What is Scarifying and Why Should I Do It?

I assume that if you are reading this you are interested in lawns. Whether it’s a beautifully striped outside carpet, the kids football pitch or merely a way of filling up that awkward space in the garden, the lawn is a highly popular British obsession and on any given Sunday you will see people of all ages, classes, genders and horticultural; persuasions out enjoying, tending and mowing their lawns.

If you read Dick’s blog yesterday, regarding the Einhell GE-SC 35LI Power X-Change Cordless Scarifier, you’ll be aware that we are now moving into the phase of the year when really looking after your lawn can start in earnest. Hooray! I hear you shout, at last I can divest myself of this woolly hat my mum gave me for Christmas and put on my short-sleeved Spiderman tee shirt…. well maybe not just yet but I’ve seen something resembling sun and blue skies this week, and I’m sure you have too so let’s take that leap of faith and think about how to look after our lawns once spring has properly moved in, put it’s toothbrush in the bathroom and started to hog the remote

So. Scarifying? What is that? Isn’t mowing enough? Well… er… no! If you have a lawn that your are proud of and want to keep it that way the chances are it will need scarifying at some stage, particularly if is an ornamental lawn that you really want to keep pristine.

Powerful Scarifier, scary low price einhell gc-sc 2240p-scarifier

But why? Why do you need to do anything other than the occasional trim?

The answer is thatch. It’s all about thatch. Not a jolly hockey sticks nickname for the Iron Lady but  the organic debris left in the lawn as part of the natural cycle of growth. The older shoots die and drop but, due to a substance they contain called ‘lignin’ they don’t rot, they just build up in the lawn as the new, strong and young shoots grow.

Once thatch gets to a thickness of more than around 0.6 to 1.30 cm (about a quarter of an inch to half an inch) it can become a serious menace, choking the growing shoots, stealing water and nutrients and preventing the lawn achieving its full potential. There may also be a percentage of interloping weeds and other pests in there. It will get spongy and springy. If your lawn feels more like a bouncy castle than a lawn, that’s bad thatch baby!

A scarifier – like the highly popular Einhell GC-SC 2240p pictured above – uses steel blades, usually on a roller, to penetrate the lawn at regular intervals and cut into and remove the thatch. In the process it will also allow more air and water in through the slits it creates, both freeing up the new shoots from the choking thatch and helping to nourish the grass.

How It Works (Featuring an Allett Scarifying Cartridge)

But Drew, I hear you cry, what sort of scarifier should I buy? Well firstly you could do worse than the Einhell GC-SE model I’ve already mentioned. It is a very good price at £299.95 that’s an impressive £200 saving on the RRP and is a MowDirect Exclusive and a Best Seller.

Cobra SE32Mains Electric Scarifier £119.99

But of course there are many, many types. From petrol powered professional machines to nifty little battery powered models like the Einhell GE-SC that Dick wrote about yesterday – the only battery powered model on the market and another MowDirect exclusive. There are also scarifiers that can be towed by your lawn tractor to mains electric versions and even scarifying cartridges that can be fitted into a high-quality Allett Cylinder mower. 

Cordless: Einhell GE-SCLI Solo cordless scarifier EXCLUSIVE to MowDirect

There is a great range of scarifiers on these pages and they also feature dedicated aerators, designed to open up the lawn with holes or slits and let it breathe, as well as great value combi models that both aerate your lawn and remove thatch.

In terms of frequency, scarification should probably be carried out roughly every 5-6 weeks during the season, and one of the best times to scarify your lawn is in the late spring, so around mid April to the June (Not between June and August) ) and in September to October, a very good time to do it.

Do not scarify at the wrong time or attempt to do it all year round or during the Winter. You could permanently damage your lawn

Make sure you scarify during the right conditions, working when it is not too dry or too wet. Do not be surprised if your lawn looks worse after you first scarify. This is normal and it will settle.

And don’t be shocked. You will be amazed at the amount of organic debris that your scarifier will pull up!

So if you really care about your lawn and you want it to stay fit as a butcher’s dog, get yourself a scarifier. Like this happy customer, the only thing you’ll regret is that you didn’t do it earlier…

“Build quality is excellent as advertised. Wish I had bought one years ago.”

If you need more advice, give one of our friendly product advisers  a call on 0345 4588 905. Enjoy your lawn.     Drew Hardy.

* Einhell GC-SC 2240P Petrol Lawn Scarifier

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Drew Hardy

Freelance Writer at Mowdirect
A keen allotmenteer with an interest in all things horticultural, Drew has a varied writing background with experience in a number of fields including garden machinery, lawn care and compost. His first experience with gardening was a cultivating a small plot he was given by his house master at school. He grew a decent crop of radishes and lettuce and sold them to a local shop, exhibiting his first, and last, sign of an entrepreneurial spark. Drew lives in North London with his wife, two children and a slightly bonkers cat
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