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When, Why and How Often Do We Scarify a Lawn

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A scarifier is a powerful machine that reduces the thatch layer and removes organic matter and debris from between the lower leaf level of the lawn. This, in turn, allows air, water, and nutrients more space to reach the roots in the soil.

Scarification is one of the most important treatments that can be carried out on a lawn, as it also loosens moss to the surface, thereby reducing moss build-up. However, scarifying with the sole intention of fully removing moss may cause unavoidable damage to your lawn. Therefore, it is very important that the lawn operation should only be completed by a competent operator with a professional machine.

One of the most important factors when scarifying is the time of year it is carried out. It should only ever be completed when the grass is actively growing, so it’s essential that it is not carried out during winter, as this will cause unavoidable damage.

When, Why and How often do we scarify a lawn

When we do it?


Spring & Autumn

Spring time onwards is the best time to have your lawn scarified as the lawn will recover much more quickly when it starts to grow. Autumn is also acceptable as the lawn will still grow at a quick enough rate to fully recover.

Why we do it?


Reduces thatch levels

The reduction of thatch build-up is the main objective of scarification. The removal of this layer helps to reduce the build-up of moss in a lawn, therefore helping the lawn to recover to its peak condition as new grass can grow through easier.

How Often do we do it?


Once Per Year

A light scarification can be beneficial during good growing conditions. However, some lawns, particularly fine fescue grass lawns may need scarifying twice per year, to allow the lawn to recover back to full health.

The Benefits of Scarification

What is the Difference Between a Scarifier and a Thatch Raker?

Many people believe that a lawn raker (domestic scarifier) is capable of achieving the same results as a professional scarifier. However, scarification should not be confused with a lawn rake. Using a small DIY electric powered machine can cause more harm than good when used incorrectly.

The blade system used in a lawn raker consists of wire springs that rotate in an attempt to rip out thatch from the lawn. However, because the blade system is not powerful enough to go very deep into the turf, a very poor job is usually completed and often results in destroying the grass stallion with a splitting action. This allows disease to enter and dead areas start to appear.

A professional scarifier however, has a solid blade system which turns vertically into the thatch layer, removing the thatch on exit of the rotation. This completes a much more professional job without damaging the lawn and also prepares the lawn for over-seeding to increase the grass cover.


  • After scarification, lawns need to be kept moist if no rain occurs. A fertiliser application can be applied to speed up growth and recovery. Over-seeding and top dressing are optional processes that provide the most benefits directly after scarification as they improve the grass cover and soil quality, whilst speeding up recover from the scarification procedure.

  • Scarification and aeration are not the same. A scarifier is a powerful machine that reduces the thatch layer and removes organic matter and debris between the lower leaf level of the lawn. An aerator is a machine that prunes roots off, opens up oxygen pathways and removes small thatch plugs from a lawn, and therefore reducing moss levels.

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