Turf Magazine - October, 2008
In Your Own Words: How to Cut Bermuda
Houston, Texas: “I
never have to cut bermuda when I’m in Houston. However, I can’t
go back to my home in Galveston, so I’m stuck in Dallas.
“I’ve already picked up four customers up
here and hit two of them yesterday.
“The first customer’s grass was about 8
inches tall. I had to mow this stuff twice for the simple fact that when I
run over this grass it just seems to lay down. It’s so stringy, it
doesn’t seem to want to cut.
“I’m hoping it’s because of the
length of the grass. St. Augustine is much easier to cut in my opinion, but
maybe it’s because I haven’t had the chance to cut a maintained
“I know it’s supposed to be cut much
shorter than St. Augustine, but I haven’t had that opportunity yet.
Any tips would be appreciated, though.
The second customer had 3 to 4-foot-tall grass in his
back yard. About 4,000 square feet. Took me a little under two hours to
“I would normally not pick up jobs like that,
but then again, I only have two changes of clothes and my lawn equipment. I
gotta make money somehow ...”
Muskogee, Okla.: “I’m approximately 250 miles north of Dallas and we have
bermudagrass here, too. I cut mine at 3.25 inches, but I do it at least
once a week, and twice when it is really growing fast.
“With that grass 8 inches tall, and especially 3
to 4 feet tall if you do get it cut down, what remains is going to be
brown. I wouldn’t be surprised if that 3 to 4-foot-tall stuff is
stringy and patchy with bare spots, too.
“Cut slowly and have sharp blades in those
conditions with that high grass. Oh, and be careful of what may have been
left in that grass, like bricks, steel rods or ?”
bermuda shouldn’t just lay over. You sure it wasn’t fescue? I
can mulch bermuda that high with one pass usually.”
Destin, Fla.: “Hate
the stuff. Like cutting Jell-O at that height. Should be cut at 2 or a
little lower. Take it down slowly to that as you will have nothing but
brown grass. This time of year try a low N and some iron to green it
some high bermuda you’re talking about. You sure it’s not
“Anyway, you’ll need to bag it up. With
that much material, even if you mulch, it’s gonna cover the grass and
bad things will happen. Cut it down gradually, don’t shock it down
from 8 inches to 2 inches in one sweep.
“It does like to be cut low, and now, towards
the end of the season, 2 inches should do. I don’t know how hot it
gets in Texas, but have no fear, this grass is really resistant to drought.
By the way, how were you doing with that storm running about?”
and it’s not that stringy unless when sort of ‘half dry.’
Keep the blades sharp and it’s no big deal.
“For trimming, tilt the head just a bit so the
tip of the string does the work. Twisted line works really well, and drop
the revs to a 1/2 to prevent down blow. Can be cut just as nicely as any
Houston, Texas: “Yeah,
it’s definitely bermuda. I had another lawn today that had about 6 to
8 inches of growth, however, it cut great.
“The difference I have noticed is that the one I
mowed today was much more dense and greener than the one yesterday. I think
it is just more difficult when the lawn is dried out more and the grass is
less dense, although tall.
“I cut both of these at 3.5 inches with browning
in mind and will drop the height on the next cuts.”
Spring Hill: “Sorry
to hear you have been displaced, but it’s good to know you are safe
and making a few bucks. Bermuda can be scalped down to the brown, and it
should green up within a week or two with water. Bermudagrass has a long
stalk and a short leaf blade. Common and seashore bermudagrasses are grown
here for hay stock, and will grow to an excess of 3 to 4 feet. Scalp them
down if your customers don’t mind the brown for a week or
Hampton, Ga.: “I
agree. Three to 4 inches is too high for bermuda. I like to keep is at 1.5
to 1.75 inches for common bermudagrass, and 1.25 to 1.5 inches for hybrid
varieties. Cut it every week if you can, but don’t go any longer than
10 days by any means, otherwise, you’ll cut off most of the green
shoot and be left with just the brown crowns.”
Atlanta, Ga.: “Everyone
always says that you are supposed to cut your bermuda very low for it to
look good. This is the furthest thing from the truth. It may be healthier
for the lawn, but most homeowners are not willing to pay for that type of
service. The recommended height is about 1 to 1.5 inches, but its really
hard, almost impossible, to keep this grass at this height, especially when
fertilized and watered regularly. The only way that is possible is if you
mow the lawn like every three to four days.”
“In Your Own Words” is contributed from
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