Scalping bermuda lawns...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jim H, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Jim H

    Jim H LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Agree to do my first scalping job next week. 20K sq.ft. Lots of henbit and other various weeds on a bermuda lawn. Average grass height of about 2 1/2". I figured I was going to have to make 2 passes with an accelerator bagger. I have a 36" exmark w/b. Landfill is right around the corner. I told her $460, but that includes hauling off various items like bricks, dead wood, etc (not that much). Maybe 30 minutes of work to load the BS. Does that sound fair? Keep in mind I will have to bag at least the first pass, if not the second. I am afraid I am going to lose my ass with hauling and fees. Oh well, find out early next week! Just wanted to get another opinion on it. Does getting a new charcoal grill thrown in count for anything? Thanks. Jim
  2. LawnPerfect

    LawnPerfect LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    I would say that that is a very good price!!!!

    You are making out like a bandit.
  3. Jim H

    Jim H LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Not the response I was expecting Lawndoctor. Now I feel is a single mother of 3!!
  4. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,967

    The only way you're going to truly scalp it is with a reel mower. The golf course near my home did it in the fall and it's coming in now. Only you can decide the money. Is she a regular lawn customer? What is your time, disposal fees, in other words what will it cost you to do it and how much do you need to make a profit. That should be your first thought.
  5. P&C Lawn Care

    P&C Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    You can scalp with a rotary mower easily. I use my White ZTR with catcher and 21" Comm Honda and get it down very low. Watch out if you got henbit, if you have a lot of it, that stuff really retains moisture and can get heavy. I do scalping to make some $$$ while it is slow. Nasty dirty work. Seems like it is always the windiest days too. Grass and dirt blowing everywhere. Consider wearing a mask and eye protection. Let us know how it goes. Good Luck.
  6. Food for thought - maybe...This taken form a local Dallas Fort Worth Green Industry Guru.

    Should you scalp your lawn in the spring? There may be some gardening technique that’s dumber than scalping your lawn in the spring, but I doubt it. I take it back. Discarding all organic litter and leaving bare beds is dumber - but scalping is a close second. The ingenious procedure of scalping the lawn in the early spring, bagging the clippings and leaves and placing them on the curb to be hauled off and buried in a landfill is a waste of time, a waste of money and poor horticulture on any commercial landscape or home yard. Everything that results from scalping is negative. Scalping and removing leaves exposes bare soil to direct sunlight which burns out the humus and microbes on the soil surface. Because the sunlight can hit the soil, it also triggers the germination of weed seed. Scalping also removes valuable organic matter, the best natural fertilizer of all, and the operation is hard on you and the lawn equipment. Why do people do it? Beats me - if you find out, let me know.

  7. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    If you want your Bermuda lawn to look like crapola, and be rough and slow to cut all summer, don't scalp it.
  8. Josey Wales

    Josey Wales LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Yo Gene, question:

    When you say "scalp" do you mean lower than 1"? Is there a specific height that you set your deck for or do you just eyeball it?

    I've always followed OSU's recommendation of cutting bermuda at 1" before green up, then 1.5" in Spring, 2" in Summer, and then 2.5" in the Fall.

    Even with my deck at 1" on some uneven lawns I wind up cutting down to dirt in some places and I hate that but I do it anyway.
  9. ZaK18

    ZaK18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 188

  10. Jim H

    Jim H LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    I'm with you Josey. I think everyone has a different idea of "scalping". I am taking the lawn from 2 1/2" to 2" on the first pass and then down to 1 1/2" on the second pass. I think some folks ideas of scalping is taking it down to the dirt. There are a few folks in my neighborhood that do that and their lawns look pretty decent, but not any better than anyone elses....including the ones who burn their lawn, literally. Their lawns look the same too.

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