If you love your lawn, you scarify, they say. But after scarifying, the lawn looks badly battered. Does that even have to be the case? And how does that actually work? When is the right time? We’ll show you whether you should scarify at all and how you can get your green space fresh again.
- What is scarifying?
- Why should the lawn be scarified?
- When exactly should scarification be done?
- What scarifiers are there?
- Can scarifying also harm the lawn?
If the days get warmer in spring, we are clearly drawn outdoors. The longing is great to finally get back on the pitch. Unfortunately, after a long winter, the green spaces are usually in a dreary state. So it’s time to put on the gardening gloves and get the lawn ready for spring. Scarifying is at the top of the to-do list in most gardens. You can find out when and why you should scarify your lawn here.
What is scarifying?
The term scarifying probably comes from the English composition of vertical and to cut, i.e. it is cut vertically into the turf with knives. Originally, the process was also called aeration, which corresponds to the actual purpose of scarifying: the lawn is given more air by removing so-called lawn felt (non-rotted plant fibers), weeds and moss. Depending on the device used, the scarifier pulls out the dead and unwanted plant parts after scoring them into the lawn and transports them – if available – into the grass collector or they are then collected from the lawn with a rake. This allows more light to reach the newly formed blades of grass and allows them to grow better.
Scarifying was developed for lawns that have to withstand extreme site conditions. These include, for example, football pitches. Especially in sports stadiums, where there is little light and no natural soil life, where the water is artificially drained and the green area is equipped with turf heating, the floor requires the most intensive care. But even in private gardens, there are difficult site conditions that make scarifying necessary if you value a well-kept lawn.
Why should the lawn be scarified?
At the beginning and end of the gardening year, your lawn is waiting for a fresh treatment. You can check whether it also needs to be scarified for this using the tables.
Notes that your lawn should be scarified in the spring
- Snow has compacted the soil.
- The lawn is permanently damp.
- The grasses are brownish rather than green.
- There are a lot of leaves on the lawn.
- The lawn is covered with moss.
- Between the stalks there is turf felt (a mixture of non-rotten plant parts).
- The first wild herbs, such as dandelions, sorrel or daisies, are spreading.
- There are still grass clippings from last year.
Indicators that your lawn should be aerated in the fall
- The lawn is overgrown with wild herbs.
- The green area was rarely mowed.
- The grass was heavily used by play and sports.
- Moss has spread during the summer.
- Lawn mulch is poorly rotted.
- Due to strong plant growth, the garden was shaded a lot.
- Lots of rainfall during the summer.
- The lawn is “burned” by too much sunlight.
When exactly should scarification be done?
There are two ideal times to scarify the lawn. The first scarification in the garden year should take place in the spring after the first mowing. It’s best to start when it’s just starting to get warmer – early to mid-April, depending on the region. But the sooner they scarify, the better, so that the lawn has sufficient regeneration time before it is used. As a rule, the lawn needs three weeks to recover from scarifying. It is best to sprinkle some lawn seeds on the bare lawns. Once your green space has been freshly laid out, give your lawn time to take root firmly. The first scarification should only take place 2-3 years after the green area has been created – regardless of whether you have sown it or laid out rolled lawns.
The second time to scarify is in autumn, while it is still warm but no longer hot. By removing moss, weeds and lawn felt, prepare the lawn for winter. In September and in more southern regions, you may start aerating the lawn until October, then he still has enough time to recover from the procedure before snow and ice get to him.
What scarifiers are there?
There are gasoline-powered scarifiers, electroscarifiers, and handheld scarifiers. Which device you choose is not only a question of cost, but should essentially depend on the size of the garden and the conditions. If you have a park-like garden, you are well advised to use a petrol scarifier, as it is powerful and designed for large areas. For average-sized gardens, an electric scarifier is the most comfortable choice, as it works quietly and is also easy on the back and joints compared to handheld tools. In addition, there are many devices with an additional catcher, which makes the work much easier. If you like it sporty and only have small areas to work on or have a lawn on a slope, a handheld device is the best choice. Motorized scarifiers cost between 70 and 2700 euros. However, there is also the possibility to borrow the device from a garden store.
Can scarifying also harm the lawn?
The topic of scarifying is a hotly debated topic among garden enthusiasts every year. The fact is that after scarifying, the lawn looks quite battered. The shock at the sight of the lawn scarified for the first time is probably quite great. Because not only mosses and lawn felt are removed from the lawn, of course, blades of grass with roots are also pulled out of the grass clump when the turf is scratched. Thus, after scarifying, a large proportion of soil becomes visible. But don’t worry, if the lawn is healthy, i.e. if it is not weakened by fungal diseases, for example, it will regenerate quickly and will be crisscrossed by freshly grown grass sticks again after about three weeks. If you still have concerns, you can also carry out scarifying every two years. Of course, there are also many other ways to keep your green spaces fresh and healthy.