Scarification is a very important lawn operation and should only be completed with a professional machine. A scarifier is a powerful machine that removes the thatch layer, organic matter and debris between the lower leaf level of the lawn. It also removes most of the dry/dead grass from the lawn.
Scarification is not designed to remove all the moss from a lawn. However, scarifying will remove moss to a certain extent. But to use a machine solely with the intention of fully removing moss may cause unavoidable damage to your lawn.
The action of the scarifier will loosen moss, and during the process and for a few days afterwards, it will allow it to come to the surface.
The removal 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 peek condition. By avoiding scarification, it allows the thatch and debris level to increase, which lead to further problems. Thatch and moss-infested lawns are not very drought tolerant for example.
Spring: Raking & Light Scarifying
Light de-thatching or scarifying and moss removal can be done in spring and or autumn. Spring generally means sometime in April just as things warm up thereby increasing the growth and recovery rate but before the heat and dryness of summer slows things down. Autumn would generally be late August or September as the rains start but before the cold sets in.
Autumn: Heavy Scarifying
For heavy thatch or moss infestations requiring deeper scarifying or raking then try to stick to the autumn period. Why?
Heavy raking or scarifying is going to seriously thin the lawn leaving soil exposed in many places. This makes an ideal seed bed not only for over seeding with new and improved grass seed but also for all the weed and weed grass seeds floating around. By confining this intensive treatment to August or September you will avoid the bulk of the years weed seeds. If you do this in spring, you’ll just replace your moss or thatch problem with a weed problem! Having said that, there are a few exceptions when spring is the best time:
·It is better to rake or scarify in spring if you were unable to do it the previous autumn perhaps due to bad weather rather than put it off. Keep putting it off from autumn to autumn could mean you’ll have a bigger problem than a few weeds!
·If the area to be scarified is shady. Shady areas will thin over winter and thicken up from spring onwards. Therefore, if you scarify in autumn you’ll just make things worse.
·If the area is under trees. The shade from trees plus the autumn fall of leaves will reduce grass health and vigour but in spring – late March through April – the trees are bare allowing maximum light to your lawn enabling good growth and maximum opportunity for new grass seed to get growing.