How to scarify your lawn – The KEY techniques to ‘breathe life’ into your lawn

Gardening tips: How to repair and maintain your lawn

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Scarifying is an uncomplicated task that can breathe new life into your lawn by refreshing its top layer. Completing this simple lawn maintenance is undoubtedly beneficial to the growth of your grass, but timing it right is crucial to get the most out of your lawn. Gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh has voiced the importance of scarifying your lawn – but what are the real secrets to that re-energised look?

What is scarification?

The secret to an evergreen lawn lies in the hands of regular upkeep, and scarifying is something you should be doing as part of your annual lawn care routine.

Scarification is done to remove organic matter from around the base of the grass – aiming to tidy up bordering plants and wild lateral growth.

Removing material from the top layer of your lawn allows for a clean canvas to make sure your lawn absorbs sunlight and rain right at its core.

Thatch and moss are the common types of organic matter that you will find when scarifying your lawn and by removing it, you can secure strong and dense growth right across your grass.

How to scarify a lawn

Before diving straight in and scarifying your lawn you should take measures to prepare the grass.

Remove perennial weeds such as dandelions, or anything else that isn’t grass.

You can use a weed remover to remove weeds lurking around your lawn before raking away the loose organic debris.

It’s important to do a round of weed removal before scarifying to avoid cutting up any unwanted weeds and cluttering your lawn with unnecessary debris that will slow you down.

Distributing weeds will encourage widespread growth so your garden will feel the effects of these perennial pests for longer than you had bargained for.

There are a few tools needed to scarify a lawn and there are a few options when it comes to how you do it.

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Electric scarifier

An electric scarifier seems an obvious and fool-proof way to ensure you do the job correctly, but it can be a costly one too.

Ranging from around £80 upwards for a standard electric scarifier, it’s definitely an investment for your lawn if a less labour-intensive option appeals to you.

The steel blades of an electric scarifier churn up the top layer of the turf when the blades make contact with the lawn.

Electric scarifiers look similar to a lawn mower and pull out any loose debris like thatch and severs the grass which promotes new growth.

How to scarify with a rake

Scarifying your lawn disrupts the grass blades when severed with a rake or electric scarifier.

The slicing action ‘stuns’ the grass causing damage of sorts, though your lawn should recover in four to six weeks with a new lease of life.

In his Gardener’s World guide to scarifying, Alan Titchmarsh says: “You’re in a way pumping energy into your lawn by taking all this rubbish which it doesn’t need, out of it.

“You do need a bit of energy if you’re using one of these, which is a wire toothed springbok rake.

“It’s quite springy, much easier to take this grass out than a normal rake.”

What month should you scarify your lawn?

It is best to scarify your lawn twice yearly, aiming for Spring and Autumn.

If you are opting for the rake method, you might want to save your energy and do it really thoroughly once a year.

Once yearly scarifying should be done in Autumn as there is often more debris on the surface of your beloved green lawn at this time of year.

Scarifying your lawn will improve surface drainage and generally leave it in better fettle, says gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh.

Don’t waste the good stuff which is the organic matter, as this can be used in compost, so keep a garden waste bag handy when you’re giving your lawn some TLC.

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