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lawn scarification?

I'd like to know people's experiences please with lawn scarifiers.

Before going on holiday this year, I cut my lawn with the mower blades on the lowest setting.   I was pretty shocked to discover that it took some 20 boxes (and had to be done over 2 or 3 days also due to the mower battery dying under the strain, needing recharging)  of grass.   The lawn was brown all over once I had finished.   Absolutely full of dead grass, thatch and moss.   I can only presume this was due to the very dry and hot second half of June and early July we had this year?

Anyway, the lawn did recover well and looks good again now after plenty of rain, feeding and the like.   But I know that there's obviously an underlying issue with moss and thatch.

Is scarification the way forward?   If so, when should this be done, and on what sort of settings?   How do the blades work - if they aren't actually cutting the grass, how do they get rid of thatch and moss?    If it's going to remove masses on the first time, does this reduce rapidly year on year?   I'd better be prepared I guess - I only have one large green bin.




  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687

    You should always scarify once a year. Autumn time is the best time to do that. The action is much more vigorous. Best using a spring rake. You will end up with masses of moss and dead material that had been trapped between your grass and it is this stuff that is causing lack of air flow and hindering lawn growth. If you don't do this, slowly your lawn will become weak and eventually other weeds will creep in the gaps, especially moss.

    Sounds like your mower has some kind of setting to do this, but I'm not up-to-date with all the latest gadgets. Someone may help you with that. 

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,141

    There is no height setting on a scarifer just spike type things not blades, that pull the moss and thatch out.

    We do ours once a year, then treat with a moss killer. we always get out about enough moss to fill a small caravan., although there isn't quite so much now as when we first did it. 

    I will take notice of Borderline and do it in the Autumn now instead of Spring. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,254

    Think there are several types of tools that get called scarifiers nowadays.

    We have one which has two interchangeable 'things' .... one has a lot of spikes ... more of an electric rake really ... this is great for raking out moss and thatch.

    The other has blades and this cuts into the surface of the soil and this helps to lessen surface compaction, allows air and moisture in and stimulates the roots to grow. This is really the 'scarifier'.

    Both 'things' can be set at various heights according to the needs of your lawn.  

    Found it!  This is ours 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • We bought one of those machines from screw fix after I read about them on this website last year, raking and going over the grass to make all those little holes was becoming like an unwanted chore. 

     I used the  cutting blade " thing" first and when it was finished the lawn looked like a ploughed field , it was awful  and it stayed that way all winter and this spring/summer we had to feed and reseed all the bare patches and it took a while to even start to look anything like a decent lawn, so beware!!!!

    Luckily this was the back garden so not many people saw the state it was in.

    So we only used the  "  thing" with the spikes to remove the moss on the front lawn as didn't want to mess that one up as well. It worked well on the moss. 

    Both lawns now look good but I think we will be very careful next time and maybe only use the one to remove moss and thatch only. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,254

    Ah, I use the spikey rake first then the scarifier with blades, and only at a shallow depth until I can see how it's turning out.  

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,141

    Same as ours but the spikey things are dropping off now, it's done loads of work though and wasn't expensive. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • hi Dove ,

    maybe that's where I went wrong but saying that the blade thingy seems quite  powerful and I'm sure it would have ploughed the grass just as much even if I had used the spiky one first. 

    Oh well you live and learn ?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,254


    This is what our lawn looked like last September after a thorough going over with the electric rake and then scarifying.  We then sprinkled some grass seed over the lawn on a day when rain was forecast. We did nothing else 

    This is  the only photo I have of what it looked like this May, but you can see that it looks fine.  I like the daisies so I let them be. 


    Last edited: 18 September 2017 18:52:19

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • That "after" photo of your garden and grass looks lovely. I've planted lots of daisies  in my grass so next year I'm looking forward to seeing how much they  spread. 

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