The Ultimate Guide to Scalping Bermuda Grass: When, Why, and How to Do It Right

For Bermuda grass enthusiasts, the term “scalping” isn’t as scary as it sounds. In fact, it’s a crucial part of lawn care that can set the stage for a lush, green carpet of Bermuda grass. But what exactly is scalping, and how do you do it correctly? In this focused guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of scalping your Bermuda grass lawn, including the best time to do it and the benefits you can expect.

What is Scalping?

Scalping is the process of cutting your Bermuda grass much lower than its recommended height, essentially removing the dormant, brown top layer to expose the green, growing part of the grass. This practice is especially beneficial as the weather starts to warm up, allowing your lawn to make the most of the sunlight and grow more vigorously.

Why Scalp Your Bermuda Grass?

Boosts Sunlight Exposure

By removing the dormant layer, you’re allowing more sunlight to reach the soil, which in turn helps the grass grow more robustly.

Enhances Soil Temperature

The increased sunlight also warms the soil, encouraging faster growth and recovery after the winter months.

Reduces Thatch Buildup

Scalping can help remove some of the thatch—a layer of dead grass and debris—that can suffocate your lawn if left unmanaged.

Preps for New Growth

Scalping clears the way for new shoots, ensuring that your Bermuda grass comes back thicker and healthier.

When to Scalp Your Bermuda Grass

Time of Year

The best time to scalp your Bermuda grass is in late winter to early spring, typically around February or March.

Temperature Guidelines

A good rule of thumb is to scalp your lawn when you start to see consistent daytime temperatures of 60-65°F, as this is when Bermuda grass begins to come out of dormancy.

How to Scalp Your Bermuda Grass: Step-by-Step

  1. Check Your Mower: Make sure your mower blades are sharp. Dull blades can tear the grass, making it susceptible to diseases.
  2. Set the Height: Adjust your mower to the lowest setting. Remember, the goal is to remove the top layer of grass without hitting the soil.
  3. Mow Your Lawn: Mow your lawn as you normally would, but at the lower height setting. Make sure to overlap your passes slightly to ensure an even cut.
  4. Remove Clippings: After mowing, remove the grass clippings. These can be composted or used as mulch in other areas of your garden.
  5. Water Generously: After scalping, water your lawn thoroughly to help it recover and encourage new growth.
  6. Monitor and Adjust: Keep an eye on your lawn in the weeks following scalping. You may need to mow more frequently to maintain the desired height.

Conclusion

Scalping your Bermuda grass isn’t just a springtime chore; it’s an investment in the health and beauty of your lawn. Done correctly and at the right time, scalping can set the stage for a season of vigorous growth and a lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood. So grab that mower, set that alarm, and get ready to give your Bermuda grass the fresh start it deserves.


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2 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Scalping Bermuda Grass: When, Why, and How to Do It Right”

  1. Connor Graham Avatar
    Connor Graham

    I have some new sod about 2 months old. About 3000 square feet of new sod that was laid down. It looked really good and is fairly level compared to the rest of my lawn. I was slowly taking it down lower and lower with my McLane with good success. I decided it was doing so well and gotten so thick thanks to some PGR that i decided to get agressive and take some of it down to .3 inches to have a little chipping green. I know i took it down too far too fast but wondering if I potentially damaged the new sod? It had been doing great at .75 but now its looking rough and dormant especially with the drought we have had in Atlanta. My question is, will it survive? What can I do to encourage some green up?

    1. Bermuda Bible Avatar
      Bermuda Bible

      Connor, I answered this in a video response. Here are the action items: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/gv6vaJpGtGQ

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