The scarification process seems very simple, especially with an automatic device that does all the work for you. However, it requires several stages of preparation, which significantly influence the result obtained. Before starting the scarifier, find out what steps you must follow for your lawn to look impeccable.
The scarifier helps you gather dry grass, moss and weeds from the surface of the ground and aerate the soil to better capture water in the soil and help the lawn to grow. It includes an axis with thin knives, which have the role of “brushing” the soil, without digging deep, but penetrating enough to loosen the upper layers and prepare them for sowing. It is a device with a simple structure, easy to use, but very useful for those who want to properly maintain the garden. Here’s how to use it in a few easy steps.
When you need scarification
This lawn maintenance process is especially necessary in cases where the soil is compact, either because of its structure or due to heavy traffic or the combination of soil and rubble resulting from the construction of a house. A compact soil does not allow nutrients and oxygen to circulate easily and at the same time prevents the healthy development of roots and rhizomes.
By scarification, you increase the permeability of the soil that will support a more frequent and healthier lawn. In addition, an aerated soil is less conducive to weed development.
Set the period
The scarification of the land is done either in the spring, in March or April, or towards the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, in August or September — October, depending on the weather conditions. In general, the most favorable time interval for the development of the plants is followed, avoiding the warmest months of the year, when the vegetation stagnates. The process itself takes from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the surface you have to work, but the preparation must start a few weeks before, because scarification is preceded by several important steps.
Mow the grass
One of the roles of scarification is to free the soil from the layer of dry moss and plants that form over time and make it difficult for water to penetrate the soil. In order to perform its function as well as possible, before using this device, you must mow the grass to a sufficiently low height.
One to two weeks before, use a lawn mower or a mower to cut the vegetation at a level of 3–4 cm on the entire surface you want to cover with uniform grass.
The same function that makes lawn scarifiers ideal for maintaining these surfaces can stimulate weed development if you do not use this device properly. Because the blades can help spread the spores and seeds of moss and weeds when working, you need to make sure you remove them before using it. Although scarification itself helps remove weeds and thicken the lawn, you need to take extra steps before reaching this stage.
This is done with the help of the herbicide that you will have to apply before aeration. But be careful what formula you choose and how you disperse it, because it is a dangerous chemical for humans and animals. If you opt for a pre-emergent version, you will kill both the out-of-emergence plants and the seeds, and if you choose a post-emergent one, you will only eliminate the already grown vegetation. Don’t forget to look for a selective option if the lawn is already sown, because the non-selective ones will destroy the grass planted by you.
Water the lawn
And this stage must be approached carefully. Watering the lawn aims to ensure an optimal level of humidity so that the vegetation and soil recover as soon as possible after passing with the scarifier. But if the top layers are too rich in water, instead of just removing the dried plants, you will pull out healthy grass. So irrigate the land a few days before the planned date for scarification and wait for the soil to dry a little, if it is a rainy period.
First pass with the scarifier
Approach scarification similar to using a lawn mower, starting with the setting of the maximum height, which ensures an easy passage over the ground surface, for starters. Cover the entire surface by passing in a straight line along the lawn and making sure that the new segment you are working on overlaps by a few centimeters the one you completed, so as not to have gaps.
If you are a beginner and do not know exactly what level to set the knives, test on a corner of the lawn. It starts at the level where the blades barely touch the ground and continues to lower them slowly until it starts to break from the layer of dry vegetation, without tearing pieces of soil.
The second pass
The second passage is made at a lower height than the first, allowing the knives to penetrate a little deeper. The layer of dry grass, mosses and old tangled roots has already been weakened by now, so it will be easier to take.
For the best possible efficiency, it is recommended to change the crossing angle. This time it starts at 45 degrees from the previous direction of travel, which means on the diagonal of the lawn. Be sure to gather all the debris released by the scarifier and change the grass basket whenever needed.
Spring scarification usually includes two or three passes. If you have decided to aerate the ground in the fall, you will need 4–5 passes, with lower settings, to free the soil completely from the layer of dry vegetation and loosen it properly.
The last pass
The last pass prepares the ground for sowing. This time set the knives so that they penetrate up to about 0.5 cm into the ground, to allow the creation of a suitable space for seeds.
Scarification of the lawn often produces gaps or areas with rarer grass in which to intervene. Fortunately, this process also prepares the soil for sowing, so all you have to do is spread the seeds in areas that need supplementation.