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Dropping mower height in the Fall - cool season grasses?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Exact Rototilling, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Ok . . .I'm a big advocate of longer is better for heat resistance on the summer that keeps the roots cool - photosynthesis etc.

    I have one client who insists on having her lawn mowed at 2" because it grows too fast other wise. This is as low as I will ever mow.

    Every other client I have is mowed at 3.0" or 2.5". I prefer 3.0" to 3.5"

    I have read a fair amount on this topic even to the point of contradictory statements by the same author stating that in the fall that turf is busy with the transition into fall storing energy to the roots and cutting it short will force the grass to waste energy to grow while it should be storing energy for the winter? Meanwhile in another part of the same book stating it's fine to drop the height in the fall? :confused:

    Then I have cleints telling me the grass is more resistant to snow mold and disease if cut short. :nono:

    My own personal experience has shown - healthy turf is longer grass even over the winter. :clapping:

    Any input?
  2. billslawn89

    billslawn89 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,365

    what kind of grass is it? just tell your client that you lowered the height and keep it where you've been mowing at, 3" or drop it a notch.
  3. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,280

    Funny:laugh: I bet she would buy it too.

    I typically cut 2" to 2 1/4" last cut of the season (Halloween or so). I did have some snow mold problems in my own yard, north exposure grass that was left long in front of my house. So, if the lady tends to have snow pile up in certain areas of her yard, and it lingers well into spring, would pay to cut those areas short I suppose.
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    That would never fly with my clients. Especially when the neighbor cuts their lawn at under 2". She has a valid point cutting it shorter does slow down the growth.

    Not only is cutting cool season grasses on the longer side great for the grass it also helps it explode with growth which results in a greater need for weekly cutting.

    There is a test plot of research grass near where I live and they have it mowed super short. Maybe they are trying to engineer a cool season grass that likes to be scalped?

    We used to be the country's Bluegrass grower Mecca of the USA. However all the field burning bans have caused many to switch crops and sell out to the real estate developers.
  5. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    Cut at 3.25 - 3.50 in the spring and summer and 2.75-3.00 in the fall.
  6. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,117

    I like 2.5 to 2 5/8 this time of year on irrigated lawns.
  7. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 350

    I have never heard this. Is this true all seasons? Where is the backup on this or did you test. I'm not doubting just want more info.
  8. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    I mow at 3" up until I need to lower it to look like I'm doing something! :laugh:

    As far as scalping goes, I'm a HUGE advocate. I wait until early November - when the grass is dormant. That way I'm cutting off dead plant matter - which means it isn't affecting the grass one bit.

    By cutting it as short as I can get it a couple of great things happen:

    -- Minimal snow mold.
    -- Minimal snow matting in the Spring.
    -- Green up in the spring is MUCH better, because the lawn never gets mowed that short again - and so the green growth is always what's visible - not the white thatch.
    -- This also gets me one last cutting when the money is running out. I just tell my customers to expect it...
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I am guessing it depends on the size of the deck, speaking only from my own experience and
    from a cosmetic standpoint, for a 2.5" cut to look good you'd want to use a 21" mower.

    As for cutting it down to the dirt, that might be something they practice in the northern regions,
    maybe up in the mountains or where it gets pretty cold in the winter, I do not know for sure but
    we don't do that here in the southern half of the US, at least not where I live.

    That it needs to be as short as possible, I can agree with it because of leaves,
    the taller cuts make leaf cleanups a real nightmare and at least here in VA the temps
    are hovering in the 70' day / 50' nights now so it won't be long before the trees turn color.
    That is, as soon as the worst of summer was over one needs to start lowering the cut,
    and for myself I keep coming down until I am at my standard cutting height for my mower,
    which happens to be 3"

    Insofar as it still needing cut because it's too tall, why that's fine because that's one way to deal with leaves
    is to cut the grass and clean up the leaves all in the same motion, well, basically.

    But that's just me.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2008
  10. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,117

    If you haven't seen a Walker cut at @2.25 you would be amazed . My neighbor has 0ver a acre I mow at 2.25 inches with my 42" mulch deck . Looks like a fairway, freakin unreal. I normally don't mow at this height but he does all my welding and has a garage full of tools so we trade work .

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