What is Lawn Scarification?
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 often referred to 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 controlled to some degree by microbial action, however, sometimes the layer just gets too thick and becomes a problem for healthy plant growth.
Most gardeners only think about scarifying when they notice a problem on the lawn surface and that problem is usually the dreaded moss! Moss thrives in the wet environment provided by winter, but once the moss takes hold, it is almost too late.
Regularly scarifying a lawn reduces the opportunities for the moss to set in.
Regularly cutting your lawn too low (30-40mm on a regular domestic lawn is the ideal) can make the thatch problem worse, as taking the top growth off encourages the plant to shoot sideways, leading to thicker growth.
Signs of ‘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 leather jackets and chafer grubs can
sometimes be an indicator of poor conditions
Benefits of Scarification
Thickening of the lawn
Removes the organic matter from the surface of the lawn, helping it breathe.
Refreshes a lawn, helping to absorb water and nutrients much more easily.
Reduces moss levels in a lawn.
Stops it becoming ‘spongy’
It is one of the most beneficial treatments that you can use.