Cutting grass for winter

pt747December 3, 2007

I live in North East Ohio and have a question regarding last grass cutting of the year.

I have a KBG/Fescue lawn. Should I mow short or at the same height as I did in the summer. Last year I didnt change settings and this past spring I had major lawn disease and yellowish grass. I had repaired it by late June 2007 but dont want the headaches next spring. So, should I mow a bit shorter this year and is there anything else I can do to help out before the dead of winter?

I had a local lawn company aerate/overseed in late September and they applied a late fertlizer about 2 weeks ago. Thanks!!

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Last year was the lawn covered with snow for any length of time? If you were on an organic program I would suggest applying ordinary corn meal at 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet and leaving the mower alone. I'm not sure there is a chemical equivalent to the protection provided by ordinary corn meal.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 4:44PM
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quirkyquercus

Find out what the recommended mowing height is for the variety of grass you have and cut it within that range while not taking off more than a third. I would cut shorter if I was wanting to feed and mow frequently. I would mow longer if I was not wanting to feed and mow as frequently. Most people will be somewhere in the middle to higher end of the scale.
I am not familiar with the rules or traditions surrounding the last mowing of the year up north but I would continue mowing as long as the grass was still growing unless you're buried under 3 feet of snow then I'd probably find something else to do.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 5:14PM
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m1shmosh

NEOhio and talking about cutting grass in December?!?!?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 10:46PM
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pt747

well, I posted this before our first snow which was 3 days ago. Last year people were mowing on New Years Day. Our severe winters have been arriving in mid-January the past 5 or so years. Decembers have been mild. We are currently under 2 inches of snow which is now melting. I really dont expect us to have a real winter for atleast a month.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 2:05PM
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m1shmosh

Well, I have never cut the lawn in NEOhio in December, and I have lived in the area quite a number of years. Ideally, you want to put down winterizer AFTER top growth has slowed to a halt.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 8:45PM
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denverdude

I'm guessing that part of your problem last year was that you cut it in December! Your last cut should be around or before Thanksgiving. Most of the time, with residential turf that gets fertilized 3 to 5 times per year, you would want to cut it to a height of around 3 inches or higher - towards the end of the year especially. If you cut it shorter than 2, you are asking for problems that sports turf managers pay a lot of money to fix. During this time of year, you are hoping that your top growth stops and you roots are using and storing that late season fertilizer application. The higher you cut your turf, the more massive and deeper root system you will have, and your top growth will slow down considerably. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 7:52PM
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m1shmosh

Maybe I don't know what a "real winter" is but it seems like winter to me. Cold and lots of snow.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 1:58AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I just had to chime in late so that people don't get the wrong message. Denverdude's post has alot of incorrect information for northern regions. Yes you can cut grass in early December. It depends on moisture and temperature conditions to a point. We had record highs of 70 degrees in the Milwaukee area in early November. My grass almost looks its best for the entire year right now.

3 inches in a good rule of thumb during the growing season, even in the fall. But once you approach late fall you can go to 2.5 inches. Then for the last mow of the year (usually late November), you want to go 1.5 at the lowest, but 2 inches is optimal.

Last year (2007) I didn't mow my lawn short enough for the last mow and in the winter of 2007/2008, Milwaukee received record amounts of snow. My lawn in the spring of 2008, has severely damaged from snow matting and snow mold. It technically didn't recover until early fall. It didn't help that we had record drought in August though.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 10:12AM
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pt747

Still questioning last mow height! Thanks, whaas, for bringing this topic back up. Ive been lowering my deck height from 5 down to 3 gradually for the few weeks. Today I cut at setting 3 and now I see yellowish in lawn but grass is still 3-3.5 inches tall and was DARK GREEN before I cut it. Its a KBG lawn. Im nervouse about cutting any lower as temps continue to fall, but am asking for opinions.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 4:03PM
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eriocaulon(5)

I believe Purdue U. recommends not cutting it short for the winter. I think you are fine at 3" unless you've had a lot of snow mold. I left mine at 3.5" last year and although there was some matting of topgrowth by thaw out, it was not a problem at all. In theory, even at this time of year, longer topgrowth may mean deeper roots and more leaf surface for photosynthesis.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 3:13AM
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dargo

Funny-Ohio state U says below 2.5" for cool grasses...

