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Scarifying a lawn in Millhouses, Sheffield by Maratt Lawn & Garden


Ideal when you want to remove thatch and moss from your lawn.

What is Lawn Thatch?

Grasses propagate by seed with some also producing side shoots or runners. These side shoots help the grass spread and are either just above the soil surface (stolons) or just below it (rhizomes). This ‘spreading’ helps the turf knit and become thick and dense. Ideal if you want a little ball to roll smoothly across it!

However, nothing is forever, and at some point the parent grass plant and some stolons and rhizomes die to be replaced by younger stronger plants. The problem is that the growing part of the grass plant (crown) together with the stolons and rhizomes contain a chemical compound called lignin which makes them very slow to rot or decay. And because they don’t rot they start to build up, layer upon layer until there is too much. This is thatch!

What is Scarifying?

Scarifying is mainly influenced by grass type; this is going to dictate whether or not your lawn is going to need scarifying or de-thatching. If you’ve got anything other than a mainly rye grass lawn then it will need doing at some time. And if it’s an ornamental or so-called ‘luxury lawn’ full of the fine fescue grasses then you’d better start to love scarifying.

So, like it or not you had best be prepared. DON’T bury your head in the sand and hope the problem will go away. It won’t, and year on year it will get worse to the point that you have little or no grass left! The BEST and EASIEST way to tackle problems of thatch or moss is to tackle them early. Let the problem reach CRITICAL and you may not have a lawn to save!

Lawn thatch by its very nature is removed more easily by this cutting action and the result is a firmer lawn that allows the passage of air, nutrients and water easily into it. Take scarifying a step further by letting the scarifier blades cut into the soil and you will open the soil surface and make an ideal seed bed for introducing new grass seed to your lawn.

The blades also ‘prune’ the grass plants because it cuts them downwards rather than cross cutting as in mowing. This pruning, just like pruning a bush or plant causes extra shoots to grow thus thickening the turf.

The ‘chopping’ action is also a good way of controlling some of the coarser or delicate weed grasses such as Yorkshire Fog and Annual Meadow Grass. It can also help control creeping weeds such as speedwell and trefoils (yellow suckling clover).

How is this  Carried out?

You do not need to be home for us to carry out this treatment.

Light de-thatching or scarifying and moss removal can be done in spring and or autumn. For heavy thatch or moss infestations requiring deeper scarifying or raking then we try to stick to the autumn period.

Before Our Visit

Planning ahead is important. You need short dry grass for raking or scarifying so bring the grass height down gradually over a week or two before hand. This doesn’t shock the grass whilst also allowing air deeper into the turf helping dry the grass. The day before attacking the lawn mow it as close as possible without scalping. Long grass just creates resistance to the scarifier.

The Scarification Day

we will be monitoring the weather and plan to rake on a dry day. If the weather doesn’t play ball, keep the grass short until we get another scarifying opportunity.

After our Visit

Scarifying is a very invasive treatment, we recommend to top dress and over seed the lawn after scarification, this is the application of screened topsoil and new grass seed to fill in any bare patches of the lawn. If no rain is forthcoming and the soil is dry then its important to water the lawn and keep the soil moist to aid in the recovery grass.

After Scarification

This shows how an un-maintained lawn looks after scarification!

Short term pain, long term gain. This process is essential to the long term health of your lawn. it won't be pretty at first but it is the best way to create a strong and healthy lawn.

A lawn in Ranmoor after Scarification has been carried out
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