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Old 08-24-2019, 03:58 PM   #1
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Mowing during a drought


In Western PA we havent had much rain the past 3+ weeks, maybe 2 brief showers. Prior to this past few weeks we got plenty of rain and my parents grass grew green and quick enough to need mowing every 7 days on average. Since there hasnt been much rain recently, about 1/3 of their lawn is turning brown and weeds are starting to creep in. Since they retired their lawn has consumed alot of their time and focus, and it seems that weeds have become enemy #1 for them. I mow their lawn for them, but I havent mowed it for a few weeks because it hasnt grown much and is starting to turn brown. Their grass is thin and not that long so I would have to set the mower height to a lower height then its normally cut just to cut anything, but cutting the grass lower when its thinning out and not growing seems like a dumb idea. They have asked me to mow their lawn again, and the reason is because they want to try to prevent the weeds from seeding. However, their weeds are not growing high so it seems that mowing to prevent the weeds form seeding would not be effective. If their grass was thick and green and weeds where somehow still growing tall and seeding, then sure the lawn could be cut low to pick up those seeds that the weeds are trying to spread, but weeds dont typically thrive on thick green lawns.



So they want it cut to prevent weeds from seeding, but they also agree that it cant be cut too low, but it would have to be cut lower just to cut anything at all and it seems like it would have to be cut lower to accomplish their desire to prevent the weeds from seeding. I'll cut it for them if they really want it, but are they just losing their minds or what?
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Old 08-24-2019, 04:54 PM   #2
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Re: Mowing during a drought


Grass needs trimming, even in droughts. Not drastically. I would raise the blade height to 4" or so and cut it. If you go out early in the morning, even in dry weather, you may see that the ground is actually moist. This is because moisture from beneath works its way up to feed the plants and recedes during the heat of the day.
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:29 PM   #3
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Re: Mowing during a drought


Quote:
Originally Posted by konzole View Post
I'll cut it for them if they really want it, but are they just losing their minds or what?
Yeah, probably. But if you are their son, you gotta do like they ask.

First, if the grass is brown, they should water it. But water costs money, yada, yada, yada .... I know.
You don't state what kind of weeds. If its simple dandelions, there are lots of selective weed killers that will take care of them. If its crab grass, you need to pull it as soon as you see it. Then put down something in the spring to keep the seeds from germinating.
Long grass can help keep weed seeds from getting sunlight, so I wouldn't cut the grass too short.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:13 PM   #4
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Re: Mowing during a drought


What @chandler48 said.

Be careful.

Here in the Land of La La, we just crank up the water, unless we can't.

Just, if you MUST, trim a bit. Keep looking neat, like I tell the barbers to do with my, er, challenged hair.

If the grass is established it'll survive. Close cutting hurts, don't.

Let us know how it goes, @konzole .

P.S. Though I'm in Cali now, I lived in Ohio for many years, and it was right next door to Western PA, same conditions more or less. So, where in WPA are you? My folks are from McKees Rocks, near Pittsburgh. God's country!
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Old 08-24-2019, 10:43 PM   #5
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Re: Mowing during a drought


Keep in mind, the non-selective herbicide glyphosphate (RoundUp and similar) only works on growing plants so you can spray it on brown grass and it will only effect the green and growing weeds. This was the one time of year I made decent headway on the weeds and then overseed as soon as the peak heat of summer is over to help fill in the dead spots.
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Old 08-27-2019, 06:27 AM   #6
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Re: Mowing during a drought


Mowed our front yesterday lowering the deck from a 5 to 4.5. I keep mulching blades fitted. It had been dry here for about a week, 10 days. Previously, month ago, we had finally caught up on rain needed to encourage grass to grow.
Anyway the extra 1/2 was a bit of a gamble as I had been mowing as high as practical to encourage the grass to grow in. (Lots a bare spots in the front.) So yesterday late afternoon it finally rained and I'm relieved. Was concerned about heat stressing the cut lawn.
I'd love to find a stick rake to pull with our CC XT3. I want to get some top soil for the front but spreading it will kill the grass unless the blades are up out of the new soil to breathe. A round tine pull-behind rake would do the trick for that.
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