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View Full Version : Finished Scalping Bermuda's...


sandman23
03-26-2008, 11:18 PM
I started scalping the first week of March. I have just finished with my regular accounts. I will have some one timers and some new accounts but for the most part, I am done. I must have about 450 cu/ft of Bermuda dust in my sinus's and that is with a mask. I couldn't imagine not wearing one when scalping.

I take them down to 1 1/4" and bring them up gradually throughout the year. I end up between 2 1/2 and 3". We just started aerating and fertilizing. My lawns are about to bust wide open. :clapping:

Atlantic Lawn
03-27-2008, 08:18 AM
Do you bag the clippings ?

sandman23
03-27-2008, 08:39 AM
Yes. We bag when we scalp and during leaf season. The rest of the time we mulch.

dave k
03-27-2008, 04:42 PM
Sandman, what mowers do you use? My Emerald Green Zoysia was real green last week before the hard freeze, its brown again. I'm looking for a mower that mulches Bermuda good, especially with dew in the morning, I use a Walker now with 48SD deck, 42" Mulching deck and GHS deck.

cgaengineer
03-27-2008, 04:51 PM
Dave, I drove by your house yesterday to check on your Zoysia...your Zoysia did the exact same thing as my bermuda on my rear lawn.

As far as the mulching mower, I have been told that my Toro T2 mulches good with the kit...I have not purchased the kit, but I am thinking hard about it and will let you know when I do.

Have you been through The GA Club lately? They have some nice green grass in there...it appears to be some sort of Zoysia but I,not sure which kind it is.

I am also still working on finding out who takes care of some of the homeowners lawns in there for you...the common areas, rights of ways and townhomes are taken care of by Greenscapes

sandman23
03-27-2008, 06:39 PM
I use Exmark mowers. I have a 36" tthp and a 46" Lazer Hp. Both mowers mulch very well. I use the mulch kits and mulch "wavy" blades. I am suprised that the Walker mulch deck isn't working for you.

We were fortunate here as far as the weather. It was only below freezing for a couple hours so there was no damage. The late freeze last year really did a number on the lawns and shrubs. Hopefully we will not have another freeze this year.

dave k
03-27-2008, 07:26 PM
The old Walker deck is ok, but as you know the Walker BTS is so sloooooow, I had pretty good success using Gators on it, a whole lot better than the Walker set up.
I put the SD on it today and will cut tomorrow with it, I cut my lawns at 2" since I'm not getting paid to scalp.
The HP, is that the Ultra Cut deck or Triton?

dave k
03-27-2008, 07:28 PM
Dave, I drove by your house yesterday to check on your Zoysia...your Zoysia did the exact same thing as my bermuda on my rear lawn.

As far as the mulching mower, I have been told that my Toro T2 mulches good with the kit...I have not purchased the kit, but I am thinking hard about it and will let you know when I do.

Have you been through The GA Club lately? They have some nice green grass in there...it appears to be some sort of Zoysia but I,not sure which kind it is.

I am also still working on finding out who takes care of some of the homeowners lawns in there for you...the common areas, rights of ways and townhomes are taken care of by Greenscapes
Chris, I will drive through the club tomorrow, my lawn was looking so sweet, put down some 24-0-10 with Dimension this afternoon, should green up quick with the rain coming this weekend.

nlminc
03-27-2008, 07:40 PM
Ahhhhhhhhhh.........scalping lawns! I fired a customer last week because she DEMANDED that I scalp her lawn all at once (5k sqft) and not charge her extra. I told her I would bring it down to 1" over the course of several mowings ....but her fert guy told her I needed to scalp it to the ground and keep it at 1-1.5" all season. Of course her fert salesman was prolly selling cars at a used lot the week before! Her lawn grew between 3-5 inches last week in 7 days without irrigation!! I told her if she wanted it maintained at 1-1.5 she would have to pay me to come out 2x per week. Of course that was out of the question! I sent her an article from the UGA and Walter Reeves on how to properly maintain a Bermuda lawn, but....the fert salesman.....his word is gold!

I never wear a mask while scalping!! I should. I'm using a Walker and catching until they are all down to 1".

kleankutslawn
03-27-2008, 07:47 PM
that dust isn't good for you

sandman23
03-27-2008, 08:32 PM
Dave, it is the Triton deck. I know there is a lot of controversy about it but I have no complaints. I have never used the UltraCut so I can't compare the two but I seem to get a great cut with the Triton.

nlminc, Amen my brotha. I have the same exact problem with fert guys. In regards to mowing at 1.5", it is IMPOSSIBLE. Not only because of the growth but unless the lawn is flat or leveled, it will certainly leave scalp marks. I only have 2 or 3 props that I can keep under 2".

