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Spring Scalping

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnranger44, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. lawnranger44

    lawnranger44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    How many of you do spring scalping? What exactly are the benefits of it? Are there any drawbacks?

    I was just reading my pesticide applicator manual about how mowing in early spring can kill off certain biennial weeds. Is this the primary reason for spring scalping or are there more? I need good reasons in order to sell this idea to my customers. :waving:
  2. Appalachian landscape

    Appalachian landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 453

    are you located in asheville, nc? if not i have seen the lawn ranger name on a truck here. *edit* i'm a goober i see where it says PA now. lol.

    the only benefit of scalping i know of would be for overseeding to get more of the seed on the ground.
  3. Classic Lawn

    Classic Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 306

    The things that keep the weeds out are either treating them or mowing them out that is keeping the grass at a certain hight were the grass itself it to much for the weeds to grow but u need to the lawn mowed in order for this to work.
  4. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    In a bluegrass mix lawn about 40-50% of the top growth will die over winter, it may be higher in PA your winters are pretty harsh. When you mow a lawn real short in the fall or early spring you remove a lot of that dead material, allowing new growth to show, and the lawn to green up faster. If you live in say souther Cal and the lawns don't go dormant then there is no reason to 'scalp' the lawn in the spring or fall.
  5. lawnranger44

    lawnranger44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    Is it best to mow this off before the grass starts growing? (Late March)

    Just to clarify, we are not planning on "scalping", just on mowing at 1-2".
  6. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,889

    i saw this get done at Chile's resturant near here, I couldn't believe what i was seeing, this guy mowed at 3" all year then at the end of aug. or early sept. still in the upper 80s and this guy took it down to about 1", I would never do that in one mowing, to come down in the fall so leaves and crap blow right across the turf is one thing but i would have been stepping it down over a period of time not all at once. for what he did to that lawn. i have a hard time believing anyone could sell that to a customer especially a business. :confused: :eek:
  7. barnard

    barnard LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 618

    The benefit is the money you make. The drawbacks are it's a dirty useless job that lets sunlight through to the ground before the grass is growing and increases weed seed germination. Don't think so? do a search and check so fact sheets from Universitys with turf programs.I know this won't help you sell jobs but its accurate.
  8. BTerry08

    BTerry08 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    At least where Im at in Oklahoma we usually dont scalp, just mow it 1 setting than we do in the regular season. The myth of scalping is that is helps the dormat grass come in faster, but in reality scalping takes the crowns off the tops of the roots. Therefore the grass will take longer to come up....
  9. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    I should have clarified, the term scalping, we mow all our accounts 1 or 2 settings lower than usual in the fall and first mowing in the spring. We usually mow at 2 -2.5" so when we drop we go to just under 2". It works really well with our bluegrass mixes and the lawns look sharp all winter even if they go dormant. We NEVER mow below 1.5"
  10. lawnranger44

    lawnranger44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    That's more along the lines of what I was thinking.

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