The spring transition period is one of the most important times of the year for maintenance of your home lawn. Cultural practices used properly during spring green up will have a great influence on how the lawn performs throughout the rest of the growing season. Last week we talked about applying pre-emergent to help control those warm season weeds. This week we’re going to continue discussing Spring Lawn Care and Proper Mowing.
Scalping warm season turfgrass in the spring will encourage a faster transition from dormancy to green, actively growing grass. Scalping is the process of mowing down your St. Augustine grass, Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass to 1 inch. However, I do not recommend scalping buffalo grass. It’s a low growing grass that doesn’t produce extra growth. When you scalp the lawn this allows the sunlight to heat the soil faster thus stimulating new growth. The best time to scalp the lawn is right before spring green up. The main concern is waiting until the danger of a late freeze is no longer a possibility. April 11 is Somervell County’s average last freeze according to the Texas Almanac.
Note: when a lawn is scalped a lot of yard waste is generated. It is very important that this material is not sent to the landfill for disposal. Use this material for composting or for mulching areas in the landscape.
Once the lawn has started growing, it is important that the lawn is mowed at the proper height and frequency. Low, frequent mowing encourages the grass to spread and form a dence, healthy lawn. The lawn should be mowed frequently enough so that no more than
40 percent of the leaf tissue is removed. Removal of excess leaf tissue during the growing season will cause stress in the lawn. Listed below is a table which outlines the recommended-mowing height for our most common grasses used in landscape.