Scarified Lawn Looks Terrible, Should You Panic?

terrible lawn after scarify

The process of scarifying your lawn will cause massive stress and temporary damage to your lawn and that is why your scarified lawn looks terrible immediately after you have it done.

If you are worrying because your scarified lawn looks terrible do not panic as this is normal. Scarifying a lawn will damage it and it is the recovery from this that encourages fresh healthy growth to occur. After 4-6 weeks your lawn should have fully recovered if you have followed the correct procedure.

Read on to find out if you have followed the correct process for scarification and aftercare when your lawn recovers.

How To Prepare Your Lawn For Scarification?

Scarifying on its own will have some benefit to your lawn but if you’re going to use a scarifier that will make your lawn look as if it has been destroyed you really should take full advantage and prepare your lawn to achieve the maximum benefit out of the process.

  1. If your lawn has lots of moss growing on it and that is one of the main reasons you’re going to scarify it to get rid of it all, then you should start by cutting your grass 2 weeks before you plan to scarify it and apply a weed killer that is specifically designed for moss removal.
  2. A couple of days before you scarify you should cut the grass again and if the soil is completely dry give it light water because you don’t want to scarify a completely dry lawn whilst at the same time you don’t want it to be soaking wet.
  3. You should also aerate your lawn before you scarify you could do this by either wearing aerating shoes when you cut the grass or you could run an aerator machine over it. Getting air into your grass is always a good thing and it will also benefit your lawn when you treat your grass during the post-scarification period.

Check out my article on why you should scarify your lawn.

Have You Scarified Your Lawn Too Much?

If you have scarified your lawn and there is practically no grass left you may have made a mistake many people make when they hire an expensive scarifier for a weekend.

Over scarification, you have this expensive piece of equipment and you think I am going to get my money’s worth out of this big toy and spend the whole weekend scarifying your lawn which is a terrible idea.

When you are scarifying, you should only do one or two passes which would be once horizontally and once vertically. Some people choose to only do it once. If you spend a weekend doing it you will rip out most of the grass and you will be left with mostly topsoil.

If you have over scarified you will have great difficulty making your lawn recover and look fantastic like should happen if you have scarified and allowed your lawn to recover following the correct procedures.

How To Revive A Lawn After Scarifying?

When you have scarified your lawn It probably will look terrible immediately after and you will think oh no what have I done to my lawn this was supposed to make it look good and it looks terrible. This is completely normal as scarifying your lawn does rip out moss thatching and some grass and it will cause a massive amount of stress to the grass.

It is what you do after you have scarified that is vital to getting the most benefit and making your lawn look like the stuff of dreams you imagined when you started the scarification process.

Overseed Lawn After Scarifying

Overseeding your lawn after you have scarified it is not an essential step but if you have gone to the trouble of scarifying your lawn you may as well take full advantage and add some new grass seed which will be of benefit to your lawn and make it look a lot better after it has fully recovered from being scarified.

  • The advantage of adding seeds to your lawn after scarifying it is that there will be scars on your grass that allow the seeds to get down and they won’t all be lying on the surface of your lawn.
  • You don’t need any special equipment to spread seeds on your lawn simply have a packet or bucket of seeds take a handful at a time and spread them over your lawn.

That is all you have to do when you’re adding seeds to your lawn after you have scarified it as this is only part of the process of vital aftercare and the following steps will also be beneficial to the fresh grass seeds.

Add A Fresh Layer Of Topsoil After Scarifying

After Scarifying your lawn it is always a good idea to add a fresh layer of topsoil, this will put lots of healthy nutrients back into your lawn and help it to recover to be the beautiful lawn you’ve always dreamed of.

The type of soil you should use would ideally be a special blend of soil for top dressing. Whatever soil you use you want it to be very fine so you may have to strain it a few times before you use it.

What to do is put the soil in lots of little bundles all over your lawn so it looks like there is a family of moles under the lawn. The only special equipment you need to complete this job is a steel rake, and you will be using it upside down. Use the flat side of the rake and simply spread the bundles of soil evenly so there is a thin layer of soil all over your lawn so the grass sticks out the soil.

You don’t want to make the top dressing so deep that it completely covers your grass as the grass needs light to grow.

Fertilize Lawn After Scarifying

The final stage after scarifying your lawn is to use fertilizer as this will give the grass a much-needed boost and will aid it in its recovery. It is just like giving medicine to an ill person to help them recover from illness.

During The Spring:

The type of fertilizer you use depends on whether you have decided to scarify your lawn in the spring or in the fall. If you have scarified your lawn during the spring then you should use a spring fertilizer as this will be rich in nitrogen and will encourage rapid growth and you will want this so you have a nice healthy lawn by the time summer arrives.

During The Fall:

If you have scarified your lawn during the fall you will want to use a fall fertilizer that should be more of a slow-release fertilizer so that it keeps your lawn full of nutrients right through the winter.

Read my article on lawn scarification equipment.

Watering And Cutting Your Lawn After Scarifying

After you have scarified your lawn added fresh grass seed topsoil and fertilizer, it is time to give your grass a good watering.


Your local climate does affect how much water you should give your lawn after scarifying. You don’t want your lawn to dry out so if you live somewhere that has a warm and dry climate you really should be watering your lawn every day after scarifying.


I would give my lawn a couple of weeks to recover and start to grow after scarifying before I would even think about cutting it. When you notice it has started to grow again I would go back to a regular cutting routine as cutting grass does always make it healthy and encourages fresh growth.

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