Lawn Scarification – Why Your Lawn Needs Pruning!

What is Scarification?

 Scarification is a mechanical rake-like process which reduces thatch and removes moss from the surface of your lawn. It is a very important maintenance operation to keep your lawn in a healthy condition.

What is Thatch?

 

Thatch is a tightly intermingled layer of partially decomposed or dead or dying stems, roots and shoots (which we call organic matter) that forms between the grass on the surface and the soil beneath your lawn. A small amount of thatch is considered healthy for a lawn, however anything thicker than 10mm can become detrimental. It effects the lawn by acting as a sponge, preventing vital nutrients, water and air from getting to the root zone.

Why is Scarification important?

 

A build-up of thatch and moss can becoming damaging to a lawn by preventing water, air and nutrients from reaching the soil and root zone. Many lawn issues such as disease, drought and a build up of moss can be caused by there being too much thatch in your lawn.

 

 

As a result lawns will suffer by becoming thin, patchy and let stress tolerant. Removing the layer of organic matter from your lawn encourages a healthier and more resilient grass growth as well as a denser sward.

Why is Scarification important?

A build-up of thatch and moss can becoming damaging to a lawn by preventing water, air and nutrients from reaching the soil and root zone. Many lawn issues such as disease, drought and a build up of moss can be caused by there being too much thatch in your lawn.

 

As a result lawns will suffer by becoming thin, patchy and let stress tolerant. Removing the layer of organic matter from your lawn encourages a healthier and more resilient grass growth as well as a denser sward.

Types of Scarifier!

Scarifiers can come in pedestrian or tractor-mounted form usually with a choice of three types of blades. These are fixed-blades, swinging-blades or spring-tine rakes.

 

Fixed blades are the most aggressive set of blades for a scarifier. They are designed to rip through the surface of your lawn to remove as much organic matter as possible. They are very good when planning to over-seed after scarification as the blades can create a seed bed. Swinging-blades, which is our preferred blade type, are slightly less harsh on the lawn however are capable of removing large amounts of moss and thatch.

How to scarify your lawn!

 

At Will’s Norfolk Lawns we use professional scarifiers with adjustable rotating reel blades. They cut vertically through the living material to remove surface thatch, which is not normally affected by horizontal mowing.

 

Some scarifiers are available from DIY stores however these tend to be a little too lightweight for some domestic lawns, often with ‘spring-tine rake’ attachments only. Our machines are extremely heavy duty, capable of removing an awful lot of moss and thatch at a time.

What happens after Scarification?

 

Following a scarification the debris left behind should be cleared off using rakes or blowers. We always recommend running the mower over the lawn too to pick up anything left behind. The lawn is likely to look a little bit worse for wear for a short period of time. However, you must remember it is all part of the process.

When to Scarify your lawn!

 

The best time to carry out lawn scarification is during the spring and autumn months such as April, September and October. You must ensure there is sufficient moisture and warm temperatures available to aid the naturally recovery of the lawn.

In Summary – Benefits of Scarification!

 

  • Reduces the thatch layer (anything above 10mm is detrimental to the lawn).
  • Prunes grass roots encouraging growth.
  • Allows water, air and nutrients to penetrate and reach the soil more easily.
  • Allows for better nutrient uptake.
  • Removes moss and reduces the chances of further moss encroachment.
  • Reduces the chances of water retention and waterlogging.
  • Can created a seed bed ready for over seeding and/or top dressing.
  • Lowers the chance of disease and drought-stress.
  • Controls creeping grasses.