What is scarification for?
Scarification is quite simply the process of removing organic matter from the lawn. It plays an important role in the maintenance of a modern domestic lawn and is a service offered by nearly all professional lawn care companies. Reasons for scarifying can vary. Generally, it is used for thatch and moss removal from lawns but it can also be used when renovating a lawn that is in poor condition. How often you recommend a scarification to your customer depends on the lawn and your customer but generally, scarifications are carried out every 1 or 2 years.
It is not a good idea to carry out scarifications in the winter as the grass will not be able to grow back quickly enough, leaving the lawn open to moss and weed growth. It is also not ideal for summer treatments at the dry weather conditions will prevent the lawn from recovering and add to the lawn’s stress levels.
So that leaves us two seasons in which scarification can be done, spring and autumn. Which of these two is best and why?
Scarifying in spring
Spring is a great time to scarify because it’s warm, wet and sunny; perfect growing conditions for lawns! Any lawn scarified in the spring (March/April onwards) will recover very quickly and any new seedlings will have the rest of the year to establish before the winter. Unfortunately, spring is also the perfect time for weed seeds to germinate; the recovering lawn will have to compete with these and weed treatments may be necessary down the line.
It is best not to start scarifications until the lawn has started growing again, this will minimise the time it takes to recover from the process. Applying a spring fertiliser treatment such as Ultimate 22-5-10 +2.5%MgO 50%XCU® after scarification in the spring is ideal; the extra nitrogen will encourage the existing grass plants to tiller (send out side-shoots) and thicken the lawn.
Scarifying in autumn
Autumn is also a great time to scarify as it’s usually still warm, wet and sunny enough for the lawn to recover before the winter. Weeds are less likely to germinate and survive the winter when scarification is done in the autumn meaning that the lawn will have fewer weeds in the long-term. Autumn is also the perfect opportunity to clear away thatch in the lawn that can encourage fungal diseases during the colder periods. If you are worried about causing too much disease-prone soft growth in the autumn, a medium-level nitrogen fertiliser such as AutumnGreen 10-5-10 +3%MgO 50%XCU® is a good option for use application after scarification.
When carrying out scarifications in the autumn, beware of shady areas and spaces under trees that may not recover in time due to lack of light. Similarly, if you have to put off your autumn scarifications because of the weather or another reason, then you may find it best to wait until spring to scarify instead. If these areas have not recovered in time they may suffer from moss growth during the winter.
There may be no right answer!
There may be no set time for scarification or any other lawn treatment, the best results will always be obtained by taking the individual characteristics of each lawn into account. What is the weather like in your area? Is the lawn very shady? How is the soil quality affecting the lawn? Offering a programme that is bespoke to each lawn is surely the best way to achieve great results and happy long-lasting customers.
If you would like to discuss any of the products mentioned above or have a question about your current treatment programme please get in touch! Call us on 01963 364788. Subscribe to our mailing list to