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What Is Scalping a Lawn?

what is scalping

Scalping a lawn can damage grass and encourage weeds.

Lawn Scalping

Lawn scalping refers to cutting your lawn grass quite low, so low that you expose the stems of your grass blades. Typically, scalping is done intentionally by setting the mower to its lowest height, but you can also accidentally scalp areas of the lawn. This accidental scalping happens when your lawn is uneven or bumpy and the mower hits a low spot. Grass that becomes so long that it bends over and creates thatch can also cause you to scalp your lawn as the mower cuts near the base of the blade rather than the tips.

Problems with Scalping

Many extension services advise against scalping your lawn due to its damaging effects on the health of your lawn. One problem is that grass blades photosynthesize to provide food to the roots. By chopping off the majority of this blade, you reduce the amount of energy the roots receive, and this makes for a weak lawn that is more susceptible to

stress, insects and disease. Another problem with scalping is it encourages weed growth. Without the dense grass blades to block light, weed seeds are allowed to germinate and grow. In a scalped lawn, weeds can quickly dominate. Also, although not a problem in mild areas, the exposed stems of scalped lawns can be damaged by a sudden spring frost.

Benefits of Scalping

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