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bermudagrass height

Posted by dirt_man OK (My Page) on
Tue, May 15, 07 at 13:28

How tall should my common bermudagrass be after I mow it?

Okcdan stated in another thread that he cuts his lawn to about 5/8". I was flipping through a book of mine (I think it was Plants of Texas by Howard Garrett) and if I'm remembering correctly he says bermudagrass should be 1" - 3"......that's a pretty big difference.

thanks

dirt man


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: bermudagrass height

I disagree with HG all the time.

If you want a really dense and soft bermuda, mow low. The hybrid bermuda grass on golf course greens is mowed at 1/16 inch. If you want a prickly feeling, weed infested bermuda, that looks brown when you mow, mow high.

If I had common bermuda I would get a reel type mower and mow it like okcdan.


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RE: bermudagrass height

The problem with common bermuda that if allowed to get too tall, when you mow it will look like a bunch of stubble until it greens up again. The real issue is not to let it get too tall between mowings. I personally would keep it around 2" and a sharp rotary mower does just fine. Common bermuda is virtually indestructable but it is invasive so I hope you have a good string trimmer.


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RE: bermudagrass height

Heard Neil Sperry talking about the very issue on his radio show this morning and he suggested mowing common bermuda around 1-1/4" high for the best results.


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RE: bermudagrass height

I always do the opposite of what Neil Sperry says to do. I'm not sure what that would mean in this case.

Actually I would mow it at 3/4 inch but I don't have the luxury of sun to grow bermuda in.


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RE: bermudagrass height

I guess if you do the opposite of what Sperry says you should cut it at 6". I listen some to Sperry and Garrett mainly if I happen to be in the car. I find Sperry considerably less judgemental than Garrett. Common bermuda lawns are rare in my area of Tarrant County simply because most folks have planted urban forests and are lucky if they can grow any grass at all.


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RE: bermudagrass height

I have hybrid bermuda (sod) and common bermuda (yuma variety) and mow it all at less than 1". This year I'm way behind, I haven't put anything out (fert or pre-emergent) but I've been mowing low and often. In the past two weeks I've noticed my common bermuda growing thicker and horizontally and the weeds are weakening because I keep mowing them down.

so the adage of good practices and taking only 1/3 of growth when mowing and mulch mowing is proving very important.
kevin


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RE: bermudagrass height

  • Posted by okcdan 7 OKC - Bermuda (My Page) on
    Tue, May 22, 07 at 11:06

1-1/4"? 2"? 3"? No. Not with bermuda. Well, with a rotary, maybe 1" would be okay.

Hybrids can easily be cut lower than 1/2" & common less than 1" -- My lawn is a mix with mostly hybrid & some (less than 20%) common. Mowing bermuda short makes it much more dense. I mowed mine @ .750" (3/4") last year & I'm mowing @ .625" (5/8") this year.

I haven't taken any pics yet this year, but here's a couple showing .750" mow height:

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge....

My 2 cents

Good day, Dan


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RE: bermudagrass height

Dan,
Is your wife really ok with the extra-marital affair you are having with your lawn?

Oh, and where could I purchase a power reel mower, how much would it set me back?
Kevin


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RE: bermudagrass height

Don't the rhizones??? burn up in the summer heat with the bermuda grown that low? Does't it take more water to keep it alive without its ability shading itself? My bermuda does not spread very fast on a low setting, I have tried that. I also have the luxury of having st augustine in the yard with it. Thoughts, Ideas, cures?? Thank You, Larry


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RE: bermudagrass height

  • Posted by okcdan 7 OKC - Bermuda (My Page) on
    Wed, May 23, 07 at 10:50

Hi Kevin

I found a place called Professional Power Equipment here in Oklahoma City...they cater to lawn care pros....they're a dealer for both McLane & Tru-Cut reel mowers. They often have used machines on hand for sale. Once I finally decided I wanted a reel mower, I just sort of kept checking back from time to time & I picked mine up in the winter of 2005, only 3 years old (the guy who had it traded up to the 27" model, but was a homeowner, not a commercial lawn guy) and had low hours on it....I got it for $549 plus tax. The one I have retails new around $1100.00, but keep in mind, once you make this purchase, you won't make another for a long long time. We're not talkin Murray or MTD here :) In my case, I'll be 50 later this year, so I don't plan on buying another....ever.... Another fella in this forum who lives near me also has had good luck buying from pawn shops. If you do a search in the Lawn Mowers forum you'll see many threads where we've talked about which brands are best & why, along with maintenance details, selling prices etc...good info...