So that says the U studies are all over the place and no one is right.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 5:10PM
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eriocaulon(5)

So that says the U studies are all over the place and no one is right.

I disagree. They all basically give the same message with only small variation. According to OSU, cutting it 1/2" shorter for winter is "permissible", especially in regions with known winter diseases. The ranges the various universities give for recommended mowing height are roughly equivalent. You don't see anyone recommending 1" nor 4" for KBG for instance, now do you?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 6:29PM
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skizot(5b)

Funny-Ohio state U says below 2.5" for cool grasses...

So that says the U studies are all over the place and no one is right.

buy_25 is back as dargo! That's hilarious!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 11:10AM
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eriocaulon(5)

You sure? The IP listed on their member page seems like it matches someone else... it would be funny if it were though. LOL.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 11:32AM
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dargo

Some real funny posters here.....:)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 1:09PM
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eriocaulon(5)

Dargo,
One peep out of you about chelated iron and you are sooooooo busted!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 3:27PM
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turf_toes(SE Pennsylvania KBG)

Garden Web doesn't place the IP address of members in your profile. That information is only available in the source code of the web page.

Whatever information is in his profile, he entered himself.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 2:20PM
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turf_toes(SE Pennsylvania KBG)

Take a look at my profile and see for yourself:

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 2:29PM
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eriocaulon(5)

Thanks TT. This makes sense now... pretty funny! Nothing wrong with a little hijinx in my book!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 3:02PM
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turf_toes(SE Pennsylvania KBG)

So what is your screen name at the other place? Only folks who refer to me as TT are those from that site. You also seemed to know about UN.

Just wondering.

best.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 3:14PM
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eriocaulon(5)

Subywu=m1shmosh=eriocaulon. I don't visit "that site" anymore, but the last thing I remember was UN's "super mix" of fenoxaprop/triclopyr to kill off bentgrass--didn't quite work so well though.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 3:21PM
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turf_toes(SE Pennsylvania KBG)

Ah Eriocaulon!

For some reason I thought you were in Ohio. I'll be in touch (via e-mail) in the next month or so. There is some news you might be interested in.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 3:27PM
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gryd(Trumbull, CT Z6)

I still visit both sites. Just when I got used to the other site, everyone seems to be returning here. I just did 5k sq feet of elite KBG in August. Bestlawn posted pics of both M1shmosh and Turf Toes lawns as motivatiion for me. Stick around for when I need your advice come Spring!

Greg

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 3:55PM
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eriocaulon(5)

How did your 5k turn out gryd? In any case, you are gonna love it I am sure!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 8:38PM
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gryd(Trumbull, CT Z6)

It turned out nice (I think). Some Poa and some areas a bit too thick. Of course I got a lot of weeds as well but my germination was very good and I'm looking forward to Spring. Next August I'm doing the other 1/2 of the lawn.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 6:11AM
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gryd(Trumbull, CT Z6)

eriocaulon,

I recall you bought some Nortron herbicide to kill Poa Annua this Fall. Anything to report yet? I'm curious to know if it works and if it's worth it.

Greg

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 4:11PM
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eriocaulon(5)

There has been much poa death. I have been selectively spraying and clustered patches were dead after 3 applications. I may have missed some sprouts here or there (sometimes harder to tell poa in the fall), some sprouts did have limited seeding, and in places were I may have overdone it, I did get noticeable but inconsequential KBG death--should fill in next spring without problem. Safety profile is better than Certainty though. In any case, I will know the final results next spring. If it works out, hit me up end of next summer's end for your own trial in the fall.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 4:52PM
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gryd(Trumbull, CT Z6)

Thanks! I look forward to an update in the Spring.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 5:58AM
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