what is a lawn scarifier

A beautiful, lush lawn that the entire street envies doesn’t just happen. It takes time, effort, and the help of equipment such as a lawn scarifier. But what is a lawn scarifier? Read on to learn more about scarifying, how to do it, when to get started, and the different types.

Types of Lawn Scarifiers

A lawn scarifier also called a dethatcher, is a garden tool with metal blades designed to cut deep into your lawn, helping remove dead moss, dead grass, thatch, weeds, and other matter. This thatch, cuttings, and other things on the surface have devastating effects, causing sogginess and unsightly dead or yellow patches. Two main types of lawn scarifiers available can help remove such unwanted debris.

Manual Lawn Scarifier

These scarifiers can be used on large lawns, but you’ll have to do some hard work. That’s because brute force is needed to rip through any thatch and go through the upper layer of roots and the top layer of soil. With such effort required, we wouldn’t recommend using it in a large area unless you enjoy a workout.

On the other hand, if you have a small lawn, it will do a satisfactory job of clearing it. You can choose from two different versions of manual lawn scarifiers.

Like a Roller

There are manual scarifiers that resemble a roller with knife blades. These require that you push up and down on the soil while moving it forward through your lawn.

Like a Graden Rake

There are also manual scarifiers that resemble a garden rake, except their edges are sharper than a standard rake. This type of scarifier is not easy to use. You have to pull it up and down and forward and back across your entire lawn. It requires a significant amount of strength to get into the thatch and use it effectively.

Motorised Lawn Scarifier

To save yourself from all the hard work that comes with manual scarifiers, you can opt for a motorised scarifier. With a motorised scarifier, all you need to do is run it over your lawn in a similar fashion as you would most lawn mowers.

Electric Scarifiers

These scarifiers can be further classified as cordless and corded. Cordless models use a battery pack for power. Often, they are lightweight but can only be used for a limited amount of time before needing to recharge. Corded models can be used as long as it is plugged into the mains. On the other hand, They only offer a limited reach unlead you use an extension lead.

Petrol Scarifiers

These petrol models are high-powered but are often noisy to use.

What Is a Lawn Scarifier Used For?

When thatch, cuttings, leaves, and other products sit on the lawn, they block out the light and air. They also prevent water and nutrients from reaching the ground, depriving the roots of these much-needed essentials. Most of the water remains on the lawn’s surface instead of getting into the soil.

The result is a soggy lawn with dead grass or yellow patches. And sadly, when there’s excess moisture, it causes more moss to build up.

With the help of scarifying, you cut through, break up, and eliminate any moss, cuttings, or thatch on the grass. It will allow light and air to reach the grass plants and allow water, nitrogen, and other nutrients to penetrate the soil deep into the roots, enabling your lawn to thrive.

Therefore, the cutting action of the blades is also vital in helping get air to the soil and making it weed-free, making it healthier and long-lasting.

If you’re scarifying for the first time, you may notice that most of the green gets ripped out by the scarifier blades, but don’t be alarmed because this green is usually thatch or moss.

Ripping out is a good thing as it will benefit your lawn in the long run. You can compensate for the lost green by spreading some grass seeds on top of your yard after scarifying it.

When to Use a Lawn Scarifier

What determines the best time for scarification is your location and the weather.


Scarify your lawn when the turf growth is at its peak, typically in autumn or towards the end of spring. Scarifying during this period will provide the grass with a chance to recover and grow back.


And when it comes to the frequency, once a year is enough, although if your lawn is in terrible condition with too much moss and thatch, it’s okay to do it more often.


It’s also vital to only scarify when the weather is ideal. There should be sunshine and some rain. Otherwise, scarify during heavy rain or when it’s too dry, and you risk causing more harm than good. The grass will take a very long time to grow back.

Just remember to exercise caution, as scarifying your lawn is a process that can take its toll on the grass and the roots and the weeds and thatch you want to remove.


How to Use a Lawn Scarifier

Let’s now take a look at a few tips on how you can get the best out of your new garden equipment.

Step 1: Get Rid Of Any Debris and Apply a Moss Killer

A few weeks before using your lawn scarifier, first, check for any debris or live moss on your lawn and get rid of it immediately.

Get yourself a quality moss killer and spread it over your lawn, strictly following all the instructions. This step is crucial as you wouldn’t want to spread the airborne spores of living moss to every corner of your lawn when you scarify, activating a moss epidemic.

Step 2: Mow the Lawn on a Low Setting

The next step is to use your lawn mower. Do so on a dry day and only when you’re sure all the moss has died. You’ll know it’s dead when it’s black, brown, or dry.

Mowing before you scarify ensures you collect the cuttings simultaneously after completing your job, giving it no time to cause any harm.

Step 3: Scarify the Lawn on a High Setting

With the equipment on a high setting, go over your garden a few times. You will then do this again at angles, this time ensuring you reduce the settings at every pass.

Step 4: Apply Top Soil and Grass Seed to Finish

Sometimes, your lawn may look tired after scarifying, in which case you can spread some grass seed.

Next, do some overseeding. Cover the seed bed with some fine topsoil mixed with fine compost to protect them as they germinate.

Add a general fertiliser to help your plants recover faster. In a week or so, you’ll be surprised at the growth.

Remember that immediately after scarifying, your lawn won’t look its best. However, your grass will thank you, and once it recovers, it’ll look great.

Have a Healthy Lawn

What is a lawn scarifier? It is a garden tool that cuts deep into the soil to remove moss, thatch and unwanted matter from lawns. Now that you also know when to use a scarifier, how to use it, and the different types available, it’s time to use it. Go ahead and scarify your lawn to give it a boost, and watch it grow healthy and lush.

Have you used a scarifier before? Are you planning on scarifying your lawn? Let us know in the comments below.

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