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Georgia Mowing Season

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Grass-Masters, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. Grass-Masters

    Grass-Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    I am able to do most of the other research for georgia, but I am not there now so I was wondering if someone could tell me when the mowing season starts and stops. When fall cleanups are usually done, when spring clean up starts.

    Thank you for any info.
  2. Eakern & Dog

    Eakern & Dog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    I'm still mowing my fescue accounts.My bermuda accounts are still getting visits as well. The season is only down for a month for me .There is plenty to keep busy.A lot of homes have fescue in the back-yard that still grows, gutters needing cleaning, beds re-mulched,driveways washed, etc.... It's cold today, but it was close to 70 degress last week. When Late Feb comes along it will be time to start again if the weather keeps up this way.
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    The above poster means that he is doing the "extras" to stay busy in the winter. As far as the grass growing, it can vary based on the particular year's temps, but generally

    1. Bermudagrass -Greens up in April, grows slowly at first, then pretty good pace by end of month through mid September. Slows in September and goes dormant in October. This is the primary turf for newer homes in the area owned by those who can afford the service. Zoysia cultivars are similar, but tend to green up a little slower and some types grow so slowly some customers may not want to go for weekly cuts (and I don't blame em). Season is definitely shorter than Fescue in terms of number of cuts. Some of these are done in October and don't need a thing till the next April. A high percentage of Bermuda lawns, being relatively new construction, are virtually treeless and have small slow growing shrubs and tend to be on smaller lots. So there is not as much pruning/mulching/etc work to be done either.

    2. Tall Fescue - Used on many older homes, and for shady areas and back yards in newer homes, and is the main grass type in "weedpatch" lawns that have been let go over the years. Green all year, but growth slows in Winter a lot. With a warm March, it can require 4 cuts that month, but usually it starts growing reasonably fast by mid month and its fast growing season is March-June. Usually dry spells and summer heat slow it down by July, though some well irrigated and/or fertile lawns grown pretty good through the summer. Many lawns will go semi-dormant from drought/heat stress in summer and you will run into the skipping cuts debate. Perks up some as cooler temps arrive in late Sept/Oct and slows again sometime in November. I hit them twice in November and once in December. After that you may need to mow some weeds if we have a warm spell but that's about it. I do not push the year round thing and usually nobody calls for service from mid Dec through Feb. The continually varying growth rate over the year makes it tricky to schedule. A Fescue lawn can look nice mowed 25 times a year, but in some years some lawns really need about 32. So a customer who gets a bid from another guy based on 25 cuts is not going to hire you if you base your price on 32 and are otherwise equal. You have to gauge the expectations and discuss the varing growth and what you will do in certain situations (dry summer vs wet, etc)

    3. Weedpatches. These need mowing too. Usually a combination of Tall Fescue or Bermuda with tons of grassy weeds that have surges of growth in the summer. Some can be mowed every two weeks, but others will surprise you at how fast they grow even in the driest part of the summer. A lawn infested with perinneal grass weeds has to be killed to be renovated, so make sure the customer knows he has weeds, not real grass. Some people actually fertilize the stuff in their ignorance. Most of these lawns seem to wake up in March and go dormant in October, but the broadleaf weeds and some things like onions and garlic keep on growing, so there may be some cuts needed to neaten them up through November at least. Some of these can be very profitable if you handle them right and they are suitable for every other week mowing (two every-other-week lawns mowed 18 times a year each on alternating weeks vs a single nicer lawn mowed 30 times a year keeps you busy longer). Many of these customers who would balk at $30 weekly cuts will jump at $45 twice a month. Just watch out for the cheapskate market here. They will want it cut 2x/month for 5-6 months and want to let it slide the rest of the year, and of course not want any extras done.

    All of the above vary by lawn, weather, temps, etc. Some lawns keep growing when others have really shut down, so be prepared to be flexible or incur customer resentment for showing up to mow air.

