This Guide Knows When To Scarify Your Lawn

If you’ve never heard of it, the term ‘scarify your lawn’ may sound a little ominous. However, you may be surprised to learn that it is actually good for your grass. Scarifying is another term for de-thatching. The process essentially involves getting rid of the moss and thatch from your lawn sward, raking dead grass or even getting rid of clover. Contrary to popular misconception, the word comes from ‘scar’ and not’ scare.’ 

Scarifier on green grass

However, that’s sure to raise the question – how does one go about scarifying a lawn? That’s simple. All you need to do is invest in a good-quality tool. The lawn care section of your nearest well-stocked hardware store is sure to have one. Don’t worry, though. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. Our scarifying guide will walk you through how and when to go about the process, along with some handy tricks and tips related to grass growth. So, let’s get started!

What is lawn scarifying, and how do you do it?

Did you know that mowing helps cut off the grass crowns so that new leaves can branch out? This promotes the growth of countless grass plants, which leads to a thick-looking, tightly woven grass bed

In other words, mowing can help rid your lawn of bare patches and encourages ideal grass growing conditions. How? Well, to begin with, a lawnmower helps break through the layer of dead roots, moss, and lawn cutoff buildup that keep water and essential nutrients from reaching the grassroots. Additionally, mowing ensures that your grass remains strong enough to battle it out with weeds and other undesirables so that it looks the way it should. 

Scarification isn’t all too different. Hand-held scarifiers look a lot like rakes – with vertically situated knives that dig deep into the soil to pull out weeds, dead grass, and other unnecessary organic matter. This raking action not only helps aerate the earth but also creates more room for your grass to grow. 

How you work, the scarifier depends mainly on its type. For example, hand-held ones are perfect for small-sized lawns and function exactly like manual lawnmowers. You can use the scarifier to work your yard in the same zig-zag pattern you employ when you mow

However, if you feel that a manual one would mean too much hard work – you can always opt for the motorised version. In fact, you can also get in touch with professional lawn care services to book an appointment when you feel the need.

Woman scarifying a garden lawn with a scarifier

When is the best time to do it?

So many gardening techniques are time-sensitive, and this one is no different. If you’re wondering what time of year is ideal for this process – this section is for you!

Scarifying your lawn will indeed leave it, well, scarred and looking like a general eye-sore for a few weeks. However, doing it at the wrong time of year will not only lead to a messy-looking lawn but also damage healthy grass plants. And, that’s something you want to avoid. 

It’s best to schedule your project based on your turf’s ability to recover. That means you’re going to have to account for ample amounts of sunlight, warmth, and rain. You’ll want to avoid periods when weather conditions are dry, hot, or cold to ensure healthy grass growth

In spring

Spring can be the ideal time because it offers your grass plenty of time for growth before the arrival of summer and high temperatures. Opt for the mid to late spring period (April onward) to provide your grass with ideal growing conditions

This is especially true if you’re planning on doing so on shady areas because they tend to thin out in winters and thicken in spring. You should always avoid shady areas in autumn because there won’t be enough time for the grass to grow before winter sets in. 

Conversely, if trees surround the area you intend to scarify – you can utilise the period from late March to April. That’s because trees are bare during this time and will allow for ample sunlight. This time is also suitable for laying new grass seeds

In autumn

Reserve for heavy thatch troubles and moss infestations that require intensive raking. This is mainly because deep scarifying will greatly thin the lawn and leave the soil exposed in many places – making it the perfect time to think about laying new grass seeds, overseeding, or dealing with weeds

Deep scarification in autumn promotes soil aeration and gives you the chance to avoid weed seeds. Deep raking in springtime will only replace your thatch problem with a weed one. 

Garden lawn care tools and equipment for perfect green grass

When you shouldn’t do it​

You should avoid lawn scarification during early spring because there’s always a danger of frost development. Remember, grass plants need warmth, rain, and sunlight to grow healthy and strong. 

Likewise, taking care of your lawn in autumn is best when the temperature hasn’t started dipping too much. When it comes to scarification, your mantra should be not too dry, not too cold, and not too hot. 

Why you should scarify your lawn

If you’re still not convinced about the benefits, here’s a rundown of the advantages scarification can offer you. 

1. Enhanced Absorption

Thatch is made up of roots, foliage and decaying stems that can buildup below the grass blades. A thatch problem means your grassroots will not be able to receive adequate moisture and nutrients – leading to weak or dying parts that no amount of lawn fertiliser can fix. However, if you scarify your lawn, you can get rid of the thatch to ensure your good grass health. 

2. Lawn Health

If you’re tired of contacting lawn treatment companies to fix the dull, brown state of your turf – you’ll be happy to learn that a handy scarifier can fix all your garden troubles. Scarification eliminates unwanted organic matter (like moss and weeds) to ensure your grass receives adequate nutrition and remains lush. 

Aeration of the lawn in the garden

3. Soil Aeration

Aerating soil helps open it up to moisture, nutrients, and air – which is beneficial for grass as it allows room for thicker and vigorous growth. Aerated lawns are less susceptible to disease and reduced water runoff. It also helps build up your lawn’s tolerance to drought and heat

Additionally, if you’re not a fan of exposing your garden to the chemicals present in weed killers, moss killers, and products like these – you’ll be happy to learn that aerating can stem the growth of moss and weeds

Bonus tips

Now that we’ve settled the basics of lawn scarification, let’s move on to those helpful tips and tricks we promised you. 

  1. When you’re out browsing for a suitable sacrifier, don’t forget to keep the dimensions of your turf in mind. As stated earlier, a manual scarifier (or spring tine) will suit a smaller area; however, large lawns will likely require the convenience motorised ones can offer.
  2. If your lawn is suffering from substantial moss growth after winter, use a moss killer prior to scarifying your lawn. This will help keep the moss growth limited after scarification because there will be fewer spores to deal with. What’s more, it will also help get rid of the moss faster.
  3. Don’t forget to water the turf after scarifying it because this will help promote grass growth. Conversely, you can time your scarification to line up with the wet season so that watering the lawn will take care of itself. It’s also a good idea to overseed the bare patches in your yard at this time so that once the grass starts growing back, your lawn will have a uniform appearance. 

Grey scarifier at Work into the garden

Scarification is an easy solution for most lawn problems and can help improve the health of your turf over time. What’s more, it’s easy enough to manage on your own if you can get your hands on an automatic one. So, if you’re looking for ways to revitalise the look and feel of your lawn this year, start prepping your turf for a hearty scarification!

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