Best time to scarify your lawn – five things you should do to avoid damaging it

Homebase offers advice for preparing your lawn in March

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Spring is a busy time for lawns across the UK as the warmer weather encourages new growth to emerge. Scarifying your lawn is the best way to clear the grass of unwanted matter and grow healthy grass, but timing is crucial to get the best results. reveals the best time to scarify your lawn and how to avoid damaging it in the process.

When is the best time to scarify your lawn?

Scarifying is done to remove naturally occurring thatch which gathers on the surface of garden lawns.

This vigorous process is crucial to keep your lawn stocked up on essential nutrients, and works by clearing a passage from the surface to the roots, so that oxygen, water and fertiliser can feed the grass.

Scarification should be done while the grass is actively growing to restore the luscious green blades as they grow, but is March really the right time to do it?

While March is generally a good time to remove the thick layers of thatch on your lawn, you should always consider the weather before going in with your rake.

The ideal weather conditions for scarifying will be found on a mild spring or early-autumn day, so late March and early October are often the best times to overhaul your lawn.

Keep an eye on the temperature – if it is too hot or too cold the grass will struggle to recover from the harsh scarifying process.

You should also avoid scarifying during extremely dry or wet periods as this could also prevent fresh growth from appearing.

According to Lawnsmith, the best time to scarify is when the weather offers a mixture of warmth – grass that is moderately moist underneath but dry to the touch is ideal.

How to scarify your lawn in March

If your lawn has a slightly yellow tinge or is looking worse for wear after winter, it’s a good time to break out the scarifier.

While scarifying your lawn in March, it is best to use a manual tool or a springbok rake to give the grass a more gentle treatment as the new growth continues to emerge.

To manually scarify your lawn, you should:

  • Remove weeds first
  • Vigorously rake/ roll the tool over the top of your lawn in long strips to lift the surface thatch
  • Change direction and work the opposite way (width or length) to where you started
  • Add the thatch to your compost heap to enrich your garden soil
  • Leave your lawn for a few days to settle before adding a fertiliser

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How to scarify your lawn without damaging it

While timing is the most important part of scarifying your lawn, there are also a number of important tips and tricks which will give your grass a boost as it begins to grow back.

Mow your lawn

You should mow your lawn at least one week before scarifying to prepare the grass for its spring overhaul.

Use your mower on a high setting to remove excess growth and dice up any thatch patches.

This will give you a head start and make the scarification process easier when you come to tackling your busy lawn.

Apply a moss killer

While scarification is perfect for removing moss growth within your lawn, it won’t hurt to apply a moss-killing treatment before you make a start.

Apply a commercial moss killer to your lawn at least one week before scarifying to prevent it from spreading further as you remove thatch from the surface of your grass.

Water your grass

Giving your grass a good feed during drier spells is recommended to feed your grass ahead of the scarification process.

Always do this a few days before you tend to your lawn so the grass has time to dry off.

If you are experiencing heavy rainfall in your garden, you should delay scarifying until a few days after the rain has passed.

Stick to the 5mm rule

Raking too deep into your lawn could cause long term damage or prolong the recovery period of your grass.

Stick to a depth of 5mm when scarifying your garden lawn.

Aerate your lawn

After care is crucial to stimulate regrowth on your lawn, so it’s with aerating the soil a few days after scarifying.

This simple process allows air and water to reach the soil and keep it loose enough to grow while harbouring essential nutrients.

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