They also tell their customers to bag which is a pain in the a$$. Their main reason for telling them to bag is to pick up disease. All this does is add work on me while saving them money in treatments. I agree that it helps get rid of the disease but it should only be bagged if disease is present. I have actually lost a couple accounts because I would not bag them. One was 17,000 sqft. Yeah right. Like you said their word is "Gold" for some reason.

I will do a search for that article by Walter Reeves but if you have a copy or link, I would love to get a copy.

I hate wearing a mask but dormant Bermuda is nasty stuff. Once it greens up, I shed the mask.

nlminc
03-27-2008, 09:35 PM
http://www.walterreeves.com/lawns/article.phtml?cat=27&id=89

Here's the link. He's got some really good info there. You know how most homeowners just DON'T believe we know what we're talking about so I pull up this once in a while for that PITA customer. Notice the 1/3 rule? They(customers) have a really hard time grasping this because it hits their wallet!
I have customers I reel mow for and others who mow their lawns on the weekend while I do it again in the middle of the week! Why people are freaks about their turf being so short I'll never know!

Always get blamed because my mower is killing their Bermuda that is in FULL shade! My same mower doesn't kill the Bermuda in the front yard in the FULL sun though!!

I had a customer ask me if I was drinking a beer the other day at 9 AM when I was punching away at excel on my PDA in my truck. We get no respect from some of them!

Give your customers the info from Walter about fertilizing Bermuda. Where does it say you need 7 Apps/year? ;)

Boneheads............... sorry I had to vent!

sandman23
03-27-2008, 10:08 PM
Good article. Looking forward to reading more from that site. I like having "ammunition" for non-believers.

I may look into a reel mower one day. It is definitely the best mower for Bermuda. I am just not sure if I want to add that type of service or not. I have some high end accounts and they are somewhat of a pain. I kind of prefer the customer that just likes their property to look nice over the anal retentive customer that critiques my every move. Don't get me wrong, I take a lot of pride in my work and provide excellent service. I just find that I am less profitable on the high end accounts because of time spent nit-picking.

I fortunate that I am at a point where I can walk away from jobs that are not profitable or just a pain in the a$$. If a customer doesn't agree with me on what is best for his lawn, he can find someone else. It won't take long for them to realize that I was right.

brucec32
03-28-2008, 12:18 AM
Ahhhhhhhhhh.........scalping lawns! I fired a customer last week because she DEMANDED that I scalp her lawn all at once (5k sqft) and not charge her extra. I told her I would bring it down to 1" over the course of several mowings ....but her fert guy told her I needed to scalp it to the ground and keep it at 1-1.5" all season. Of course her fert salesman was prolly selling cars at a used lot the week before! Her lawn grew between 3-5 inches last week in 7 days without irrigation!! I told her if she wanted it maintained at 1-1.5 she would have to pay me to come out 2x per week. Of course that was out of the question! I sent her an article from the UGA and Walter Reeves on how to properly maintain a Bermuda lawn, but....the fert salesman.....his word is gold!

I never wear a mask while scalping!! I should. I'm using a Walker and catching until they are all down to 1".

I'm curious WHERE in GA you're seeing 3-5" of growth already of ANY type of grass, and WHAT type of grass you're scalping that would be growing in the cool season? Fescue and St Aug would be destroyed by scalping, and Bermuda/Zoysia are still almost dormant in at least the northern half of the state.

brucec32
03-28-2008, 12:31 AM
Dave, it is the Triton deck. I know there is a lot of controversy about it but I have no complaints. I have never used the UltraCut so I can't compare the two but I seem to get a great cut with the Triton.

nlminc, Amen my brotha. I have the same exact problem with fert guys. In regards to mowing at 1.5", it is IMPOSSIBLE. Not only because of the growth but unless the lawn is flat or leveled, it will certainly leave scalp marks. I only have 2 or 3 props that I can keep under 2".

They also tell their customers to bag which is a pain in the a$$. Their main reason for telling them to bag is to pick up disease. All this does is add work on me while saving them money in treatments. I agree that it helps get rid of the disease but it should only be bagged if disease is present. I have actually lost a couple accounts because I would not bag them. One was 17,000 sqft. Yeah right. Like you said their word is "Gold" for some reason.

I will do a search for that article by Walter Reeves but if you have a copy or link, I would love to get a copy.

I hate wearing a mask but dormant Bermuda is nasty stuff. Once it greens up, I shed the mask.

On lawns suitable for bigger mowers the RIGHT mower/deck can handle it pretty well down to maybe 1.5/1.75". The more ruts, dips, holes, creases, etc in the lawn the taller you have to go. My Exmark 48" handles all but a few really wavy small ones. Of course with some of the butcher job installs you see no mower bigger than a 21" can do it. But the right anti-scalp wheel/deck width/frame width combination makes a difference. Anything with a decent trim edge has more problems cutting low w/o gouging.

