How to scarify your lawn!

Get yourself a healthy lawn thanks to the scarifier!

With the switch to summer time, days are getting a bit longer and you can take a look at your lawn in the evening, after work. But in the spring, your lawn isn´t looking at all like it is shown in the garden furniture catalogs from your DIY store. In the past cold and sunless months, the moss won the fight against the lawn in many places, dead grass is dried up and straw between the leftover green blades of grass and is waiting formally to be eliminated. It can even go so far that you have to lay a new lawn. However, the scarifier can already help to get your lawn healthy again. You can find out how to do this in the following article.

Scarify, what is that?

If you wanted to have a lush green lawn in the summer, you should now start with the preparations. The first step at this point is the grip to the scarifier. The name Scarifier is derived from English and includes the terms vertical and cut. This is exactly what the Scarifier does with the turf, he cuts vertically into the ground. This loosens the top layer of soil and provides nutrients and water with sufficient surface area to be absorbed by the soil. During the cutting of the soil, the rotating knife dissolves out dried lawn, moss and other unwanted weeds. The roots of the lawn are cut off and thus stimulated to form new side shoots to absorb more nutrients.

When is the right time for scarifying?

Anyone who plans to scarify their lawn should wait until it hasn´t rained for a couple of days in the spring and the ground isn´t muddy anymore, even a few centimeters below the surface. If the ground is too wet when scarifying, the scarifier rips apart weeds and moss but also healthy blades of grass from the ground. Furthermore, the lawn would look more like an abandoned festival site than a front yard. The temperatures shouldn´t be so high that the lawn has begun to grow, but not too low that the night frosts are still too strong. Depending on the weather, the months March and April are best suited for this work. In the summer you shouldn´t scarify your lawn, because of the loosened earth the lawn dry out too fast. Furthermore, the injured roots in the middle of the growth phase strain the tender turf plants. In autumn, the lawn can be scarified a second time. Especially after a rainy summer, often a lot of moss has formed.

Scarifying or airing?

Many scarifiers today are combined devices, in which either a scarifying or aerator roller can be used. The aerator roller, in contrast to the scarifying roller has no cutting knife, but wire hooks which don´t cut into the sward, but scratch superficially and remove overhead moss or turf felt. As it is not recommended to scarify in the summer, you could use instead the aerator roller.

How you scarifying correctly

Before you do the actual scarifying, it is advisable to mow the lawn in advance. In the best case at the lowest level which your mower can mow. So superficial leaves and something similar get sucked off. In addition, the short lawn is less prone to tearing out.

Tip: Before you finally start, you should remove stones lying on the surface of the lawn. These could otherwise be thrown up by the scarifier's revolving roller and hit the device or, in the worst case, you. Depending on how heavily your lawn is mossy, you can either scarify with or without a catcher. If there is too much moss it is easier to clean the area afterwards with a rake or a lawnmower. The grass catcher would be full too fast. For the best possible result, it is recommended to scarify in two passes. In the first pass the whole area, each in dense parallel paths. The second pass should then be done 90 degrees staggered to implement.

After scarifying

First, the lawn will look pretty "battered". But if you fertilize it properly afterwards, it will recover quickly. The fertilizer can quickly settle in the loosened soil and thus doesn´t float away even in heavy rainfall. Instead of fertilising by hand, a spreader or universal spreader can alternatively be used. So the fertilizer gets even more evenly distributed. In case of longer dry season, on the other hand, you should water it. In addition, the turf should be entered as little as possible in the time after scarifying, so that the grass can quickly develop back to a lush green lawn.

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Picture of the author Hauke Leweling.
Written by Hauke Leweling
Published on 17.02.2019

Whether it's the garden or the workshop, Hauke Leweling is a true all-rounder and a freelance blogger. For Einhell, Hauke is armed not only with pen and paper but also with various gardening tools and equipment that he thoroughly tests. He shares his experiences, as well as tips and tricks, in his blog posts.