The best time to scarify a lawn is in the autumn before the soil cools down and lawns are still growing or in early spring, the soil has commenced to warm up yet the weather is still cool and the spring rains will keep the ground moist. Winter and summer are not suitable. So we are looking for a time of the year when the lawn is growing strongly, however the weather is not hot and the ground will remain moist. Choose the right time and you will get the best results.
Scarifying is carried out to keep lawns healthy , lawns tend to build up thatch and strong root systems that prevent good air circulation and eventually lead to a degradation of the lawn. By scarifying a lawn every two - three years you help maintain a healthy vigorous lawn.
The simple way to scarify is to use a metal spring rake, this works on small areas and where only light scarifying is required.
Scarifiers are machines designed with blades that cut down into the lawn and a little into the top soil, by breaking the top soil as wells the thatch they prevent the build up of a hard surface and allow better water penetration.
How to scarify a lawn
Before you decide to scarify your lawn consider removing the moss, use a moss killer, this makes the job easier and prevents the moss from spreading through spores.
It is best to mow a lawn (with a grass catcher) before scarifying, this makes the process easier, helps the lawn dry out a little and prevents the scarifier from clogging. We like to scarify twice, once a light run over the top, and then a second deeper process. Some scarifiers come with a catcher, some do not, if you are not using a catcher, then be prepared to do a little raking.
After scarifying, water well, over sow seed any patches that require it . This is also a good time to top dress, remove any irregularities in the surface by filling in depressions with s good mix and over sowing as well as removing any bumps by digging them out and levelling.
Scarifiers are usually hired, and most reputable hire companies can provide you with a complete set of instructions.
Should you buy scarifier ?
This depends on how big your lawn is and if you are really going to use it regularly, some reasonably priced scarifiers for smaller lawns start at around ¬£100.
Lots of professional companies will do the job for you with a minimum of fuss.John Allman
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