth from this spring. In the MSU study I read that 2-1/4" cutting height is ideal for this grass...but that's a study talking not a guy in the field.

    Is it worthwhile for me to get a mower that will mow to 3" or higher? The back is a rye-fescue-kbg sod enhanced with some other kbg i've seeded over it a bit in bare spots.

    thanks again for your help
  4. jlbf0786

    jlbf0786 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Charlotte, NC
    Messages: 620

    Always remember this saying "ROOTS = SHOOTS"
    It means that the Turf will only be as deep as the roots.

    I'm sure that Poa would be just fine mowed a bit higher; I would just
    do a bit of trial run on a 3x3' patch (or the entire lawn)... see how she reacts to it!
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,160

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