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Lawn Scarification

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Lawn Scarification Annual Lawn Chores

What is Lawn Scarification?

Lawn scarification is the process of raking your lawn to help prevent the build up of Thatch and decaying organic materials that can build up and in turn provide humid moist conditions for fungal lawn diseases to take hold.

Scarification can be carried out either manually - using a rake that will allow you to pull Thatch free from your grass - or mechanically - using a machine with tungsten blades that rotate at high speed and cut into the grass or turf vertically.

Does My Lawn Need To Be Scarified?

You may think that your lawn is growing as it should be but all the time there is the danger of Thatch building up and paving the way for diseases such as Mushroom Fairy Ring, Red Thread or fungal infections like Toadstools or Puffballs. Thatch builds up without you actually knowing it and comes about principally after you have cut your lawn.

It is easy to rake up the grass cuttings but there is always a modicum of cuttings that go trodden under foot or do not catch hold on the rake which then sink to a level at the base of the grass stems. Once they have sunk to this depth they provide a covering between the grass stem and the soil, which leads to humidity and moisture; the prime sources of development for the aforementioned diseases. (For more information on these diseases and their treatments look at our article Common Lawn Diseases).

Scarifying your lawn helps reduce the build up of Thatch and therefore helps reduce the risks of your lawn being infected with one of these diseases. Scarifying is not the most fun of gardening jobs it has to be said but it is among one of the most important.

At certain times of the year - and indeed throughout the gardener's calendar - scarification is vital to sustaining a healthy lawn especially in periods when new growth potential is at a high. The spring months are among the most important in the gardener's calendar and as such it is in these months and also in the autumn when growth is slowing down that scarifying should be carried out.

How Often Should I Scarify My Lawn?

Even veteran gardeners ask this question and it is a question that varies from lawn to lawn. Depending on whether or not your lawn is susceptible to disease or fungal infection - the likes of which we have already covered - scarification should be carried out on as and when required basis. If you feed your lawn or fertilise it then you should consider scarifying rigorously before you carry out this task. Scarifying your lawn prior to a feeding or fertilising or indeed planting of new grass seed goes a long way to ensuring a faster recovery.

Also different grass types tend to produce more Thatch build up than others and so require scarifying more often. Likewise, if there is a heavy build up of moss that requires treatment with chemicals then scarifying becomes something that has to be carried out more often to try and reduce the amount of moss and therefore the number of chemical treatments.

If you can reduce the amount of Thatch or moss by scarifying this will obviously reduce the number of chemical treatments required and therefore reduce the amount of chemicals introduced into your soil, thus helping to keep the soil nutrient endowed and therefore free to provide your grass with all the growth it should have.

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