how do i take care of a lawn after winter?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by flyingdutch16, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. flyingdutch16

    flyingdutch16 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 465


    I was wondering what should i do with lawn after the winter, do i fertilize it or do cut very lown the first time? Any good tips?

  2. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    you need to post your location and turf type in your area. Otherwise no one can give you any sort of an educated answer.

    Two, if you are just starting out, as you obviously are, you really need to do some research and reading of materials offered by your states local extention office or university that provides information on turfgrass. Ours is K-State. They offer everything from the most basic mowing tips to very indepth research trials on the newest chemicals and turf varities.
  3. flyingdutch16

    flyingdutch16 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    okay, well i live in Pennsylvania, and i all ready have an aerator for my lawn. But i have more a question about the mowing height, because i have seen in some videos that they recommend to start mowing very low, and they slightly move the deck up. What do you recommend?
  4. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Cool season turf tyou want to mow it lower than your "usual" mowing height, by an inch or so. I usually start the year mowing around 2.5" for the first cut. It just takes off the dead tips (what's died over the winter, I know cool season grass is just dormant) and also helps lower the crowns again that usually end up higher from over the previous year of mowing tall. This is more an issue in tall fescue than in bluegrass. Also the first lower mowing helps clean out any leaves that were stuck in the turf and pick up turf that may have been matted down from snow piles.

    Don't scalp fescue and bluegrass. I mean, you *can* but it's really not healthy for it. After the first cut or two at the lower height you can raise your deck to your summer cutting height then if you like. I do prefer to go up in steps like you asked though. Our top height here is usually 3.5 to 3.75 inches. On smaller lawns I'll keep them 3 to 3.25 inches. Smaller areas just don't look good mowed taller in my opinion.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I do is, first, clean up the lawn with a blower, then overseed thin spots.

    In a couple of weeks the grass has grown a bit, I then, 'mulch mow', it as short as is tolerable for the particular turf.
    This helps cover the seed that should be worked into the ground by now, from the process of freezing and thawing soil movements.

    When the seed germinates, during a normal spring... you can imagine the soil temps are now... about 50 degrees. When the grasslings are old enough, to withstand N burn, you can feed them. (I like to use Milorganite as a non-burning, moisture release fert, for the hot, dry period they are about to face.)

    If you are so inclined the pre-m can be applied now too, because the temps in the soil could rising to 55 degrees and the CG starts.
    For me I just cut the grass higher as the temps go up, so the CG doesn't even try unless something happens to the turf.
  6. flyingdutch16

    flyingdutch16 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    Thanks for the helpfull tips guys, correct me if im wrong but 3.5inch is a good mow height right?
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  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,286

    I agree per above, your first cut, cut 1/2 inch to 1" lower than your regular cutting height. Also, I cut all my lawns at 3" during the main season. Any higher than that, and it looks unkept and the customers yip. I am not comfortable cutting much lower than this, although I will do 2 1/2 inch on occasion for customers that just HAVE to have the 'sheared sheep' look.

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