Oh...the extra marital affair :) No biggie really, it takes me about 20 or 25 minutes every 3rd day during the growing season...just a quick little cardio workout :) The edging & string trimmer only gets done about every 3rd mow.

Hi Larry

Don't the rhizones??? burn up in the summer heat with the bermuda grown that low?

Nope, you cant even see them...click those thumbnails above, you can't see em. When mowing that low, the bermuda gets more dense than mowing taller. Do you play golf? The guy I took my mower to for sharpening is the mechanic for a local gold course. It's all bermuda. (Of course the greens are a high input hybrid.) But still, they mow the greens @ 5/16"....they mow the fairways @ 1/2"...they mow the rough @ 1"...Have you ever seen the rhizomes in a golf fairway? My lawn looks like a fairway & that's exactly the look I desire.
Here's a close up of my lawn for further inspection:

Does't it take more water to keep it alive without its ability shading itself?

Not at all. I water twice a month, very very deeply. (approx 1-1/2" or irrigation.) My lawn is established, and bermuda roots grow very deep, so the turf can go long periods without surface water. Not so coincidentally, weeds find it very difficult to survive or even germinate when you're not watering all the time!

I also have the luxury of having st augustine in the yard with it.

No disrespect intended, but frankly, to me, that wouldn't be a luxury at all. They are two very different looking turfgrasses and they are on nearly opposite ends of the cultural practices spectrum. Bermudagrass is a fine leafed turf with high fertilizer requirements, low watering requirements and mowing very short is best when you want it to thrive. St. Augustine is a very course bladed turf, with medium to low fertilizer requirements, and it needs significantly more water in the heat of summer to thrive (in fact, it'll die if it gets no water, but bermuda without water will just go dormant,) and it does the best when you mow it high, 4" or more is better.

Thoughts, Ideas, cures??

Perhaps the reason you can't get your bermuda to thrive is because you also have the St.Augustine. Don't get me wrong though, I don't dislike St.Augustine, in fact, if I had lotsa trees producing shade, it'd be my turf of choice. What you're up against is that you do have both, if you mow real short & water less & fertilize more, the bermuda will thrive & the St.Augustine will decline & vice-versa if you mow high, water more & fertilize less. Know what I mean? What you really should try to do is determine which one to encourage (and which to discourage) & that would be a matter of shade vs. sun areas as well as personal preference.

Well, that's my 2 cents for today :)

Have a great day everyone!

Dan


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RE: bermudagrass height

thanks Dan,
I saw a used reel mower once for $350 at a driving range.
I could check pawn shops that's a good idea. My $200 murray is 6.5 yrs old now, not bad, I think. I've replaced all 4 wheels and change air filter, oil, and spark plug once in a while. I'm guessing I'll get two more seasons out of the frame. Then I'll need to look into other options.
kevin


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RE: bermudagrass height

Thank you for the reply Dan. My St augustine is under my trees, and my bermuda is out in the open. There is my problem, trying to find the right height that both might do well. Is there a happy medium? Thanks again, Larry


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RE: bermudagrass height

Okay Gurus, I'm back. I mow about 3/4 of an acre. Here is what I did today. Per the advise I recieved,I I cut the back part of my yard (weeds,bermuda,buffalo) from 3" to 1 1/2". Yard lookes scalped. (wife is mad!!) Sides and front (bermuda,buffalo, weeds), I cut at 2". It actually looks good. Rest (St augustine, weeds), where the trees are stays at 3". 1.At what height should the buffalo be cut? 2. What can I do to get the back part to fill in? 3. Do you know any organic lawyers? Any ideas, thoughts suggestions are appriciated. Larry


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RE: bermudagrass height

Larry,
Scalping bermuda once isn't a big deal, just don't wait too long to cut it again. We are getting no rain here in GA and I'm still cutting my bermuda every 5 days, it barely nips it but it's burning up the weeds and the bermuda is getting thicker. From what I do know of buffalo (very little) is that if your bermuda is healthy it will overtake everything else (unless you have some shade).

