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 Post subject: Preparing for winter
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2003 9:56 pm
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What is the organic recommendation with regards to mowing heights for winter? Is it necessary to scalp the yard once it has begun dormancy or leave it long all winter?

What about when new growth begins in the spring? Scalp or not?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:20 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
What I've seen work the best is to leave your mower setting alone all year long. If you're growing bermuda, centipede, or bentgrass, leave it very short. If you're growing St Augustine, blues, fescues, or ryes, leave it very long all year.

My next door neighbor's St Augustine never turned brown last winter, or the winter before that, or before that. It stopped growing but remained green. She never does anything to her lawn and only started mowing it this year (after 4 years living here). It's always green. After watching her success, I'm trying learn from her "technique."

Scalping encourages weed seeds to sprout and cuts off the sugar supply to the roots and the soil microbes.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
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Location: Garland, Texas
dbl bogey,

Not sure what type of grass you are working with, but when it comes to my Tall Fescue and St. Augustine, I mostly mow at the top setting year round. If I want to keep my Bermuda happy, I will cut it a notch or two lower.

I haven't scalped a yard in two decades, no need that I can think of. This is great, because that was always a nasty chore and is happily a distant memory.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 10:30 pm 
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I am dealing with Bermuda.

I DO like to scalp, simply because it feels like I have a clean slate to work with in the spring, and it keeps the yard tidy during the winter. In DFW, the bermuda is sure to go dormant...every year.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 9:14 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2003 3:53 pm
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Location: Dallas,TX
No way should St. Aug be scalped unless you are overseeding for the winter. I alway wonder why someone wants to do that for a green winter lawn and keep paying the yard guy, or doing the work, for another 4 months! Let the soil rest and recuperate!

As to the comment above re: the San Antonio neighbor... I find it impossible to believe, if Dchall wrote it correctly, that she only started mowing it this year after 4 years. Absolutely not possible... no way... no how... it would be a jungle, or it's dead and painted green.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 9:55 am 
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Location: Garland, Texas
dbl bogey,

You are correct. The Bermuda in this area (DFW) most likely will go dormant this Winter. Mine does, but I have had a an area of St. Augustine that has remained green for the past two Winters.

As far as scalping providing a clean slate; it exposes bare soil which provides a clean slate for weed seeds. Try not scalping next season and see if your weed population is diminished.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:11 am 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Bermuda should be mowed at the scalp height all year anyway. When it is, it forms a prostrate turf that is really thick and fun to walk on.

My neighbor's yard is an enigma. Half her front yard is grass and half is under a tree that the owner refuses to do anything to. The area used to be English ivy under the tree but she let it die from lack of water, if you can imagine that. Since the ivy died, she has taken an interest in reclaiming that side of the yard. She repeatedly plants bermuda (remember it is in full shade) with horrible results. Her son is a landscaper and keeps donating Tiff bermuda to her. I'm not sure about him :roll:

Anyway, she moved in 4 years ago and proceded to never mow or water the St Augustine on the right side of the yard. It grew right through the droughts of the first few years to a length of about 9 inches. I cannot say it was 9 inches tall because it flops over. Then one day 3 summers ago a friendly neighbor mowed it while she was away visiting relatives. He mowed it short and it nearly completely died. She continued to do nothing for the next year. Then last year she bought a reel push mower. She's 80 years old, so its a good thing the area is small (20x30). Last winter her grass was last mowed in September and remained at about 5 inches long all winter. It NEVER turned brown all winter long! And no matter the time since the last rain, it never looks wilty.

My kitchen window overlooks her yard, so I get to watch her very carefully to see if she cheats and waters :D . She and I laugh about the fact that she has never watered in 4 years. She did use Texas Greensand last year. She used it again this year. Her grass is greener than anyone's in the neighborhood including mine which gets corn meal every couple of months. She has mowed about 3 times this summer but no water or fertilizer.

Last week I took a sample of her greenest grass and my greenest grass and went for a walk to compare grass color. Only one house had darker green grass and it is pretty new sod. By and large nobody was even close to either one of us. If they came close on color, the grass blade had a few yellowish veins in it. Ours are dark green in every vein.

I don't want to blab her address over the open Internet but if anyone in SA would like to do a "drive by," write to me personally off the list.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2003 11:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2003 7:01 pm
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
I have mostly St Augustine lawn. In the spring I apply dry molasses and drop the setting one level. Then after a month or so and the grass has filled in solid, I raise it to the top level and leave it till next spring. I normally have to mow every 5 days. Then this time of year I mow every two weeks or so until first freeze and then I just leave it till spring. Living in the Dallas Ft Worth area the temps are usually lower than further south. But, a lot of times my grass under the trees will stay green all year round unless we have a very hard winter.


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