Lawn Scarification – the benefits explained

Lawn Scarification is the removal of dead organic matter (and moss) from the base of the grass plant to maintain a healthy growing environment above and below the soil surface. This layer of matter is known as the thatch layer.

A certain level of thatch is beneficial to the lawn as it acts as a natural insulator, retaining moisture in hot, dry weather and keeping warmth in during cold weather. It is natural and is controlled to some degree by microbial action, however, sometimes the layer just gets too thick and becomes a problem for healthy plant growth. I liken it to trying to get the natural balance in a pond right – clear water is the ideal, as is a small amount of thatch.

Most gardeners only think about scarifying when they notice a problem on the lawn surface and that problem is usually the dreaded moss! Moss loves the wet environment provided by thatch during the winter months. Once the moss has taken hold it is almost too late – by regularly scarifying a lawn you will make the environment less attractive for the moss in the first place.

As gardeners we can make the thatch problem worse. As we regularly cut our lawns we are taking the top growth off encouraging the plant to shoot sideways, leading to thicker growth. This is why we mustn’t cut too short 30-40mm on a regular domestic lawn is the ideal.

How do I know if I have “thatch”?

  • Spongy lawn: you will notice when you walk over it, your feet may sink down into the lawn. Mowing may become difficult as the lawn is clogged up with excess thatch.
  • Water drainage/soggy lawn: the lawn stays wetter on the surface
  • No result from fertilisers: the fertiliser may not be reaching the root zone so the desired effect will not be achieved
  • Poor colour
  • Pests: increase in pests such as leatherjackets and chafer grubs can sometimes be an indicator of poor conditions

How LawnsOne can help

Lawn scarification can be carried out during the spring or the autumn and it will encourage regrowth and thickening of the lawn. At LawnsOne we generally scarify using a pedestrian machine which has a set of steel blades which slice through the thatch and moss to just below the soil surface. Hand raking is an option for smaller areas. For more information on how we can help you get a lawn you will love, request a quote or call us.

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