Scarification is a process using a professional machine that vertically cuts into the sward to remove excessive thatch which can choke the grass plant and acts as a sponge preventing air water and nutrients from reaching the grass roots.
What is thatch
Thatch is a name given to the layer of organic matter found on and below the surface of the soil. Thatch is created when grass plants naturally die off making way for new growth. This organic matter can be very slow to decay allowing it to form a layer at the bottom of the sward. Some grasses such as fescues will produce more thatch than others. Thatch in small amounts is considered healthy but will become detrimental to the lawn once it becomes too thick.
When to scarify the lawn
Scarifying the lawn actually damages the grass but when done correctly the benefits outway the damage. That’s why scarification should be done when there is the right conditions for good recovery, usually in spring and Autumn. Scarifying is most effective when completed alongside aeration and over-seeding the lawn.
Before Scarifying the lawn
Ideally the grass should be cut short and be dry with good soil moisture so timing is important. Weeds should be sprayed with a selective herbicide atleast 2 weeks before and moss killed off with liquid iron as live moss is very difficult to rake out. If you are thinking about having your lawn scarified in spring or autumn it is best to get in touch as early as possible to prepare for the treatment.
Soil type: Soils with low microbial activity such as very sandy, acidic (low PH) or compacted soils contain less micro-organisms that naturally break down thatch.
Over-feeding: Although feeding the lawn is essential for a healthy lawn. Too much nitrogen, especially inorganic feeds, produce excessive growth leading to more thatch production
Over-Watering- Micro-organisms need oxygen to reproduce. They are less effective in very wet soil
Infrequent Mowing- Cutting more than 1/3 of the plant at a time produces more thatch
Lack of oxygen- The micro-organisms cannot thrive in overly wet and compacted soils.
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