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"Scalping" Your Lawn

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Scalping your lawn has always sounded absolutely horrific to me, as well as the practice of burning. Actually, there are times when those practices can be beneficial but it all has to do with timing. Extension Agent Adam Gore explained that just as warm-season turf is about to come out of dormancy, scalping or burning can remove the insulating now dead grass residue and help reduce thatch build up; which can be a problem particularly on highly-maintained turf. Burning, Gore added, is hard to do correctly and prohibited in many communities. If you decide to scalp, you must catch and remove all the clippings – you can’t use the practice of grass cycling that’s recommended in the normal mowing season. This is a once-a-year procedure for certain situations; there are other solutions for thatch reduction that may be easier for some homeowners.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.