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Mowing vs Scalping Your Lawn: What Are The Differences?

kids laying in green grass

With the spring season fully upon us, it’s time to start thinking about mowing your lawn. Exciting, right? Well – mowing your lawn is important – and it’s not just because it makes your yard look well kept and organized. Mowing is one of the best ways to help ward off weeds and diseases. However, it’s not just that you mow that’s important – it’s also how you mow your lawn, which can be just as important. Mowing too short (pros call it ‘scalping’) can have some very serious consequences – as it can weaken and even kill your lawn. Here are some things you can do to avoid scalping and give your lawn the best shot at a strong start to spring.

How Scalping Can Effect Your Grass

Grass survives due to photosynthesis, which is the process of taking sunlight and churning it into energy. Cutting a blade of grass too much limits your grass’s ability to absorb that energy. When grass can’t get what it needs, it can get sick and die as we mentioned above. To avoid scalping your grass- you should:

  • Never cut your lawn at the lowest setting on your mower
  • Remember that 1-2 inches is ideal for warm weather grass
  • Remember that 2.5-3 inches is ideal in cold weather

It’s as simple as that. Remember those three basic rules – and you won’t have to worry about scalping.

How to Properly Mow Your Lawn

We always tell folks that it’s better for your lawn to be too long than it is for it to be too short. In the spring, it’s a good idea to stick with cold-weather lengths (again 2-3 inches) so that it can absorb as much sunlight as possible. Also, during your first few cuts, a lot of the dead grass left behind will help through a process called ‘grasscycling.’ Grass Cycling is when decomposed or dying grass returns nutrients to the soil. This leads to stronger, healthier lawns and is especially important to remember if you aren’t using some sort of fertilizer. Another popular question is, can you mow your grass when it's cold? If you are experiencing temperatures under 40 degrees in the New England area, you should avoid mowing your lawn to damage your roots and turf. 

What to Do if You Scalp Your Lawn

If you did accidentally scalp your lawn, just let the grass grow back to its proper height and try not to ever remove more than 1/3 of a blade of grass at a time. We also recommend watering your lawn at a very heavy but infrequent pace. Make sure when you water – you water a lot. But make sure there’s a solid few days to a week between watering sessions. If scalping has killed off hunks of your lawn, then your only option will be to reseed, unfortunately.

Mowing your lawn is important – so don’t put it off and be sure to put thought into things during the growing season. If you made a mistake or want some advice on how to supercharge your lawn’s health during peak growing season – look for professional lawn care help.

Professional Lawn Care

If you have accidentally damaged your lawn or want to prevent any damage to your grass, you may want to consult the professional technicians at Seacoast Turf Care. We have years of experience in the Seacoast, so we know exactly what your yard needs to handle any harsh weather or disease ridden grass. Our services include weed control, fertilization, aeration and seeding, soil amendments, and plenty more! 

Want to learn more?

Contact us today!