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Lawns turning brown after cutting

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by 130perweek, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Brown & Co.

    Brown & Co. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 134

    LOL Isaid to myself god damn thats a lot of crap.... lol is there a way to edit posts I will definatly format the jumbled text...was just on a typing rampage. Sorry Fellas... Been checking out your work blades, good stuff I like it all.
  2. MileHigh

    MileHigh LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,466

    thanks man.

    you can only edit your posts within 10 minutes of posting them.
  3. Brown & Co.

    Brown & Co. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 134

    Everyone's got the same ideas...the only way to know for sure is to research it and learn. Your in an industry that's always coming up with new ways to do things to be more effective and effecient. Never cut more than a 1/3 of the blade because it has a high chance of stressing out the grass.

    From a biological aspect you never know how that stress will effect the grass. It could effect it in numerous ways such as the plants photosynthesis or weaking of the plants infastructure due to a lack there of (Its too numberous were the root problem lies...theoretically you wont know whats really causing it with 100% certainty. Remember the steps you've taken and what works to get the result you want.

    I also saw that you had mentioned mowing and fertilizing in the same sentance...Im just assuming you might be putting it down the same time your mowing or even a couple of days after mowing. If thats the case you may try waiting about 3 days or so after you mow to put down your fert. Its just one more thing that could be lending ahand to the brown color/stress.

    Heat (as well as a dry cold) also if you fertilized and its wanting to become fairly dry in your area it chould cause a burning apperance. Also not sure what type of grass it is but 3.5 IMO for a cut is too high unless its a grass like st.augustine but at that height you should be cuting it every 3 or 4 days almost, maybe not quite that much but close. In those cases that its to be mowed at 3 inches your most certainly going to have to be cutting it weekly...DONT fret...just inform your client whats happening and why you think its happing (this is why doing your own research is key since its your suggestion to your client.) Charge them for the extra mows or anything you do on the property grounds. Your services are not free Im sure. Hell once you get your knowledge down on the subject charge for your suggestions afterall it was your hard work and time learning it right.

    Getting back to the case at hand...soil tests are great as mentioned before (a soil test prolly is not going to help your brown patches as I think it is related to the conditions listed below) although the way it was mentioned before in the other post is not entirly out there for you to understand. They also when done through the right network (everyone has their own ppl) the report will tell you what micro/trace elements you might need as well as what amounts and other suggestions from a biological aspect. It lets you know the pH of the lawn and Lime is usually used to raise or lower it. BUT thats only part of it.

    As others have mentioned fungus and disease...if most of your accounts are experiencing this problem and it is a disease/fungus it chould be hitching a ride on the underside of your mower just waiting for you to spread it to the next lawn. (if thats the case wash the undercarriage of the mower and dry it after each lawn until you find out what lawns are infected and you treat them or have some one treat them and they havnt shown signs of disease or fungus for about a full season. Just be safe. Would hate to see another company get in serious trouble for infecting someone elses property expescially if its a fairly large commercial piece that the owner would then have to fix with his own money... that will piss some one off something fierce I know I would be.

    BUT More than likly its a combination of watering, nutrients, weeds, and if your remaing grass thats 3.5 inches is brown thats alot of thatch, Im thinking, and with tempatures raising that could become devistaing to the lawns appearance (Why your seeing so much brown). Even more so if your clients are watering too much (which could cause your grass to go dormant early if temperatures fall and that extra moisture in combination with the thatch freezes; the same goes for the oposite weather conditions....lets say its getting hotter; which is your case I believe, that extra moisture could be baking your grass at the ground level. Note: Decomposition favors warm, dark, and moisture; prolly more so "humidity" on a microscopic scale.

    As you can see other problems feed off of other problems. First and for most you cant work on an over grown lawn. That would be the first problem with it. Mow it regularly and mow it often...sometime even changing the direction you mow at changes the way the grass stands and in turn changes how it grows. Every lawn/property is unique. Thats one reason soil tests are taken with numberous collections throughout the entire property grounds.

    This has only been my experience...Im more than certain people have come up with different and also had execlent results. My suggestion would be to get that lawn scheduled to be cut regularly when it NEEDS it. That would be when the grass has grown 1/3 of its recommended length (sorry im not being specific as I dont know what type of grass it is). That could be once a month (not likly), every other month (still not really the case year round); I would let your client know you will need to cut the lawn every 10-15 days as you have NO idea what the weather is going to be like. If your lawn is running smoothly and you MAINTAIN it at the proper cut height those other problems we discussed earlier will diminish enough to figure out just whats causeing it.

    It should eliminate the thatch (may take a rake or a thatcher.) Its hard work being on top of a person's lawn...if you actually do care about the property grounds...there's a difference. One person is just there to cut the lawn and thats it. The other is there to figure out whats going on and fix the problems as they occur, often retracing steps. If you have some specific questions about something you want to try that might help us forum members brainstorm your situation.

