Scalping: Should You Do It?

Scalping is an issue that every lawn owner is faced with come springtime. In sum, scalping refers to cutting your lawn ultra-short so as to remove dead turf. Scalping is useful because it helps your lawn turn green earlier, and it will also help prevent weeds from emerging. There are many factors that you should take into consideration when deciding on scalping. In this post, we review some of the considerations you need to bear in mind before scalping.

Some grass types need scalping more than others 

This is possibly the most important factor to keep in mind. In general, scalping should only be done for warm-weather grasses. This means that cool weather grasses (such as fescue and rye) really do not need to be scalped unless you are planning to re-seed the entire lawn. Even then, you don’t want to cut the grass as short as you would if you were scalping a lawn with warm weather grass. Meanwhile, scalping is a good idea with your warmer weather grasses, most notably the Bermuda and Zoysia varieties. With these grass types, scalping should be done each spring.

When exactly should scalping be done?

The most important time to scalp your lawn is in the Spring. You do not want to scalp in the summer because the heat is too intense. Lower your lawn mower blade to the shortest setting, run the lawn, and then bag the clippings. Make sure that you have waited until after frost has disappeared. For this reason, its always best to scalp between the middle of March and the end of April. This way, you can be reasonably certain that Spring is in full effect. After scalping, be sure to bag your clippings, as you do not want the cut grass to bask the sun.

It is also acceptable to scalp your lawn in the fall, particularly when re-seeding your lawn.

When scalping, the terrain matters!

This tip is especially pertinent for those of you with uneven terrain. You need to be particularly careful when scalping on bumps and small hills because it is all too easy to tear into the soil. Also, you need to scalp everywhere, since scalping unevenly will result in grass height that is all over the place. If you know your terrain and do a careful job, you should do just fine and have you lawn ready for the growing (and mowing) season.

scalped lawn

Scalped Lawn


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