    And be aware that cutting Bermuda is tricky and not every mower will do it well. I didn't like the Scag offerings in the sizes I needed because of a few technical things related to mowing Bermuda (lack of great mulching system, location of anti-scalp wheels, etc). I have mowers that leave it looking great, and other mowers I wouldn't touch it with. That doesn't stop a lot of folks, but I see some butcher jobs out there and you'll be more likely to get a lot of turnover if the cut on it isn't good. You also have to either bag or mulch Bermuda due to its density. Leaving clippings on top shows and will probably not satisfy a lot of customers.
  4. Grass-Masters

    Grass-Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    So If I am reading this right the season ends in december and restarts in march for the most part. I uderstand it varies based on type of grass. Does this sound about right.

    Bruce32- If you were going to pick the best mowers "In your opinion" for the area what would they be. Keep in mind If bagging is necassary I have baggers on both my mowers.
  5. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 840


    I understand that you are looking to relocate and are looking for a location that has a longer, more sustained mowing season that MI. Most any of the Southern States, and I am not saying just the Southeast, will almost have year around work with extras and contact customers.

    That said, I have some accounts in my area that I am still mowing, even now in Jan. Alot of it is all about how the lawn is maintained. I have some customers that have fallen off for the winter, but for the most part, everyone os on a service agreement and get visited all year long.

    If we do not get an extended period of cold weather through here, we might have an early season start this year. For most of Dec and Jan so far, we have had high temps in the upper 60s to 70s. Alot of areas are already statrting to green back up.

    I will warn you though, you do not want to come to the coastal Georgia Area. There is a good bi of competition already here, and many companies that are working at this part time and looking to go Full Time.

    Good Luck with your search.
  6. tjsquickcuts

    tjsquickcuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 943

    I am sure everybody runs their LCO different, but my season is from March thru the end of Dec. I still have a lot of my new homes with new turf, high end, and commercial accounts that I am still having to maintenance because I over-seeded them with Rye in Sept......With all the warm weather, and rain we have been getting it really has that rye growing out of control.....I choose to only seed a few lawns because I cut my operation in half from Jan-Feb. Just me and my foreman keep working, but only a few days a week and on our time.....We still do a few installs, landscape lighting, and other maintenance things. The season really is year round, but its always good to have time off for planning for the new season, and just for R & R.....But as far as my full season, this year it will start on March 5th, and end of Dec 29th.....One of the only reason I over seed some of my lawns with Ryes is to attract a little attention, and make people wonder on how their neighbor has the same type of grass, but its green.....A great marketing tool....If I get a call from a area where I already have accounts, I just refer them to the only green lawns in the neighborhood.....makes it easy to spot my work....As far as visit, I have a general 38 visit program that includes Fert and Squirt, aeration, and general maintenance....
  7. Grass-Masters

    Grass-Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Thanks for the replies, any others. I appreciate it.
  8. mow & snow

    mow & snow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 225

    caruso services - How many weeks do you cut for in MI? I get 30 weeks here. (April 17-Nov 12)
  9. Grass-Masters

    Grass-Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    about the same here, I am looking for an area where I can add another couple months of work. It looks like this global warming crap is making every winter worse and worse.
  10. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Yes, generally it's March-December. The more high end your customer, and the more "full service" you are, the more things they'll want you doing to their lawns over the winter months, so you may be able to continue with weekly visits with some customers, but as far as turfgrass growing, the above post applies.

    Mower choice really depends on so many factors(who's using it, what type of lawns, how big of lawns, etc) I can't give an easy single choice. It'd probably be easier for me to give you my pros/cons on a particular mower model in terms of being used here. Just PM me if you have any questions. Most mowers I checked out always had a fatal flaw in terms of how I needed to use them. Sometimes small things would make it unacceptable. But I have pretty high standards on how the lawn looks when I'm done. The typical setup is one med/large ztr, a med/small midsize wb, and a 21". There really is a bigger variety of mowing conditions here vs either north or south of here.

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