Why Scarify A Lawn? The Benefits Simply Explained

scarify to get a healthy lawn

Most people don’t even know what scarifying a lawn is never mind the benefits it will have for the grass on your lawn.

If your lawn looks unhealthy, has patchy grass, looks like it is mostly moss or even if it has drainage issues and you want to sort it out, this is why you should look into scarifying your lawn.

Even lawns that do look like they have lush green grass often will benefit if you scarify them as when your lawn becomes thatched or covered in moss and does not always look obviously unhealthy.

Why scarify a lawn that looks green and doesn’t appear unhealthy you might think, but prevention is better than cure so they say.

Why scarify a lawn? It really will have a massive effect on the long term health of your lawn. Removing excessive thatching and moss as well as improving drainage and allowing nutrients down to the deep root system are some of the reasons you should be scarifying as part of your lawn maintenance routine.

When your lawn becomes covered in moss and is thatched with lots of debris from cut grass possibly over years, it may appear green and healthy but often these are symptoms that your grass is going to decline.

Scarifying a lawn is like pruning a plant in many ways that it will re-energize the grass and give you truly beautiful lush green grass even if you thought you had a nice one you’ll see a massive improvement after you scarify it.

you really should scarify your lawn every year to keep it in tip-top condition and have a lawn that is the envy of anyone who sets eyes on it.

The Benefits Of Scarifying Your Lawn

There are many benefits to scarifying your lawn and they are vital if you want to grow healthy lush green grass some of them are:

  • Gives nutrients access to the root system
  • Stimulates fresh grass to grow
  • Improves water drainage
  • Removes moss and thatching

When you scarify your lawn it will leave small channels in the grass which allows light, air, and nutrients to get deep down to the root system of your lawn where they normally can’t get to, this will improve the health of the deep root system of your grass which then leads to a healthier lawn growing.

Scarifying your lawn will remove lots of moss and hatching which over time can prevent water draining down to the roots where it is needed most, this is also helpful during the winter months as if you have a waterlogged lawn it can damage the grass.

By ripping channels in your lawn it will encourage fresh grass to grow as it repairs itself which will lead to a thicker lawn.

You should always give your lawn a good fertilizing when you scarify as it will allow the fertilizer to get deep down to the root system where fertilizer is needed most and it normally doesn’t have direct access to.

To read my article on scarifying equipment Click Here.

Why Dethatching Is Good For Your Lawn

Whilst your lawn having a thin layer of thatching of around half an inch is good for it when the thatching gets to an inch or more this will have a detrimental effect on the health of your lawn.

When your lawn has a thick layer of thatching this means the water will run off of your lawn instead of being absorbed by it which means the root system might not get enough water to keep your lawn in tip-top condition.

When your lawn is suffering from the water running off it instead of getting absorbed this encourages the root system to grow shallow as all the water will be near the surface instead of growing deep down into the soil like a healthy lawn root system will.

This means your lawn will be more affected by extreme weather conditions, the root system could begin to die in freezing weather and in hot weather conditions the root system will dry out quickly as changes in weather conditions will affect the topsoil before it affects deep soil where the roots should be growing in a healthy lawn.

To check how much thatch is in your lawn has you could simply cut out a small wedge around 2 or 3 inches deep and it is easy enough to tell how much thatching there is in your lawn, a healthy lawn should only have around a half inch of thatching.

Why Moss Removal Is Good For Your Lawn

When you have lots of moss growing on your lawn it will act as competition for the water and nutrients the grass on your lawn requires to grow healthily.

If you have moss growing on your lawn removing it is only the first stage as the moss won’t directly kill your grass but the conditions moss requires for growing in is bad for grass and that will eventually kill it.

This means after you have removed them off you will have to start to treat your one better by making sure that is sufficient drainage and feed it fertilizer to help it grow healthy and green.

Moss does like to grow in the shade so if you have any large overhanging trees that cause shade on your lawn and you want to stop moss growing back you may have to thin out the tree to allow more light and less shade on your lawn.

Scarifying your lawn will rip out most of the moss but it is a waste of time if you don’t take action to change the condition of the soil to one that is more suitable for growing grass and less suitable for the moss to continue growing and thriving in.

Read my article on a scarified lawn that looks like a disaster by Clicking Here.

When Is The Best Time To Scarify A Lawn?

The general consensus is that there are two times per year which provide ideal conditions for scarifying your lawn:

  • Spring (March – April)
  • Fall ( September)

This is because you do have to scarify your lawn when the grass is actively growing as this enables it to recover fully.

When you scarify your lawn it does, in fact, damage the grass but this, in turn, promotes fresh growth as it repairs itself and this is where the benefit comes from.

The ideal conditions for scarifying your lawn would be a dry day but when it looks like the weather could get rainy and wet in the following days after you have scarified it.

You should avoid at all costs scarifying your lawn during the winter when the grass is not in an active growing phase as you will damage the grass and it will not be able to recover from the damage which could then go on to actually kill the grass which is the last thing you want to happen.

You should also avoid scarifying your lawn in the heat of summer as the thatching can actually act as a protective layer and if you remove it during the hot summer the sun may end up actually burning your grass and turning it yellow.

How Often Should You Scarify Your Lawn?

Whilst I generally recommend people should make scarifying the lawn part of an annual lawn maintenance routine there are some factors you should consider when deciding how regularly you scarify your lawn.

If your lawn does not have a considerable amount of moss growing in it or an unhealthy amount of thatching in it then it may not be necessary to scarify your lawn every year.

Some types of grass are more prone to thatching than others creeping red fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and creeping bentgrass are types of grass that will have quite a lot of thatching whereas tall fescue and Perennial ryegrass are two examples of grass that don’t have many thatching problems.

You should take this into consideration when you are laying a lawn. I still feel that the benefit of allowing water, air, nutrients down to the root when you scarify your lawn are enough of a benefit to justify scarifying on an annual basis even if your lawn doesn’t have extensive moss or thatching problems.

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