Scarifying is a process perhaps best described as a mechanical raking of the lawn with its main purpose being to reduce the level of thatch in a lawn. The machine used has a series of sharp tungsten blades that rotate at high speed and cut vertically into the turf. The depth can be adjusted to remove as much or as little as required. This machine and process should not be confused with the typical machine available on the domestic market, which is more of a lawn rake, has much less power and limited depth penetration.

Why does my lawn need Scarifying?

A lawn that has developed thatch and moss needs to be scarified to remove as much of this material as possible allowing the grass space to grow, and to increase the movement of air around the surface of the lawn. Scarifying should be carried out at a time when the grass is growing slowly to allow it to recover from this rigorous process, usually autumn through to spring time.

Scarifying is also used throughout the year to help thicken up sparse lawns by splitting the stolons of the grass plant and/or to prepare the ground for overseeding and lawn renovation.

How often does my lawn need Scarifying?

All lawns are different in their characteristics and it is therefore very difficult to predict how often to scarify a lawn. Professional Greenkeepers scarify at least once a year, and depending on the quality of lawn you would like, we would recommend including Scarification in your annual lawn care schedule.

There are a number of factors that will affect the frequency required. If a lawn contains large amounts of thatch and / or moss it may need a number of treatments to reduce the level to be manageable. Different grass types tend to produce more thatch than others and therefore need scarifying more frequently.

What other treatments will compliment Scarification?

Scarification is commonly carried out alongside Hollow-tine Aeration and/or Overseeding to help with the recovery process. Top dressing is a further treatment that will benefit a lawn following scarification.

What will my lawn look like following scarification?

The condition of your lawn following scarification will differ depending on several factors. The depth of the thatch layer and the time of year it is carried out will have the biggest impact. Most lawns will look a little worse-for-wear following scarification.

Scarification carried out in Autumn or Winter: Lawns that are scarified at this time of year will take some time to recover as the grass plant does not grow in low temperatures. You should not expect to see any rejuvenation of your lawn until the following Spring. The good news is that you don’t need to do anything during this period as the soil is generally wet enough to ensure the roots and the grass plants remain healthy.

Scarification carried out in Spring or Summer: Lawns that are scarified in Spring or Summer will require a little further help to rejuvenate. Generally, we would only carry out such work if we feel the lawn has little chance of improving without it. To help your lawn rejuvenate, the soil must remain wet at all times by watering it, and the lawn must be mown regularly to ensure the grass plants remain healthy.

What will happen to the thatch once my lawn is scarified?

Scarification can produce a lot of waste in the form of thatch, grass clippings and other organic material. Prior to scarification, we can discuss the potential amount of waste that may be produced, and the options available to you. Generally, on smaller lawns, we will place the waste in to a council recycling bag or in to bin bags for you to dispose of. For larger lawns, or lawns with a considerably more than average amount of thatch, we can discuss other options, such as using a skip or other waste disposal service.