How to scarify the lawn? How to scarify your lawn?

And why do you need to scarify your lawn anyway?

Scarifying a lawn helps in removing weeds. The process also removes thatch and moss. Not only is thatch and moss unsightly but they both prevent the growth of grass.

The process of scarifying a lawn, what it essentially does is that it ‘strips’ away unwanted organic matter. Scarifying also ‘prunes’ the grass. Plus it’s a process that will provide plenty of space for freshly spread grass seed to grow.



How to scarify your lawn
How do you scarify a lawn?





What Exactly is a Lawn Scarifier?

Basically, a lawn scarifier is a machine that rests on wheels, much like a lawnmower. A scarifier consists of a series of blades. The blades work in teasing out moss, thatch (such as dead grass), and weeds. 

If you have a small lawn you’d likely do plenty well enough with an electric lawn scarifier. But for the larger-sized lawn, you’d definitely benefit from a petrol lawn scarifier. 



When Should You Scarify Your Lawn?

The good news is that you only need to scarify one time each year. And the time of year for scarifying would be in the spring or in early autumn.

Ideally, you will want to scarify when the weather is quite warm and quite wet. Emphasis on ‘quite’ wet. If the grass is very wet or very dry, scarifying can damage the grass.



How Often Should You Scarify Your Lawn

Really, the frequency of lawn scarification comes down the grass type. 

Various fine grass species such as the fescues generally produce large amounts of thatch. So, these grasses have a tendency for requiring more scarification. 

Many grass species that are used in the production of turf also produce plenty of thatch. After all, in turf production, it’s more favourable to have a ‘thatchy sward’. A thatchy sward means that the grass is held together better. And that’s better for lifting and transporting the turf. 

Nevertheless, while there are obvious benefits to this trait, it can become a problem once the turf is laid and has grown to become a nicely established lawn. 

Fortunately, most of our domestic lawns consist of grass species that are low in thatch production. Frequently, our lawns are made up of modern ryegrass and modern ryegrass does not produce much thatch. 

If your lawn consists of ryegrass then it’s plenty enough to scarify one time every couple of years. 

Mind you, having said that, it’s possible that your lawn may never need to be scarified. How can that be achieved?

Regularly aerating the lawn and with a balanced feeding programme is plenty enough to encourage healthy microbial activity. And with healthy microbial activity, it means that thatch is organically decomposed and moss is generally not a problem. 

For obvious reasons, this scenario is ideal in terms of lower lawn maintenance and a beautiful-looking lawn. 

So, the question once more: How often should you scarify a lawn? 

The answer: Only when it needs it and only if it needs it. 




Lawn Prep Before Scarifying

It’s not always possible to do much lawn preparation before scarifying. I know the first time I scarified I didn’t do any preparation. It was more a matter of getting the main job done and out of the way.

In an ideal world, however, check your lawn for larger weeds. Remove those weeds with a small fork (a garden fork) or with a trowel.

If there are any patches of moss apply some moss killer about a week or two before you scarify.

Why do this if the scarifier will remove the moss?

That’s a good question. Seems counterintuitive.

The reason for it is that the spores of the moss can spread when it is removed. So the less moss prior to scarifying the better.



How do You Use a Lawn Scarifier for Best Results?

Prior to scarifying, go over your lawn with your lawnmower. Set the blades on a low setting. This will expose the thatch and moss. 

The scarifier should be used in the same fashion as the lawnmower. Follow the same lines – the same cutting pattern.

For the first run, set the blades of the scarifier at a high setting. 

Go over your lawn a couple of times, both times at a slightly different angle. The first time, set the blades on a high setting. The second time, set the blades a little lower. 



After Scarifying the Lawn What Should You Do?

This is not entirely necessary but for best effect, go over your lawn either with an aerator or with a hollow tiner. 

With an aerator or a hollow tine, it helps to improve drainage in the lawn. With improved drainage comes improved aeration. And that means a healthier, better-looking lawn. 

Further, because moss thrives when conditions are damp, the aeration process helps in preventing moss growth. 

Additionally, aerating your lawn means that water can more easily penetrate. Air and nutrients can more easily access the soil.




After scarifying, if your lawn was something of a haven for thatch and moss, chances are high that you’ll have bare patches. That’s why overseeding is called for. 

Overseeding simply means applying grass seed to those bare patches.

After scarifying (and aerating) you’ll have ideal seedbed conditions and fresh grass seed will thrive. 

Once the overseeding is done make sure that the overseeded areas are kept moist – apply water lightly but frequently. Avoid saturating the soil.

When next mowing, raise the blades so that the reseeded areas are given plenty of opportunity to establish. 



Fertilising Your Lawn

After the application of fresh grass seeds, over the following weeks, it’s pertinent to apply lawn fertiliser. This will encourage a beautifully rejuvenated lawn. 

Apply a granular lawn fertiliser during the spring/summer months. Granular lawn fertilisers consist of plenty of nitrogen (ideal for grass) as well as a number of other nutrients. 

What’s the best lawn fertiliser? 

Gardeners will argue over it. Among the best lawn fertilisers, though, is Miracle-Gro’s ‘EverGreen’. This fertiliser used to sell out regularly when I was working at Wyevale Garden Centres. And for good reason – it is among the top lawn fertilisers currently available. 


Best UK Lawn Fertiliser

Miracle-Gro EverGreen Complete 4-in-1 Lawn Fertiliser 


Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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