give the bermuda a week or so and that scalped look will turn green again, and keep it at same height by mowing sooner than it looks like it needs it. If you want to keep the front same as back you might be able to mow a tad lower in increments daily, but may as well scalp front too then it will green up and keep it there by mowing more often.
As it was posted in this thread or another, if you mow the bermuda low it will choke out the st. augustine (unless there is shade) and if you mow it all high the st. augustinge will choke out the bermuda. I can attest to the bermuda first hand though. hope that helps and gets you started.
kevin


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RE: bermudagrass height

Thanks Kevin, it looks awfully bad now. Is there anything I can do besides organic fertilizer to get the bermuda to spread horizontally? I am trying to cut it twice a week, weather permitting. Thanks, Larry


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RE: bermudagrass height

Larry just stick with the good cultural practices (mowing low and often, water deeply and infrequently) and the bermuda will start creeping. It will do so quicker if it is fertilized and your soil is healthy. Also if you have common bermuda, it is probably still coming out of dormancy. My hybrid bermuda greens up and starts growing sooner than the common. Also as the summer heats up it will grow more. Here in the atlanta area, we've had night temperatures in the high 50's (believe it or not) the past week or two. The soil therefore does not get as warm throughout the day. As long as it doesn't get too dry and go into dormancy, bermuda will thrive in the heat, especially that sticky humid heat we have in the peach state. Good luck, I predict that scalped lawn will look better in a few days.

good luck,
kevin


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RE: bermudagrass height

  • Posted by okcdan 7 OKC - Bermuda (My Page) on
    Fri, May 25, 07 at 12:29

Hi Larry, I agree with Kevin, your bermuda will be fine, just don't let it get real long/tall again. As long as you keep it short, it'll green up nicely for you. You also will do well with ur St.Augustine leaving it up there around 3" and while it looks just a bit different in places where the St.Aug comes right up to the bermuda, it'll be the best for both your grass types to try to maintain each of them as the separate turf types that they are. You just really can't pick one mowing height for all ur turf & come to a happy medium. So, you've got the right idea.

Is there anything I can do besides organic fertilizer to get the bermuda to spread horizontally?

You're already doing it now that you're mowing it low. All you need to do now is to continue to maintain it that way.

Good day, Dan


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RE: bermudagrass height

Thank you, I really appreciate your help and words of encouragement. Larry


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RE: bermudagrass height

Hopefully someone will reply to this, but I'm working on getting my common Bermuda going their is a big tree that provides a lot of shade what is the best route to get it growing in the shade


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RE: bermudagrass height

Bermuda does not grow in the shade. It needs a minimum of 6 hours full sun.


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RE: bermudagrass height

Two questions:

1. What's the best way to determine what type of grass I have? The builder planted it. Could I post or link to a picture here?

2. I think I have hybrid Bermuda. What's the best height using a rotary mower? I have a non-motorized reel mower, but I have 1/3 acre and that's a lot of work. I've waited 2 weeks to mow it this time. I'm going to cut 1/3 off, wait a few days, cut 1/3 off again. Once I get it to the correct height, I can try the reel mower to see how difficult it is. I used to use it on a very small St. Augustine lawn. It was a bit of work. I assume Bermuda is much easier to cut.

Shannon
Austin TX


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RE: bermudagrass height

Shannon, if you decide to post a photo, you will get better replies if you start your own new thread. People will not be coming to "bermudagrass height" to find your images of an unidentified lawn.

Chances are very good that if a builder put it down in Austin, TX, it is TIF 419 bermuda, one of the best and least expensive turf grasses available.

For a rotary mower set it at the lowest or next to lowest setting and mow 2x per week. For a reel mower, if your surface is level enough you can mow TIF 419 down to 1/2 inch easily. 1/2 to 1.5 to 2 is good. Mow it 2x per week during the summer while it is growing fast. You need to do that to keep it growing horizontally. If you have no trees to drop twigs into the lawn, then a push type reel mower will work very well.

If your surface is bumpy, or becoming bumpy as time goes on, there are several threads in the regular lawn forum about leveling bermuda lawns.

Find the Bermuda Bible online and memorize it. It will help you with mowing and fertilizing tips.

Water it once per week at about an inch. Measure 1 inch using several cat food or tuna cans.


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