I wouldn't bag for double the price on most lawns.

For anyone scalping Bermuda, you can avoid bagging altogether if you take it back down to 2" near season's end, rather than trying to go from 3" to 1" all at once.

Get out in mid/late March and take it down to 1.25" or so from there. The stems have wilted some from their max volume so it's not that much to remove. Getting the height down in fall means you can mulch them in spring w/o causing some ridiculous amount of clipping buildup. If it takes two visits fine, it's still less money/work than bagging. Do half in March and the rest early in April. The green stuff is still below that level usually. I've done that for several years and so far no thatch buildup or thin lawns. I think doing it gradually allows the soil to break the stem "dust" down w/o excess buildup. They say a thin layer is useful for moisture retention, cushioning of the soil from heavy mowers, etc. I used to bag them and know how much work it can be. Now I'm able to do it for the price of a regular mow most of the time and customers love that.

quiet
03-28-2008, 11:37 AM
Again, you nailed it Bruce. My top height on Tif419 is 2.25" late in the summer, and I only go that high because of the scalp marks. On the last cut of the year, when the tif is losing color anyway, I bring it down to 2". In February when it's still dormant, first cut is 1.75", 2 weeks later 1.5". No muss, no fuss, no bagging.

I wish we could just burn it all off when it's still dormant.

nlminc
03-28-2008, 11:46 AM
Bruce, that lawn I was referring to had the high growth last season in August and September.

larryinalabama
03-28-2008, 11:52 AM
Sandman are you that feller that specializes in top dressing?

tbettis
03-28-2008, 01:17 PM
I'm curious WHERE in GA you're seeing 3-5" of growth already of ANY type of grass, and WHAT type of grass you're scalping that would be growing in the cool season? Fescue and St Aug would be destroyed by scalping, and Bermuda/Zoysia are still almost dormant in at least the northern half of the state.

its domant in the southern part of the state too. i havent had 5 inches of growth in months

nlminc
03-28-2008, 02:31 PM
its domant in the southern part of the state too. i havent had 5 inches of growth in months

okay! now I see where you guys are getting this! I meant to type ....per week, last year in that original post! sorry...my bad.

dave k
03-28-2008, 03:42 PM
Sandman are you that feller that specializes in top dressing?

Larryin Bama
That would be Richard Guzman of www.sandmantopdressing.com
He's in Hoschton GA
I think I spelled that town correct, its outside of Winder

CreativeEdge
03-28-2008, 03:46 PM
Thats the worst part about here in ga, is the dust. I have noticed its not just during spring but its all year round, of course the drought doesnt help either.

dave k
03-28-2008, 03:50 PM
Ahhhhhhhhhh.........scalping lawns! I fired a customer last week because she DEMANDED that I scalp her lawn all at once (5k sqft) and not charge her extra. I told her I would bring it down to 1" over the course of several mowings ....but her fert guy told her I needed to scalp it to the ground and keep it at 1-1.5" all season. Of course her fert salesman was prolly selling cars at a used lot the week before! Her lawn grew between 3-5 inches last week in 7 days without irrigation!! I told her if she wanted it maintained at 1-1.5 she would have to pay me to come out 2x per week. Of course that was out of the question! I sent her an article from the UGA and Walter Reeves on how to properly maintain a Bermuda lawn, but....the fert salesman.....his word is gold!

I never wear a mask while scalping!! I should. I'm using a Walker and catching until they are all down to 1".

I take mine down 1/2" at a time, cut today at 1.5" and that is low enough, one lawn I cut at 2" and will take that down lower next cut, I keep my lawns at 2" all summer even in this drought, if you want it green at a lower height you need to go at least one hole lower so the growth will be green and you won't see the dead stem. I just bought a Toro Sidewinder tri plex for my Emerald Zoysia, but I use a 25" Locke Reel, Love the Locke but it is the wrong mower for Emerald, its all over the place because of the thickness of the Zoysia, what you need is a reel like Tru Cut with the drop down roller to keep the reel going straight, or like the Trimmer brand

cgaengineer
03-28-2008, 04:14 PM
I take mine down 1/2" at a time, cut today at 1.5" and that is low enough, one lawn I cut at 2" and will take that down lower next cut, I keep my lawns at 2" all summer even in this drought, if you want it green at a lower height you need to go at least one hole lower so the growth will be green and you won't see the dead stem. I just bought a Toro Sidewinder tri plex for my Emerald Zoysia, but I use a 25" Locke Reel, Love the Locke but it is the wrong mower for Emerald, its all over the place because of the thickness of the Zoysia, what you need is a reel like Tru Cut with the drop down roller to keep the reel going straight, or like the Trimmer brand

Dave, They were using a Sidewinder at The Georgia Club on Wed. very nice machine!

dave k
03-28-2008, 05:39 PM
I would have loved to have seen it in action.