The winter season puts every lawn to the test. Skilful scarifying contributes significantly to regeneration. The right time is just as important as the technical execution. This is how you achieve the optimal care effect for a lush green lawn carpet.
What is the definition of scarifying?
The term ‘scarifying’ comes from England, the motherland of the perfect lawn. It is a combination of the words ‘vertical’ and ‘to cut’. This describes a fundamental care measure in which moss, clover, weeds, and thatch are combed out of the lawn.
The aim of scarifying is that the grassroots can ‘breathe’ better, for which they thank you with lush growth.
Skilfully scarifying at the right time of year
During the cold season, snow pressure, frost, and permanent wetness affect the lawn. The dilemma reveals itself after the first mowing in March or April.
Instead of a lush green, velvety carpet of lawn, a matted, moss-covered stubble meadow appears. Now is the ideal time to scarify. This work is carried out either with electric or petrol-powered devices or with a manually operated rake.
On a motor-driven scarifier, several blades rotate about 3 cm (1.17 inches) apart to score the turf 3 to a maximum of 10 mm deep. In the process, all the greenery that has no place in a perfectly manicured lawn is plucked out. The scarifying rake works in a similar way, but with a noticeable trim-yourself effect. How to do it right:
- Mow the lawn for the first time when the stalks are 6-8 cm (2-3 inches) high
- Trim the grass surface down to 2-4 cm (0.7 – 1.5 inches)
- Now switch from the lawnmower to the scarifier
- Start with a combing depth of 3 mm
- Only increase the unit setting if all tangles are not being detected
- Work the lawn once in the longitudinal direction and once in the transverse direction
Walk on the lawn quickly without stopping. If a stop is unavoidable, switch off the scarifier immediately. If you decide to use the manual technique, the rake must not penetrate too deeply into the sod.
Otherwise, the roots will be damaged. At the end, the area is carefully cleaned of the combed-out weeds to prevent mold and rot.
This is how you recognize the ideal time
Spring is therefore the best time of year to give the lawn the revitalizing jump-start into the new season. However, the time frame is only roughly outlined. In order to determine the ideal time for this central care measure, experienced hobby gardeners pay attention to the following requirements:
- The ground is completely thawed
- Hard frost periods are no longer to be expected
- The lawn is not dried out, but slightly damp
- The weather is dry, with temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius (50-68 F)
The early bloomers give a visual indication of the ideal time for treating the lawn. When daffodils and other bulbs are in full bloom, the lawn starts to grow faster.
Scarifying should be completed by May at the latest if the lawn is used intensively. The area needs a few weeks to regenerate before the children’s birthday party or the first barbecue party of the summer.
What should be considered for the maximum care effect?
If the lawn is scarified in spring, this is also the right time of year for the supply of nutrients. For the experienced hobby gardener, scarifying and fertilizing are therefore inextricably linked. How to handle the aspects of care professionally:
- The lawn is fertilized at intervals of 1-2 weeks after scarifying
- Optionally apply a long-term fertilizer or fertilize organically
- In the following period, water repeatedly so that the fertilizer rains in completely
Prudent gardeners carry out a pH value test in advance. If a value below 6 is found here, the lawn is first whitewashed. After a waiting period of about 3 weeks, fertilizer is given, since the effects of both preparations cancel each other out.
When does autumnal scarifying make sense?
An intensively used lawn can certainly be scarified again at the beginning of September. At this point, garden life is coming to an end. In addition, a lawn freed from weeds and moss goes into the cold season. Winter wetness can drain off better, minimizing the risk of compaction. Ideally, the grass area then receives a potassium-rich winter fertilization to strengthen its resistance.