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Early Season Lawn Care In Alabama

Early season lawn care in alabama

Here in Alabama, it is a common and accepted practice to scalp Bermuda and zoysia grasses early in the spring. The primary benefit of scalping is to allow the lawn to turn green earlier. This “greening up” is caused by removing the dormant grass which allows sun and warmth to reach the roots of the grass, causing earlier growth. A friend of mine helped me realize this fact by showing me the part of a lawn to green up first is usually by the sidewalk or driveway. Why? The heat of the driveway or sidewalk causes the grass nearby to turn green faster.

When should you scalp a lawn: Here in Trussville, I would scalp a lawn the first cut of the season which is usually sometime in the month of March, depending on the weather. As a note, scalping does not have to occur all at one time. You may find it easier to remove a portion of the dormant grass on the first cut, then remove the rest of the dormant grass on the second cut. This simply breaks up the job and allows time for the clippings to decompose if you are mulching instead of bagging the grass.

Concerns with scalping: The primary concern I hear about scalping is the fear that we may have a hard freeze that could damage the roots of the grass after scalping. While, this perhaps is a valid concern, I simply have not seen this happen here in Alabama. If you are concerned with this possibility, then simply wait until early April when the threat of a hard freeze is typically over for most of Alabama.

In conclusion, scalping is an accepted practice here in the deep South. Scalping is not necessary by any means, but if you like the look of a green lawn early in the season, removing the dormant grass can help you achieve that quicker.

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