why do people scalp bermuda when its about to go dormant?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by inzane, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,361

    i just watched my neighbor scalp his bermuda lawn yesterday.. and also had a customer tell me he wanted me to do his next app before he scalped it for the winter. :hammerhead: i guess its for the look of it. but is there just something i don't know about doing this? i've just always kept it a little higher in the winter myself.. common sense tells me this will help keep weeds out better. not to knock my neighbors lawn, his lawn always looks good.
     
  2. bjack312

    bjack312 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 0

    It's basically just to get the dead grass off the top. Some say that it will encourage the bermuda to come out of dormancy earlier because the sun will better warm the ground. I don't think that it is really necessary, but it is a common practice. Most people in my area will scalp in the spring as part of a post-winter cleanup. Don't usually see it done in the fall.
     
  3. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 826



    I think it's just someone heard from someone else's brother's neighbor who's a landscaper that told them to scalp before winter.

    Personally, I scalp all my bermuda lawns down about the first week of April. Depending on the temps.

    I'm with the school of thought that it helps with winter weeds to leave it at full height during the winter.
     
  4. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,361

    i always scalp in april as well or when i start seeing a good bit of green.. took it down to the dirt last time, which i never did before. probally wont do that this time, i did it only to remove the massive amounts of henbit, poa, etc. that i had grew in the yard the previous year. http://www.lawnsite.com/showpost.php?p=4390040&postcount=1
     
  5. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    I don't even see the advantage in scalping it in the spring -- the new growth is always going to come from the crowns and push out the old growth regardless of mowing height. You may get the lawn to look greener a few days or a week earlier than if you didn't scalp it, but I hardly that's worth the extra weed problems. I always see a lot more weeds in the scalped lawns than in the lawns that were left at the same height all year.

    Remember, weed seeds need sunlight to germinate and heat to grow. If you leave the grass longer, it shades out the weed seeds and keeps the soil cool longer, so the bermudagrass has more time to grow before the weeds establish.

    Scalping any time of the year only sets back the bermudagrass and makes the weeds healthier.
     
  6. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 702

    i would wait until spring. When you start seeing some green coming into the lawn thats NOT henbit or other early season weeds, then id say its ok to scalp it. But i dont see how doing it in the fall would be healthy to the lawn. No expert here by any means, just saying what I do to my own lawn. Scalping in the spring, then maintain it low until it starts gettign hot. As temps get over the 90s into the 100s, the grass is cut at a higher setting.
     
  7. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,187

    That's not as bad as a customer asking you to scalp their lawn in the middle of summer so it wont grow as fast. lol Grass or weeds, you pick!
     
  8. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    Scalp in the fall to overseed with rye, scalping in the spring helps remove dead top growth so that the ground warms up a little sooner.

    I do not agree with skipster, scalped Bermuda greens up faster...especially when you are using a reel mower. Scalping from 2.5" to 1.5" doesn't do much though.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    To add, the same heat that germinates weed seeds grown Bermuda. So skip, you actually contradicted yourself.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  10. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    No contradiction here. I said that scalping in the spring might get you some greenup a few days or a week sooner, but I don't think it's worth the extra weed competition. Sure, both the weeds and the bermudagrass will benefit from the warmer soil, but you have to look at the trade off. Green grass a week earlier with more weeds, or dormant for another week without weeds?

    My customers like the green grass without the weeds. But, like many of my competitors, you're more than welcome to encourage weed invasion any time you'd like :)
     

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