How to Scarify a Lawn

Have you heard the term Scarification but you’re unsure exactly what it means? This guide aims to clarify what scarification is, the three main methods it can be carried out and how to vertically mow your lawn.

Firstly, let’s go through what is meant when we say ‘scarifying a lawn’. This is basically a process in which we can remove thatch from turf. 

In this instance, thatch is a layer of moss of dead organic matter that can build up within the turf. It’s most commonly distinguishable by yellow strands of turf that cause a visually unappealing, patchy lawn.

This is basically a process in which we can remove thatch from turf.

The main issue with lawns affected by thatch is that the build up of moss and organic matter can prevent air, water and nutrients getting to where they are needed. Another benefit of scarification is that it encourages new growth as stolons (horizontally growing shoots) are broken down and it removes grain from mowing in the same direction. So basically it’s a great way to bring a new lease of life into your turf if it’s looking a bit weary and patchy.

There are basically 3 main ways to scarify your lawn, here’s a breakdown:

  1. Grooming
  2. Veri-cutting
  3. Scarifying

Grooming

This is the least harsh method to scarify your lawn. It uses the smallest blades and therefore has the least effect on your lawn. It is good for cutting stolons and removing grain from mowing in the same direction. This method is good if your lawn isn’t massively affected by thatch but you want to spruce it up a bit.

Veri-cutting

With the mid-sized blades being used for this method it is a great way to get a little deeper into the moss and thatch layer. This method will be great if your lawn is looking slightly tired, with this method breaking up thatch so that more air, water and nutrients can infiltrate the surrounding areas.

Scarifying

This is the method that has the most effect on a lawn. With the largest blades being used, they are able to penetrate the lawn deep into the thatch, mat and soil layer. This will look like a lot of damage has been carried out to the lawn however the process is about getting rid of thatch, breaking up the mat and soil so that air, water and nutrients can once again flow freely through the soil and subsequently the turf. So, once the lawn has been scarified it will start to heal. As a handy tip, seed and lawn fertiliser can then be added to the affected areas which will once again help with the healing process.

The steps beyond the ones mentioned above are to then give your turf time to heal and recuperate from the damaging process of scarifying. Once the turf has healed it should then blossom into a beautiful, healthy, luscious lawn.

How to vertically Mow

The veri cutting and scarifying process should be carried out in two different directions. The first pass could be horizontal for example, with the second being 45° to the first pass. This is to limit the damage to the turf and to also increase the amount of thatch that is removed.

The next stage is to collect the blanket of thatch that has been removed (easiest with a large rake) and dispose of in your green bin. Or if you don't have one, bag it up to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner with your local council.

The last stage is where you can choose to go over the area with an even dressing of seed and then fertiliser. This can be done with a distributor and is a great way to help with the recovery process. All that's left to do now is to sit back and give your turf time to recuperate. This should be much easier with the increased air, water and nutrients that are now available and should result in revitalised turf. 

So there you have it, a quick handy guide to scarification. Hopefully this guide will go some way towards invigorating some life into your tired turf. By carrying out the scarification process it will help get more nutrients, water and air to the turf creating a stronger, deeper, more drought resistant root system. 

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