Spring Warm Season Turf Scalping

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By scalping, you remove last season’s top layer of turf which is a mixture of dead and living grass. When you don’t scalp, this top layer causes a slow down in green up because it is robbing the newly emerging turf of necessary nutrients at the essential green up time.  Fertilizer applications become less effective, the turf is less green than your neighbor’s and because the turf is weaker the potential for disease activity, such as Dollar Spot, increases dramatically. Again, because the turf is weakened, the effectiveness of subsequent applications of fungicide to control the disease activity is greatly reduced. This results in the need for multiple applications.

(Fescue turf should NOT be dethatched, scalped or sanded.  Also,  fescue seeding in spring is not recommended. The pre emergent we apply for weed control will prevent the germination of any fescue seed that was spread in the spring. Since fescue is a cool season turf, fall is the better time to aerate and seed allowing the fescue to germinate in the cooler weather and establish a deep root system to help it get through our hot summers with a minimum of thinning. Begin with a mowing height of 2½”- 3″.)


Scalp and aerate your warm season turf once each spring, during March or April preferably just as the turf begins to green. Do not do this to your fescue. When scalping, lower your mower blade so as to remove as much of the brown turf as possible without allowing the blade to hit the ground. If the turf has begun to green up extensively raise the mowing height so as not to remove much of the green turf. Zoysia turf should be not be scalped as heavily as bermuda but may need to be dethatched if the thatch layer has become excessive. Pick up all debris generated from the scalping.

After your scalping operation you want to set your mower height to 1½ ” for reel mowers and about 2″ for rotary mowers.

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