Scarifying is just one of many things you can do to maintain the health of your lawn. Scarifying is also known as de-thatching. While the concept might seem complicated and labor-intensive at first, it’s actually a fairly simple process. And you can break the task into sections, completing it over a number of days rather than all at once. Discover why scarifying may be necessary for your lawn and explore how you can begin the process.
The Problem with Thatch
To understand scarifying, you first need to understand what lawn thatch is. Lawn thatch is a layer of dead grass right under the green grass at the top. It rests between the healthy living grass and the underlying root system.
A bit of thatch is perfectly fine and normal, but occasionally thatch can become too thick. At thicknesses deeper than half an inch, the thatch can become a serious issue for the health of your grass. It can also affect how well you’re able to mow your lawn. Spongy sections of thatch can bog down your mower’s wheels, and you may accidentally shear the good healthy grass too short as a result.
To avoid permanent damage to your lawn, you’ll need to address the thatch via the process known as scarifying.
How to Scarify
If you have a tiny yard or lawn, you may be able to scarify adequately by hand. However, for larger expanses of grass, you’ll definitely need a machine to do the job.
A scarification machine has a long bar with a series of spinning or rotating blades. As you move the machine across your lawn, the blades dig down and chop up that underlying thatch.
Scarification, though necessary for long-term lawn health, can be very harsh on your lawn, so it’s best to do it in autumn when your grass has naturally slowed its growth. Don’t wait until winter, when the grass is dormant and might already be stressed due to cold weather. And avoid doing it during peak growth season, in spring or summer. Some experts recommend very light scarification or deep raking in the spring as well.
Lawns with creeping grasses like fescue, brown-top, or bent grass will need to be dethatched every year or so. Ryegrass grows in tufts instead, so its thatch won’t thicken as quickly, and you’ll be able to wait 2-3 years before dethatching.
If you want to prevent the buildup of thatch and reduce the need for scarification, you can try another technique, like raking. For the purpose of this guide, raking does not refer to the use of a standard garden rake, but the use of a raking machine that removes moss, dead grass roots, and dying foliage, before it can settle and turn into thatch.
If you’re looking to repair your lawn, remove thatch, or add fertilizer or grass seed, Kurtz Bros. has you covered. We’ve got the supplies and equipment you’ll need to keep your lawn looking good year-round. Visit our website or contact us anytime with your lawn care questions.