When to Scarify Your Lawn

Your grass may not be looking at its best. If it contains a large amount of moss or is looking particularly yellow, you may be tempted to scarify your lawn.

So when is the best time?

Answer: Late spring (mid-April onwards) and autumn (September) are good times to scarify your lawn, particularly if it is not too dry. You must scarify your lawn only when your grass is growing strongly.

Poor lawn

What is scarification?

Scarification is the process by which the ‘undergrowth’ or thatch is physically removed from a lawn. It can be a harsh process and, initially,  will make your lawn look worse but, ultimately, can make it much, much better. So, please have faith!

Bear in mind, however, that if you scarify your lawn at the wrong time of the year, you risk damaging it severely, particularly when grass is not growing strongly. I am constantly amazed that some of the lawn treatment companies promote expensive lawn scarification services at all times of the year. They are doing this to suit themselves and not your lawn. At the end of the day, there are only a few weeks of the year when scarification is recommended, but lawn companies can only scarify a small number of lawns in this period. I’ve seen many lawns damaged by lawn treatment companies as a result, and these lawns would have been better served by just being left alone!

When exactly should I scarify my lawn?

There are two times of the year when it’s best to scarify your lawn:

  • late spring (mid-April onwards)
  • autumn (September).

Please do not start too early in the spring as this can ruin your lawn! The perfect time for scarification is when the grass is growing strongly. So, avoid scarification in early spring when frosts may still occur. Ideally, the soil should be moderately wet but with a touch-dry surface. In late winter/early spring, we generally get some lovely warm days, and there is a temptation to scarify then. However, the grass is not yet growing rapidly, and the following days can often turn much cooler meaning that your lawn cannot recover.

For the best results,  mow the lawn before scarifying.

You should also feed your lawn before scarifying.

Which scarifier should I use or buy?

A lot depends on the size of your lawn and the how quickly you want to get the job done.  Doing the job by hand would be an extremely tiring and back breaking task!

If you are looking for a high-quality scarifier/lawn raker, you cannot go too far wrong with the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker.

Get rid of moss before you scarify

If you are suffering a significant amount of moss after the winter, you should apply moss killer a few weeks before scarifying. This will kill off the moss so, when it is removed,  fewer moss spores will be spread. Also, the moss will come up easier.

Help – my lawn looks terrible after scarification!

Even if you scarify at the best time of the year, your lawn may look terrible immediately after its scarification. Provided that you have scarified at the right time of the year, you don’t have anything to worry about. After  several weeks of strong grass growth, your lawn will look much better and will, eventually, look much healthier than it did before you started. To help your lawn recover, you should:

  • water the lawn after it has been scarified (or time the scarification to be a few days before rain is due)
  • overseed the lawn, particularly where there are bare patches (for example, where moss has been removed).

Good luck. In time, you will have an amazing lawn (well providing that you don’t keep cutting your grass too short).