In the first of a several part blog that we are writing, we will explain some of the terms that are often used in lawncare service leaflets and by contractors but many of you out there may not actually understand what they mean!
Lets start with a term you will very commonly see called - SCARIFYING.
So what does this word mean?
The Oxford English Dictionary helps us by explaining the term thus: Scarifying is to cut and remove debris from (a lawn) with a scarifier.
So basically scarifying is the process of removing debris (be this moss, thatch (more on that in another post) or dead grass) from the lawn using a tool, be this manual or powered.
Okay, you say, so now I understand what the word means, but WHY would this be done?
Quite simply in our opinion, scarifying regularly is the cornerstone of a good lawncare regime.
The vast majority of lawns will suffer from a buildup of either moss or thatch or both.
As with all plants, grass needs air, water and nutrients to grow.
Thatch and moss can choke the grass off ALL of these as well as making you lawn look sickly, feel spongy or be difficult to mow.
Removing this buildup helps light, nutrients and water reach the roots of the grass, where it is needed for optimum, healthy growth.
Again, you say, now I understand WHY this would be done, HOW is it done?
Generally speaking, scarifying is carried out with a powered machine, be it electrically or fuel powered. These will generally have a reel of steel blades (in the case of some domestic 'lawnrakers' springs are used intead - nowhere near as effective though!), these literally slice through the buildup in the lawn and throw it out of the front or rear of the machine, either onto the floor or into a collection box. Smaller parts of lawns or more awkward areas may require a springtine rake or hand scarifer to get to the bits that the machine can't, especially near the edges of the lawn or around obstacles such as paving slabs or trees.
There will be a LOT of waste removed, far, far more than you are likely to think!
How do I obtain a scarifying machine?
These machines are available to hire or buy from most good garden machinery stores - however - it is very, very easy to completely destroy a lawn with a scarifier if you are not familiar with all its adjustments, operating characteristics etc.
A good machine can involve outlay of hundreds of pounds on a machine that may only be used anually and will likely not start when needed after a winter in the garage!
Perhaps this is one situation when its best to employ a grass care professional instead of purchasing your own machine.
Do I need to do anything before or after I scarify my lawn and when is best to do it?
If you are scarifying your lawn to remove thatch only, cut the lawn quite short before scarifying as this will help minise the 'tugging' action of the scarifier machine at the grass plant roots and help only remove the rubbish that you are trying to target.
If you are scarifying to remove moss, then it is strongly recommended to apply a moss killer such as lawn sand or sulphate of iron approx 14 days before scarifying to kill off the moss before you try to remove it with the scarifier machine. In more severe cases, it may be necessary and indeed desirable to remove the bulk of the moss with the machine before using these products to treat anything remaining.
It must be noted that all moss killer products should be used with extreme care as they will leave stains on paving etc that cannot be easily removed.
We strongly recommend fertilizer application following scarifying to help the grass recover faster.
Overseeding may be necessary to rebuild any particularly bare patches of the lawn.
The best time to scarify is Spring or Autumn - but don't do it in the depths of winter, or when there is frost or snow forecast (no matter what certain franchised lawn care businesses may tell you about this being acceptable practise!) and certainly don't carry it out in the middle of summer as your lawn will likely turn brown and die due to heat stress.
After reading all this, you don't feel like scarifying your own lawn is a task that you can confidently undertake yourself?
Here at South Lincs Grass Care, we service a wide area from our base near Spalding, Lincs and have a selection of different scarifying machines to suit all requirements from small models for domestic lawns upto a 1.2 metre wide, tractor mounted model for large lawns, pitches and amenity areas.
Being licensed waste carriers, we can dispose of all of the thatch, moss and rubbish that our powerful machines and trained operators will remove from your lawn and advise of the best ways our service can enhance and maintain your revitalised lawn using products not available to the general public - we can also advise on and provide solutions to any drainage issues, weed problems or other lawn issues too.
Call us today on 07745 247488 or 01775 830250, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or see our website www.anpservicesspalding.com
'South Lincs Grass Care - for all aspects of professional grasscare'
South Lincs Grass Care is a trading name of ANP Services Spalding Limited.