During growth, lawns develop a layer of dead material between the foliage and the roots, known as “thatch”. This inhibits growth and should be removed each autumn. Where the growth is inhibited by this thatch, you will often find moss takes over.
There are various types of scarifier available with wire or solid steel tines (flails) and with petrol engines or electric motors. At Jackson & Gocher Hire Centre we only hire the petrol engine version with solid metal tines of the type preferred by professional gardeners and landscapers.
How to scarify for the best results:
- This is best done each autumn but can be done in the spring
- Use a proprietary moss and weed killer first (dead and dried moss is much easier to remove than lush green growing moss)
- Leave for a period of time for this to work (often 1 to 2 weeks)
- Mow the grass so it is reasonably short (if the grass is long when scarified the scarifying will not be so effective)
- Wait for a warm day when the grass is dry (wet grass does not scarify too well), but not so dry that the grass is parched as it will already be under stress
- Set the tines so they just touch the surface of the soil, removing the thatch but not damaging the roots
- Scarify the lawn – some areas may only need one pass but others may need more attention
- If there is a lot of thatch produced (and there usually is) the best way we have found to collect it is by mowing the grass again using the mower to compact the thatch in the grass box
- To help growth apply a top dressing (lawn sand, fertiliser and fine loam) which can be spread using the back of a garden rake
The use of fertilisers or moss killers is not our area of expertise and information on these is best obtained from a horticulturalist at your local garden centre.