Cutting height, 2.5 vs. 3'?

ls3c6May 31, 2011

I've been cutting at 3" this year, but it looks pretty shaggy when compared to 2.5" which I prefer. Should I keep it 3" or will 2.5" be fine without any bad effects?

here's a pic @ 2.5" in the back:

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PS i'm in west michigan, zone 5

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 4:31PM
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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

Ok, we need the @3" photo for comparison.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 6:05PM
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If you like 2.5, then cut it at 2.5. All of the cool season grasses can handle that height. Keep in mind that your watering requirements might increase a bit, and you might have to mow more frequently since you should remove less blade length at 2.5 than you can at 3 inches. It will also be a little less drought tolerant, and heat stress tolerant. You might want to raise it to 3 in the hottest part of the summer, although if you have tall fescue, mowing lower will give you a thicker, less clumpy lawn, and will reduce the incidence of brown patch:

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 9:39PM
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The 2.5" height looks good. Have you had your mower blade sharpened and balanced recently?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 11:27PM
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Yeah just sharpened the blade, I mow twice a week either way... i'll try 3 again and see how it looks

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:32AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Where do you live?
What kind of grass do you have?
How often do you water and for how long?
How often do you fertilize and with what?

Switching from a low mowing height to a higher one takes weeks to see the benefit. It will look shaggy until all the grass blades have grown up to the new height. Then you can start to reap the benefits of the higher mowing height.

If you live in the north and have fescue, then I would tend toward a 4-inch mowing height rather than something in the middle. With all that shade it doesn't look like anything else would do that well.

Have you considered landscaping so it does not look so austere?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 10:48AM
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i'm in west michigan, assume it's KGB mix? I water 1" a week when it gets hot, otherwise we've gotten a ridiculous amount of rain so far this year. I use scott's 4 step program currently.

That's the back yard, not going to do any more landscaping here

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 2:22PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

KBG can be mowed in the mid range you are talking about. If you like 2.5 better than 2.85123912, then go for it ;-) My eyes roll back into my head when I see decimal points in mowing height recommendations.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 2:37AM
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@dchall: I completely understand and agree what you are saying about the decimal point measurement in home lawn heights of cut, but allow me to vent for a moment if I may. I am semi-irritated at the moment. In the golf course industry, putting green speeds are a basis for comparison. The difference between 0.125 (1/8") and 0.156 (5/32") heights of cut on golf course putting greens is significant in terms of ball roll speed. The often-abused stimpmeter provides data results that allow individuals to compare apples and oranges in terms of putting green speeds at different courses in a local area. Turf health is never given any consideration in the equation. Many excellent golf course superintendents have lost their jobs and ended their careers because of these slight incremental differences in mowing height.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. I feel better now.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:34AM
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Your lawn looks excellent to me. I used to keep aquariums, and I have noticed similarities between aquarium experts and lawn experts. Everyone has the magic equation for the perfect aquarium/lawn/insert specialty here. Biology is never an exact science though. What works for someone else (3") may not work for you. Maybe 2.5" is find for you. If you have found the equation that gives you a lawn this lovely, I think you should stick with it, and not worry about what the "rule" is.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:48AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

nearandwest, I think we are in full agreement on putting greens. Professional grass growers, including the golf industry, pasture managers, sports industry, etc. have much different issues than the home owner. We are likely fairly close to agreement on home lawn heights, too.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:01PM
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