Should I Cut My Lawn Before Scarifying?
Scarifying is an essential lawn care practice that involves removing the layer of dead grass and thatch that accumulates in your lawn over time. But did you know that cutting your lawn low before scarifying can significantly enhance the effectiveness of the process?
Thorough Thatch Removal
Thatch is a layer of dead grass, moss and other organic debris that accumulates between the soil and the grass. A small amount of thatch (say half an inch) can be beneficial as it helps retain moisture and provides insulation to the grass roots. However, excessive thatch can hinder water, air and nutrient absorption leading to a weaker, less resilient lawn. In wet conditions like we are having now you may experience your lawn is holding water- this is because no water is soaking through the thatch layer into the soil.In dry conditions you will notice your lawn is extremely dry and starting to suffer- no water is getting through the thatch layer to your grass roots.
When you cut your grass low before scarifying you expose more of the thatch layer allowing the scarifier's tines to penetrate and remove it more effectively. This thorough removal of thatch ensures that your lawn can breathe freely, absorb nutrients more efficiently and therefore encourages healthier root growth. If you were to scarify with long grass you would be scarifying through the grass before you even reached the thatch layer. Your mower would be sat on top of the grass.
A healthy lawn requires a well-balanced supply of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. When your lawn is choked with thatch nutrients may struggle to reach the roots effectively leading to nutrient deficiencies and weak grass growth.
What tools can I use from Allett to scarify?
Allett Scarifier Cartridge- Gentle cartridge
The Scarifier cartridge is Allett’s most popular cultivation cartridge and is designed to remove thatch, surface debris and dead moss. This cartridge also helps lift lateral growth upright before mowing.
The scarifier has a custom design helps to keep your lawn surface healthy and disease-free, by allowing air and water to penetrate the soil surface. This cartridge is designed with replaceable rotating tines that pull out the dead grass and moss to enable the passage of nutrients into the soil with ease.
The rotating spring tines are relatively gentle on the lawn and this cartridge can be used most of the year without fear of damage to keep on top of thatch levels as well as being useful to collect up leaves during the autumn. The use of the spring tine allows for safe cultivation where tree roots may be close to the surface. This is the best cartridge for beginners to turf cultivation as it is unlikely to cause damage if set too deeply but will give great results if used regularly.
This cartridge picks up leaves, pine needles and pine cones really well.
We suggest scarifying once a month during the mowing season to keep on top of thatch levels- you will be surprised just how much thatch builds up!
Dethatcher Cartridge- Aggressive cartridge
Boasting wider spaced, thicker tines the Dethatcher is the most aggressive cartridge and penetrates the soil to a maximum depth of -6mm. For lawns in serious disarray, the Dethatcher removes the densest layers of thatch effectively. You would use this cartridge if your lawn was uncared for and you wanted to get all the thatch out aggressively or if you decide you don't want to (or have the time) to scarify monthly with the Scarifier cartridge. This is not a cartridge you would use monthly during the season as it is far too aggressive.
Find the 17'' Dethatcher here - other sizes available (14,17 and 20'')
To conclude: Yes you should be cutting your lawn low before scarifying. More so if you are scarifying aggressively ahead of reseeding but it will also make your scarifying process more effective throughout the season. Remember you are only cutting a third of the grass plant off at any one time. You should then cut your lawn AFTER scarifying to cut all the lateral growth/stragglers your cartridge has pulled up.