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Scarification is a very important operation. Effective scarification will improve the quality of the lawn, by removing waste organic matter, and will also improve the effectiveness of other operations that follow at other times of the year.
What does scarification do?
Scarification is carried out to remove organic matter from around the base of the grass plants and tidy up any straggly lateral growth. In a nutshell, scarification removes material, usually in the form of thatch or moss, that will otherwise prevent good dense grass growth. If lawns are not scarified, debris will build up and lead to other problems, including poor drainage and difficulty in getting water and nutrient down to the rootzone, where they are of most benefit. Furthermore, thatchy and/or mossy lawns will feel excessively spongy underfoot, and will not be very hardwearing or drought tolerant.
Scarification creates space around the roots of the grass plant. Once this has been achieved, the grass will be encouraged to spread and fill the space, thus creating a denser sward.
Thatch – a layer of dead or dying grass and other organic matter at the foot of the grass plant but above the soil. if this layer is excessive, the lawn will start to suffer. Scarification reduces this layer to an acceptable level. Click here for more information about thatch.
When should scarification take place?
Late summer or autumn is generally regarded as being the safest times to scarify, when temperatures are lower and there is sufficient moisture to encourage good recovery from the effects. It is important that the grass is growing fairly well and that any space created is filled by desirable lawn grasses. If growth is slow, there is a higher risk that the gaps will be filled with unwanted weeds or weed-grasses. It is also desirable to promote grass growth after scarification. This means that over seeding should be considered where large amounts of thatch and/or moss have been removed.
Scarification can create large amounts of waste. We will either put this waste on your compost heap, or leave it bagged for your disposal. Alternatively, for a small charge we may be able to dispose of it for you. Scarification can be quite brutal in its operation, particularly if the thatch levels are high, when the lawn may require several weeks to recover. It may be necessary to re-seed bare patches where large amounts of thatch and/or moss have been removed.
The benefits of Scarification:
Degrades thatch and increases nutrient uptake into the grass plant
Improves surface drainage
Released nutrients encourage root development, not disease
Increases turf vigour and wear resistance
Promotes improved root development and sward density
Maximises the benefits of aeration
Dependent on the levels of moss and/or thatch present, it is often more effective if two or more scarifying ‘passes’ are used. However, it is important that the passes made are not at right angles to each other, as this is too brutal and could result in excessive damage to the lawn. It is far better, and more effective, if the second pass is at approximately 40-45º to the first.