Knowing how to scarify a lawn can help you maintain healthier grass all year round. Straw is essentially a layer of dead plant matter and debris that gradually forms on the surface of the earth. It’s produced faster than it can be mined, so it gets thicker and thicker over time. If this layer is not removed once it reaches ½ inch thick, this layer will eventually overcrowd the surface, reducing access to water, oxygen, and the necessary nutrients that grass needs to thrive. So if you want to keep your lawn healthy, thatch needs to be removed when necessary. Ignoring straw is one of many Mistakes in lawn care you could do
The problem is that straw is quite difficult to remove. It can be thicker than you imagine and cover a wide area. Luckily, we’ve put together this useful guide to make the process easier. We’ll explain what to do and when to do it, and answer any questions you may have. Once you’re done, your weed is free to grow and thrive again. How to scarify a lawn.
How to scarify a lawn
what you will need
Motor rake/electric scarifier (optional)
Vertical mower/scarifier (optional)
Before you start scarifying, check how thick the straw is – if it is less than 1/2 inch, scarifying is not necessary. You can check this by digging up a small, hidden section of grass and soil with a trowel and measuring the layer. A healthy layer of straw is actually good for your lawn; it locks in moisture and insulates the floor. In addition, the necessary water and air can still pass.
1. Choose the right tool – Choosing the right tool for the job makes the process much easier. An everyday rake can work for small lawns, but for best effect invest in a specialty straw rake, such as the Bully Tools 24-Tine Leaf and Thatching Rake ($59.99, Amazon (opens in new tab)). The long and sturdy tines of such rakes make them ideal for removing thatch.
If you are dealing with a larger garden, another option is to use a power rake or electric scarifier. These look a lot like lawn mowers and work in a similar way – you push them along while the machine digs tines into the ground to clear and lay down the straw. An example of this would be the Sun Joe AJ801E 12 Amp 13 Inch ($174.99, Amazon (opens in new tab)). These machines are better suited if you are scarifying a larger area. They can be rented from home department stores if your storage space is limited.
Finally, there is the option of using a vertical mower or scarifier. These should only be used on lawns suffering from excessive matting that cannot otherwise be removed. These devices are a last resort as they have blades that literally tear away the straw, damaging all the grass roots in the process. Electric scarifiers often double as scarifiers, as the recommendation above shows.
2. Mowing the Lawn — You should mow your lawn to a height of about 2 inches before scarifying. This will help your tools reach the layer of straw effectively.
3. Get to work – If you’re using a rake, put on a pair of them The best gardening gloves (work gloves would be ideal) and prepare for hard work. The movement isn’t exactly complicated – you’ll use the rake literally the same way you would when gathering leaves. Drop the tines on the ground and make sure you walk through the blades of grass to reach the straw, then pull back to rake it loose. It takes more effort than you think.
Our audio editor, Lee Dunkley, said, “I started scarifying my lawn with a hand rake and thought this should be quick and easy, but I got about ¼ of the way through the task and found I had to get out the electric scarifier. It’s a lot harder than you can imagine.’
For this reason we recommend using an electric scarifier if you want to save time and energy or if you suffer from back pain. You literally push these back and forth, much like a lawnmower, and you get the same finish. Some can even pick up the straw as you walk, so you don’t have to pick it up off the ground afterwards. You may need to make up to three passes to completely scarify the lawn, and you should work vertically on each pass for best results. Make sure you mark and avoid sprinkler heads or tree roots if you choose an electric method.
Vertical mowers or scarifiers work the same way; They drive over the grass like a lawnmower. However, start with the first pass at the highest setting and then work your way down with more passes as needed. This loosens the lawn thatch and treats your lawn as gently as possible. Also, if the above seems like a lot of work to you, you can always call in a professional to help you.
4. Discard the Straw – Now you will want to collect what was left behind. Use a regular rake to collect the exposed straw. You can either throw it away or add it to your compost heap. Avoid the latter, though crabgrass and dandelion however, visit your garden.
5. Take care of your lawn – Now that the process is complete, your lawn may be looking a bit worn. There are probably exposed areas of earth scattered about and the grass isn’t looking too happy. Take the time to learn how to overseed your lawn, then feed and water it to give it what it needs to recover. However, be careful not to use too much water or fertilizer; By speeding up growth, you encourage the formation of more straw. Cash how much you should water your lawn for leadership.
Maybe you want to learn how to aerate a lawn also to treat it completely after scarifying.
When should you scarify your lawn?
As a general guide, you should scarify your lawn every two or three years. You should aim to do this while your weed is at its peak of growth, and only proceed while it is also healthy. Scarifying will take its toll on your weed, so make sure it’s in its best health for the best chance of healing.
For reference, in the cool season, such as B. Kentucky Bluegrass, best scarified in early spring or early fall. While warm season grasses, such as Bermuda grass, should be scarified in late spring or early summer.
You also want the soil to be moist for the best conditions. If it’s too wet you can pull out everything by the roots, while if it’s too dry the tools will struggle to dig up and reach the mulch effectively.
Remember to also keep an eye on the thickness of the mulch layer—if it’s less than ½ inch, you can put the rake away.
Your lawn should now be free of thatch. This will keep your grass growing stronger and healthier in the long run, but remember to keep an eye on it immediately after scarifying. This task makes it vulnerable and it will need time to recover before it can thrive.
For more lawn tips, tricks and how-to’s, check out our guides to planting grass seed, greening your lawn, striping your lawn, laying lawns, the 7 most common lawn care mistakes you’re probably making now and 7 ways to revive dead grass .