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Difficulty Cutting Dormant Lawn

Posted by AlphaBravo83 GA (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 8:22

Hello -- I am in the process of cutting away the top-growth of my dormant bermuda grass to bring it down to a 7/8" height (from about 1.5 inches). I say "in the process" because it's proving to be a difficult endeavor. My mower is a 7-blade Mclane, and it is having a terrible time cutting through the material. Every few feet, it jams on a clump of grass, requiring me to clear it. During last year's green season, it had no difficulty giving a clean cut, so I imagine this has something to do with the thickness/hardness of the dormant stems.

The only way I've been able to remotely get through it has been to cut a wheel-width strip at a time, but this is taking forever with a 10,000 sqft lawn.

Things I've tried:
- Give the blades a thorough sharpening so it'll cut paper
- Run over the lawn once with my rotary mower on its lowest setting, which only brought it down to about 1.25"
- From there, start with a 1" setting on the reel mower, which helps a little, but still gets jammed

I'm wondering if I'm using the wrong technique, or even the wrong equipment to begin with. At this rate, I am not looking forward to doing this every spring.

What have you folks done to accomplish this?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Difficulty Cutting Dormant Lawn

You might try renting a powered reel type mower or renting a rotary which goes lower than your rotary goes.

RE: Difficulty Cutting Dormant Lawn

Forgive my ignorance on these machines, but am I right to assume this is a push reel mower?

RE: Difficulty Cutting Dormant Lawn

The depressing thing is, the mower I'm using is a self-propelled power mower -- the Mclane 3.5 HP B&S. Some more info to add to this -- I noticed when I tried cutting round-two yesterday afternoon that it was having difficulty even just getting up the hill where I'd previously cut, Upon closer examination, I noticed that the clutch belt is extremely loose, to the point where it's like a rubber band when not engaged. I've ordered a replacement belt, and I'll see if that improves things.

I inspected all these parts in February, and they were in good shape (I replaced the belt in June of last year). My gut tells me that the stress of scalping has worn it out, and not the other way around, but I'm obviously no expert. I may follow up with a post on the lawn mower forum on this site, unless perhaps you've seen similar wear and tear?

Glad to know I'm not barking up the wrong tree though. Last year I used a manual reel mower and it took several weekends to finish, so I was thrilled when I bought the power variety. It feels like this should be easier than it's turning out to be. Hopefully a replacement belt will do the trick.

Will keep you updated -- thank you for your replies!

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