    As it stands theres too much to diagnose with all the things listed. Im here to help as my schedule allows and my email is listed on my profile if you would like to shoot me a private message with your specifics. Try posting some close up pictures and/or from a distance so that we can see first hand what your seend and not letting our imagination from our experience take over. :)
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2009
  4. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Other than cutting height I don't disagree with you post, but it sounds like a PHd who never mowed a lawn talking about mowing lawns.

    Cornell and most other northern agricultural schools recommened 3 1/2 inch cut heights for rye-.blue-creeping fescue lawns here. Customers want a mow once a week, and most won't pay for cuts every 5 days. Ivory tower ipinion there. .......not real world.

    With this kind of rain, something like 28 days out of the last 32, grass is gonna get high. I cut my own lawn as often as I can, but conditions here have been so bad, so hard to keep up with, I took about 4 inches off my OWN lawn today, and I know how bad that is.

    Book smarts is one thing... being out here mowing and applying is a whole different world.
  5. Brown & Co.

    Brown & Co. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 134

    Well I think your giving the books smarts too much credit. Im my area we typically have Bermuda/Zoysia Hybrid. I just understand that kind of thinking... and that above is everyday knowledge, I hope for those of you that did go to college in turf managment know WAY more than that( Im only speaking from my highschool education and 15 years of grounds maintinance.) I do take offense to the comment about never mowing a lawn before. Up to this year Ive been a solo operation servicing more than 40 contracted accounts (the same ones year after year; meaning I keep them). I love what I do. Anyways just hope anything i said prior is helpful to a person who came to us for help because he/she DIDNT know. :) Its cool though the other stuff about sounding like a ph'd, makes it a good post for me :D Im 23, and this is the first year with a crew. Should be able to atleast double my accounts.

    PS 5 days is the earliest I would come back to mow again to get the lawn lower, safely. if its a foot high, mow a 1/3 off, wait 5 days or so, and then mow againto take another 1/3 off repeat as needed till the lawn is at your perfered height ;)
  6. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Mowing the grasses you have in TX is very different from what we mow in the NE, but the idea of mowing every 5 days in the spring... cutomers don't want to pay for that, and then if one has room to go on a 5 day schedule, what happens in July? Take 2 days off each week?
  7. I understand that the way to "control the lawns safely" is to cut it twice per week, or every 5 days. My customers are definitely not going to pay me to do that. For these particular lawns, we're talking appx 30 each, so times 2 = $60 per week....yeah right! Maybe I'll tell them what this forum is saying and maybe that will weigh on their decision to pay me $60 per week for the next few weeks - or until the weather gets drier.

    I agree with what Brown & Co. said in their post. There are many factors as to why this is happening to the grass. Thank you for your (as it may have been long-winded) advice. I did read the entire post, before it was paragraphed. And there was plenty of info in there, booksmart or not.

    I came to this forum because I wanted to know why the lawns were browning.....and I have gotten numerous responses, more than I thought I was going to. I have been doing this for 17 years, and I'm only 32 years old. It's a family business since 1964 (Father is Owner, and still kickin it), but we all need to turn to some other professionals for opinions every now and then.

    Thanks again for everyones' inputs on this subject.

    Whitey4: Where are you based out of on LI? And where do you mainly work?

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  8. Allens LawnCare

    Allens LawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 926

    Might be the longest post in the history of Lawnsite......can't lie got 4 lines into it and lost my place.
  9. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    First, let me agree with what you said about Brown's post, solid info, but as you said, I also don't have customers willing to pay for 5 day cuts, and then when July rolls around, my schedule would be wide open, with empty days. The reality of keeping a full schedile in July and August preclude any 5 days spring mowing accounts, especially since I can't bill for ferts and weed sprayings in those months, my billings go down in the summer anyway. That would be a double whammy on cash flow. Sure, grub contols do generate some apps money, but I only use poison when I ID a problem.

    Chris, I am in Hicksville, and have a tight route, Hicksville, Bethpage and Plainview, all within the Town of Oyster Bay. No commercial accounts in my biz plan. I do maintenance, but make my money on apps and designs/plantings and those sort of extras.

    Is your outfit in the NSLGA? I go to the Nassau county meetings....
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,705

    Let me add a second opinion. Not that I disagree with all of the above. However--I think I have seen fungus infection when grass is mowed when slightly wet or very humid conditions. The symptoms are white tips of the cut leaf blade such that the fungus has probably infected the cut leaf blade and worked its way downward about one-quarter or one half-inch. The fungus is probably dollarspot. Common problem when it rains on Satudray and Mr. Homeowner has to mow when conditions are still wet. Look carefully at the individual leaf blades. See if this idea matches your situation.

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