Proper grass height.

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Hi Everyone,
Today is Monday, I mowed on Friday, and everyone else around me mowed in the last 3 days also. My yard looks overgrown compared to my neighbors already. Am I mowing too high?
Types of grass: blue grass, Tall Fescue, and perenial rye.
I cut at 3" to 3-1/2"
Thanks for the feedback, please post your replies here.
later,
tom
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snipped-for-privacy@intertainiaREMOVE.com wrote:

I don't know where you are or how short your neighbors cut their lawn but for an answer, in July, look at your lawn and then look at your neighbors lawn. That will be your answer. I'm betting yours will look a lot healthier. Most people cut their lawn way too short and then rely on chemicals to control weeds. With the longer lawn, you smother most weeds and shade the ground, which also helps keep the roots cooler and conserves moisture. 2" is my minimum but 3" to 3 1/2" is not unreasonable in my area.
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Thx for the quick reply. I'm in eastern Pa. My next door neighbor goes down to the point the grass is white. My other neighbors appear to go to 2"
My law also looks like a bad hair transfer if you go down to the dirt level, there are many little bald spots. Does taller grass cause the grass to use the extra enegy to spread sideways?
thanks,
tom
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snipped-for-privacy@intertainiaREMOVE.com wrote:

Are you fertilizing? How long has the lawn been there? Do you have a lot of thatch? How long has it been since you aerated? Taller grass does encourage lateral growth of the roots which will fill in most bare spots unless you have a lot of thatch.
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I just moved in under two years ago(aug 03), but I figure the lawn is from when the house was built(93). The lawn wasn't very healthy. Come the first spring here, even with alot of rain(2003), the yard had large brown patches. I checked the grass when I was putting down fert spikes for our trees, and the grass came up in sheets with lots of grubs. All of 2003 I seeded(before crabgrass preventor), fertilized(4 step program), and milky spored the yard. Now it's 2004, the yard looks nice and dark green, but if you go down to the dirt level, it's got lines and bare dirt. Weird how my yard is very lumpy, figure it's cause the dirt doesn't seem to dry out.
Even though i use a mulching lawnmower, the dirt is nice and brown, no acculumation of thatch.
I have not areated at all. Will this help, and what techniques work best?
thanks,
tom
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snipped-for-privacy@intertainiaREMOVE.com wrote:

Is your soil clay? Yes aerating will help immensely. Also, sounds like you could use some peat moss spread before you aerate. Sounds like you are doing a good job so far of healing what once was a very sick yard. If your yard is lumpy you may need to use a water filled roller to smooth it a bit. If you have a drainage problem then other steps need to be taken. You may not have to go to this extreme but here is a bit of info:
http://tinyurl.com/2r76b
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We're about 100 ft from a stream and uphill of it. As for soil, it seems very orgainic, hold water very well, and weeds love it. :)
Wouldn't rolling the yard really compress and damage the grass roots?
thx for the link.
tom
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snipped-for-privacy@intertainiaREMOVE.com wrote:

Without actually seeing your yard it's hard to say if rolling will help flatten the lumps but it won't hurt the roots. Especially if you aerate the lawn first. The best aerater to use is a plug aerater which you can rent. They make a bit of a mess on the lawn for a very short time but the benefits far outway that. Those slicer and star aeraters just seem to actually compress the soil more. Aerating will also help with the drainage. What I'd do, site unseen of course, is in this order: 1. spread a little sand around (optional, will help drainage) 2. core aerate (aeration will encourage lateral root growth and also allow fertilizer and water to reach the roots.) 3. roll the lawn with a water filled lawn roller (also can be rented) 4. fertilize (if you haven't yet this year. You really shouldn't fertilize more than twice a year, with slow release fertilizer.) Like I said, without actually seeing the yard I'd guess that the groung is staying too wet and compacted and you have a shallow root system.
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the grass root is not that delicate. the grass roots can go several inches below the soil surface. the wide surface area of the roller is not narrow enough to ruin the soil surface area and harm the grass roots.
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snipped-for-privacy@mthis.edu wrote:

Rolling compresses the soil. It defeats your lawn aeration job pronto.
It's good for knocking down mole and worm hills, and maybe a few small ruts. That's it.
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Steveo wrote:

If you core aerate, the roller will simply compress any lumps you have in the soil. It will not collapse the core holes enough to be a problem. Actually I find rolling to be more effective when tilling and reseeding but it does help some on "bumpy soil. And I've always mowed my bluegrass, fescue mix at 2 1/2" in spring and 3" in summer. Never had any trouble with bare spots. I live in Iowa. Good thread though. Does give me pause for thought.
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If it doesn't compress the soil, it's not doing anything.
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the lumps are cause by worms sometimes. . if you dig a few up, you might notice worms in them and they are probably under the main grass "plant".
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DIE SPAMMER !!! wrote:

And that would also account for the "lines" you reported.
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I agree there. My lazy neighbors let it get way too long, then scalp it down to nothing. This way they only have to mow about every 10-14 days. Needless to say, the first dry spell and they have a brown lawn.
I keep mine at 3" and mow when it's about 4". I don't mow just because someone else is mowing theirs, or because it's Saturday, or whatever. 3" is nice and thick, and if it gets a little shaggy after only a few days, it doesn't bother me. I also edge, which gives it a very manicured look. It also tricks the eye into thinking the lawn was just mowed (I think), which lets me get away with longer grass. :)
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On Mon, 03 May 2004 21:24:37 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Yeah, when it's edged it looks real nice. I done it a few times with the weed wacker but such a pain. I have a very small property, so gunna get that tool that looks like a kung-fu weapon.
Figure if the neightbors mow any closer to my yard, I have to 'edge' them. :-P
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wrote:

I respectfully disagree. With your type of grass the shorter you cut it, to a degree at least, the more grass plants you will get per square foot and the thicker your lawn will get. Kentucky Bluegrass seems to do best at about 1 1/2".
When I first got into the business, about 15 years ago, I chanted the same old mantra that everyone else did. Cut your grass longer, water less frequently but deeper, aerate annually, mulch your clippings. What I found was that a longer lawn will encourage a thinner lawn and insect and disease growth as well. I ended up with only a few recommendations. - only cut 1/3 of the blade each time you cut - water sparingly, if at all and water in the early morning - ALWAYS suspect an insect when your lawn is suffering - only fertilize in the spring and fall, never in the summer - cut it a wee bit shorter for the last cut of the year - blanket spray the weeds at 1/2 the recommended rate twice a year, once in spring and once in the fall.
That's my perspective anyway.
Peter H
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Peter H wrote:

I'm curious. I think I'll try your way on part of my land and see if it is better. I agree on the cutting of 1/3 of the blade, fertilizing only in spring and fall (to avoid burn) and cutting it shorter for the winter. I still think 1 1/2 inches is too short but I'll find out if you're right. I'll post back the results in a year. Always open to different ideas. Thanks.
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I too have a problem with the 1-1/2" height thing, enough that I don't think I'll experiment with that. But the rest makes sense.
In scotts 4 step there is a summer guard step, why would you not fert in the summer?
tom
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wrote:

on
weeds
it, to

and
about
same
found
disease
once
The grasses you are growing are what are considered to be "cool-season turfgrasses". These varieties only want to grow when the temperature is from about 50 degrees to 80F or thereabouts. If it gets any warmer they try to shut down and go dormant. You can, of course, force them to grow through the heat of the summer by fertilizing and/or watering them, but there is a down side. You set them up for disease infestation.
Homeowners with sprinkler systems are the most susceptible. When I was in the business I used to cringe when I was quoting a lawn with a sprinkler system, particularly if I knew the owner was a real keener.
Peter H
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