navigator vs. wb for scalping bermuda/ zoysia

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by UrbanGreen, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. UrbanGreen

    UrbanGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 162

    I have a question on scalping bermuda and zoysia. I have always done my beginning of the season scalping with either a walker, and the past 2 years a navigator. I am thinking about getting rid of my navigator and just running walkbehinds. I am curious if anyone out there does their scalping with walkbehinds and can give me an idea of how much time it takes with a 48" or 36" wb (time based on sqft.). I know it will take a lot longer due to having to dump more with a wb. I am trying to find out before I make a mistake in getting rid of my navigator.
  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,361

    We do a lot of scalping down to the ground and we use a 36" snapper and start in the middle of the lawn. We don't try to bag it just cut it down. Eventually we have a windrow down the center then we pick it up in 45 gal bags. After doing that we use a Walker and a Scag Cougar to pick up what is left. We tried several ways and this is the fastest. We tried running the baggers one behind the other each cutting a little lower and the dumping just takes too long and we still have to pick it up. One year we took side discharge block off the Tiger Cub and used it but I don't like using these units because may hit something and damage the units.
  3. UrbanGreen

    UrbanGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 162

    Thanks for info. When you guys cut it down with the 36" do you just come back with rakes and hand bag it in the 45 gal bags? Also you said you have tried several ways, have you tried your 36" or any other wb with a bagger on it?
  4. UrbanGreen

    UrbanGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 162

    One more question ed2hess. Have you guys used one of the large leaf vacs to suck up the clippings?
  5. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Believe it or not, if you manage the lawn well you can get away with mulching the lawn down to 1.25" or so. Just make sure it's no higher than 2" at season's end, then hit it once in March to clean up the weeds/debris that get on the lawn, taking it down to 1.75" while you're at it, then take off another .25" the first cut in April, give or take depending on the temps. As long as you're not putting too much dead material down at once, it seems to handle it by biodegrading the fine mulched pieces due to soil contact.

    Bagging is probably better, I've done both, but I've never had a thatch problem doing this and as you know it's mountains of clippings when you scalp. I've seen guys with Walkers block a lane of the street dumping on tarps filled from just one lawn. Mulching I'm able to scalp it for usually no more than the cost of a regular cut, sometimes a few dollars more, and use the time to do other jobs.

    I am wary of scalping Zoysia after more than one of them failing to recover quickly. They sometimes leave stunted dead spots in the lawn. I decided it was better to skip in than have it look mottled till June.

    I find that scalping a lawn down in 2-3 cuts at $40 instead of one big $120 charge goes over nicely with customers and keeps it looking sharp during the period when winter weeds are a problem even on treated lawns. Waiting till greenup is too late to do huge jobs like that, you're too short on time, and doing it too early leaves the lawn vulnerable to weed invasion w/o the mat of dormant stems still somewhat intact.

    I'd say you should stick to a dedicated bagging machine if you want to bag Bermuda, or at least use some trac-vac type system on the wb. That's a lot of time spent emptying a side bagger.
  6. UrbanGreen

    UrbanGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 162

    Thanks guys for the input! It seems like getting rid of the navigator would not be the best idea.

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