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Lawn Maintenance / Lawn Renovation
A great way to talk about all things lawn care related. Grass, turf, shrubs, trees, aeration, fertilization, reseeding, hydro-seeding, mowing, grub control, chemicals and pesticides. Ask questions, give answers. Grow!

Grass Height


Lawn Maintenance / Lawn Renovation

A great way to talk about all things lawn care related. Grass, turf, shrubs, trees, aeration, fertilization, reseeding, hydro-seeding, mowing, grub control, chemicals and pesticides. Ask questions, give answers. Grow!
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  #1  
Old 06-07-2008, 11:16 PM
tomcat172002
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Hey,

I was just wondering how to determine how high to cut the grass. When I started out the Scag Dealer said to go between 3 and 4 inches. In April and May the lawns were very wet and it rained just about everyday. So I was cutting it at 2 3/4 inches. Now we are going through a hot spell so I raised my deck to 3 inches. I am in the Cleveland area so I know different areas might be cut differently. Let me know

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Tom
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  #2  
Old 06-08-2008, 11:21 PM
UniversityLandscapers
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The general rule of thumb is to cut 1/3 of the height of the grass off per cut. I only use a little walk-behind, so I adjust the height as necessary on every lawn.
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Old 06-08-2008, 11:28 PM
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we maintain all of our lawns at an even 4".... looks a little high, but it ensures that we are the last company cutting in drought stress... our lawns stay nice and green throughout the season... last cut we take down to 3" for the winter. We are in NJ
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:19 PM
comanche comanche is offline
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Hi Tom,

I do the height the same as you do it. If its cool you can cut it shorter (2 3/4 in) but when it gets hot and windy raise the deck up to 31/2 in.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:24 PM
rower30 rower30 is offline
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Default The quick is it!

The real answer, and given by mother nature, is to NEVER cut to the quick (where the grass turns from green to white / yellow in color). For fescue that's about 3.0" so stay at least 1/2-ibch above that. The grass grow from the quick layer. Cut that off and the grass has to heal itself verses grow. Don't leave enough green blade and the grass lets the roots die out as it can't support the family so to speak.

If you're good, you'll learn what the grasses you cut, and adjust accordingly to the worst case grass quick height. Set your height so all the yard is even, and not to short for the grass with the highest quick. Grass is healthiest at just below seed height (6.0" for turf fescue) but people don't like it!!

The best benefit of mowing taller is like what's already been said, the root system is robust to support a good top growth and can stay hydrated much longer than a short cut. The second best thing is weed like bare ground and sunlight. Taller grass removes those ideals for weeds.

People remove clover (a big mistake for yard health) and try to grow a mono culture since it "looks" better. Clover dies NOT crowd out grass. It grows in nitrogen poor soil where the grass ISN'T. When the clover adds nitrogen to the soil, the grass moves in to steal it away and the clover moves on top other bare spots. Grass and clover grew up together. Clover does a much better job than fertilizer, too, as it's nitrogen is better fixing than fertilizer is, and stays put in the soil.

Yes, the taller grass won't be as crisp looking with foot traffic, or wind, but it will actually tolerate traffic much better.

I cut right to the quick height ONLY the last cutting of the year to avoid spring fungus growth that grows under taller grass laid flat by the snow. The spring sun warms the ground and gets the moisture under the grass plenty warm to accelerate mold growth (those BLACK patches you see!). Black mold kills the grass.

Want more proof? Watch a tree that has been topped by a so called tree service. The tree grows multitudes of thin strip branches at the cut sites to try to get leaf foliage out to keep the root system alive that was intended for a full sized tree. No, those aren't "branches"! If it can't get foliage out, the root system dies out in the winter and stunts the tree. Then, the thin strip branches break off at the sprout site where there is a ninety degree bend (weak spot). Would you make a joint like that in a fishing pole and expect it to be strong? The owner of the tree has the so called service come in AGAIN since that darn tree is dropping "branches" and tops it again and again till the tree has to be removed.

Cutting grass too short is doing the same basic wrong thing. You PRUNE a tree for shape, and you PRUNE your yard the same way. Too much too many times is going to kill the yard / tree. Fertilizer won't help..it will actually make it worse (burn the weak grass) as there is too much in the soil for the amount of growing going on.

You can't fight mother nature...and it shows in how your work looks year after year.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:36 PM
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I wouldn't take any advise from a Scag Dealer or any other dealer for that matter. They sell mowers, very, very few actually have any experience of actually using them. lol
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprinkler Buddy View Post
I wouldn't take any advise from a Scag Dealer or any other dealer for that matter. They sell mowers, very, very few actually have any experience of actually using them. lol
Here's an observation form an urban farmer (me) who does use a mower...

Their is a lot in our neighborhood that the owner cuts WAY short. I guess he figures it will take longer between mowing till it longer. It will grow FAST as it can in the spring to repair the damaged xylem but what happens when it is assaulted all summer long like this?

I walk past this lot every day and this late August noticed all the grass has gone to seed with a VERY short blade height and even with the yellow xylem showing. Hum...what's with that?

I walked up my drive way and get this, the grass right along my walk, where yours truly uses the WRONG tool for the job of edging, also has too short grass gone to seed. Same event and same outcome with the same type of grass (Ohio field fescue). Yep I need to get a vertical edger and stop horizontally trimming the grass to 2.0" tall!!! Over the summer, all I have is mostly crab grass and weeds along the drive. The Ohio field grass that remains is DYING and gone to seed.

The rest of my yard is over two weeks between mowing's (no rain of late) and is not at seed ANYWHERE even at 5.0" or so tall, with just a few dandelions popping up where the grass is driest. Why? I cut at 4.0" there and the grass seems happy as a clam in the heat with deeper roots to quickly recover when it rains. No need to seed when you're going to be around next year.

Oak trees, when stressed, produce prodigious amount of acorns in the fall. Don't ask me how I know. In essence, they are replacing themselves if they don't make it in the spring. Got an Oak doing this? Better have it looked at! From my observations...grass does this, too. If it senses a dying event, cutting way short through and into the late HOT summer, it grows seed before it grows a BLADE to get seeds into the ground.

Interesting. So if you see a yard going to seed with short blades, better raise your mower deck as the grass isn't liking what you're doing one bit. Sometimes the plant will tell you what's going on if you link the chain of events along the way.

Got customers that complain about too long a cut? Educate them and let them know it is in their best interest, they'll love you for it. All grass is slightly different as far as the cut height, but cut too short and it all does the same thing...it dyes. Lawn care experts should do more than just cut the grass.
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UniversityLandscapers View Post
The general rule of thumb is to cut 1/3 of the height of the grass off per cut. I only use a little walk-behind, so I adjust the height as necessary on every lawn.
100% in agreement
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