Turf management can be a demanding task. It requires careful planning, time, and effort to maintain healthy turfgrass in the landscape. If you are looking for ways to improve your turf’s health, there are many effective techniques that can help. One of these is scarification which involves using equipment or tools to break up soil compaction and remove organic matter from the surface of the lawn. Scarifying turf will stimulate root growth, relieve soil compaction and provide aeration benefits all at once!
Makes lawn care complete ” scarify the turf.
In addition to mowing, watering, and fertilizing, sod should be scarified regularly. Over time, leaves, grass clippings, and weeds form a “felt” over the turf, which impairs the supply of light and air to the soil.
In addition, the soil can only dry out poorly in between, which favors the development of fungal diseases. Moss also spreads more easily. By “combing” your lawn from time to time, you free it from unnecessary ballast – for strong and healthy growth and a beautiful appearance. Here you can find out everything you need to know about scarifying turf.
Dethatching the turf ” manually or mechanically?
Basically, you have the choice between a scarifying rake and an electric scarifier. Both alternatives have their advantages and disadvantages.
Manually scarify the turf
Working with a dethatching lawn rake – also called a “scarifying comb” – is physically quite strenuous and time-consuming. Manual scarifying is, therefore, more recommended for small lawns and hard-to-reach areas – for example, along bed borders or between stepping stones. An advantage is that a scarifying rake takes up little storage space in the shed.
Dethatching turf with a machine
For larger areas, a scarifying machine is recommended. With it, you can save time and power. Since the blades of an electric scarifier penetrate deeper into the soil, it is also easier for fertilizer to reach the roots of the lawn. However, this thorough raking extends the regeneration time.
When is the best time to scarify turf?
Before you scarify your sod, the sod must be firmly rooted. It is enough to scarify the lawn from the second year.
It is best to scarify your turf in spring or autumn:
In the spring, as soon as there is no longer a threat of night frost, you can also repair bare spots.
In the fall, it goes into the winter break “properly” and strengthened: It can again absorb more oxygen and nutrients and is, therefore, less susceptible to disease.
How to clean your lawn in 5 steps
For scarifying, it is best to choose a dry and overcast day – either in September/October or in April/May. Then proceed as follows:
- Mow the lawn to a cutting height of 1.2 in.
- Choose a scarifying depth between 5 and 10 mm, depending on the degree of matting.
- Scarify first lengthwise and then crosswise, creating a checkerboard pattern.
- After scarifying, thoroughly remove the combed-out material and dispose of it as organic waste or in the compost.
- Finally, sand, roll, and water the turf. If necessary, sow a reseed beforehand.
The next fertilizer application for the aerated lawn should be done after two weeks at the earliest. To give your turf sufficient regeneration time, wait until the blades are about 3.14 in high before mowing.
Prevent matted areas
Dethatching puts stress on the lawn and therefore should not be done too frequently. With these maintenance measures, you can effectively prevent the development of excessive felting:
- Check the pH level in the soil regularly: If the pH is below 5.5, apply lime to prevent the formation of moss.
- Do not use slow-release fertilizers with high nitrogen content.
- Bring new life into the soil with organic fertilizer.
- Refrain from using chemical weed killers.
- Always remove leaves in the fall.
- Water your sod less frequently, but more intensively.
Good to know: If cuttings remain on the turf after mowing, this does not necessarily promote the formation of lawn thatch. Especially for young grasses, the grass clippings act as mulch and can, in the best case, replace fertilizing.