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Scarifying – the secret to a perfect lawn

Countax Powered Scarifier

Ask lawn experts to give you their ‘top tip’ for a healthy, green lawn and often they will cite scarification. But what is scarification and why is it necessary?

Why do I need to scarify my lawn?

One of the main reasons for a yellowing, spongy, patchy lawn is thatch. Living and dead stems, roots, rhizomes and stolons from the grass plant build up a thick intermingling layer between the grass tops and the soil. This inhibits the plant’s ability to absorb water, nutrients and air at the roots. Your lawn can become prone to disease and insect damage and is much less responsive to fertilizers and requires heavier watering to keep it alive. Thick, sodden thatch can provide the perfect growing conditions for moss. If left untreated thatch can kill large patches of your lawn.

Why does thatch accumulate?

During the main growing season, the grass plants are growing faster than the old grass stems are decomposing. This new growth pushes up through the layer of old stems creating a mat of thatch. With arguably the best collection system, the Powered Grass Collector sweeps the grass when mowing and, by itself, actually reduces thatch. However, even with regular use of a PGC, thatch still builds up from the natural decomposition of the plants, and scarifying is required at least twice a year.

How does the scarifier work?

The Westwood Powered Scarifier has specially designed tines that rotate at high speed (driven from the tractor’s power take-off) teasing the thatch and moss from the bed of your lawn. The angle and shape of the blades ensure that healthy grass plants are left intact, whilst unwanted material is thrown up to the surface of the lawn ready for collection. The scarifying tines also gently disturb the soil surface allowing oxygen to the roots of the plants and help reduce lawn compaction. Collection of the material could not be easier with a Westwood Powered Grass Collector. Driven from the tractor’s PTO, it effortlessly sweeps up waste ready for emptying into the compost heap.

A single pass with a Westwood Scarifier is often enough to complete the job and bring a thick layer of thatch to the surface of your lawn.

What results can I expect?

Immediately after scarification has taken place, the grass can look bare and scalped, this simply illustrates the damage that the thatch had caused to the healthy shoots. After a short period, with the grass receiving the required moisture, oxygen and nutrients, the lawn grows back thicker, healthier and greener with reduced moss and weeds.

Regular aeration with an aerator, slitter or spiker will further ensure that compaction is reduced and oxygen levels maintained.