Scarifying your lawn: Your questions answered

Dead grass and other debris builds up around grass roots over time. The solution to this is scarifying your lawn, which will help a new turf lawn to stay at its best in future years.

What is a scarifier?

A scarifier is a device that looks like a manual or powered lawnmower. It is used to remove dead growth (thatch) from around the roots of grass.

What does a scarifier do?

The blades of the scarifier penetrate the packed-down thatch, lifting it away from the grass roots to allow full and healthy growth.

When to scarify

Scarify your lawn during periods of strong growth, typically late spring (April-May) and autumn (September) for the best results. Check our Lawn Care Calendar to plan in the best times to scarify, as well as other important lawn care routines throughout the year.

How often can I scarify my lawn?

Many people scarify every 2-3 years but lawn experts suggest scarifying every year to prevent thatch build-up rather than removing it later.

Do you cut grass before scarifying?

Yes. Mowing the lawn before scarifying removes the top layers of grass and debris, making it easier for the scarifier to penetrate and lift out the thatch.

How to use a manual lawn scarifier

Some people use a rake but far more effective is a manual lawn scarifier with rotating vertical blades and wheels.

Make repeated light runs over your lawn to tease out progressively deeper thatch, for the best results without damaging your grass.

How to scarify a lawn with a machine

Electric scarifiers and petrol-driven scarifiers make light work of the job, but again it’s better to do multiple light runs, lowering the blades a little deeper into the thatch each time.

How to replace scarifier tines

Automatic scarifiers usually have the option to replace the scarifier tines when they are no longer sharp.

Find the mechanism to remove the roller from the scarifier, slide the old tines off the roller and replace with new ones, then reassemble and you’re good to go!

What to do after scarifying the lawn

After scarifying the lawn, it’s time to help the grass recover. You may want to add some grass seed to thinner patches and tackle any remaining moss with ferrous sulphate based moss killer.

What to put on a lawn after scarifying

  • Ferrous sulphate moss killer if needed.
  • Grass seed in patchy areas.
  • Iron-based potassium fertiliser after seeding.

How much does it cost to scarify a lawn?

A simple manual scarifier costs as little as £20-30 while electric and petrol-driven scarifiers are around the price of a lawnmower.

If your lawn is badly damaged by thatch, the cost of scarifying, reseeding and fertilising could add up and you might want to consider laying a new turf lawn as a quick fix instead.