There is an appropriate time to do just about anything pertaining to maintaining your lawn. That is no less so for when to scarify.
You probably need to be aware that in the long run scarifying is extremely beneficial for your lawn. However, in the short run, it can be a very messy undertaking. You want to be sure you do it when you are supposed to. The immediate condition of your lawn after a scarifying is an eye sore for weeks, if not months. So performing the task at the right time allows the lawn to recover. And what are best for the lawn’s recovery are warmth, sun and rain. Not cold, heat or drought. In short, your lawn needs good growing conditions.
The best times to scarify are the spring and the fall. That means sometime in April, when the weather is turning warm, and late August or September, when the rains start, but before the cold arrives.
Fall is the best time to perform the heavy scarifying when there is heavy thatch or moss infestation. The process will seriously thin the lawn leaving soil exposed. This turns out to be an ideal moment to seed or overseed with new and improved grass seed. Moreover, the process of heavy scarifying at this time assists in avoiding the establishment of weed seeds. If this heavy work is performed in the spring, you will still have to contend with a weed problem.
There are also many reasons for performing the activity in the spring.
· It is better to scarify in the spring if you were unable to do it the previous fall due to bad weather. Don’t put it off. If you keep putting it off to just doing it in the fall, then you will have a bigger problem than just a few weeds.
· If your lawn is covered in shade it will thin over the winter and thicken from spring onward. So scarifying in fall makes things worse.
· If the area you intend to scarify is under trees, then the shade from the trees and the abundance of leaves in the fall will reduce grass health and vigor. However, in the spring –- late March through April –- the trees are bare permitting maximum sunlight on the lawn that will encourage good growth and maximum opportunity for new grass seed to get growing.
You need to plan ahead when scarifying. For example, the grass needs to be short and dry for the process. It is suggested that you bring the grass height down gradually over a week or two prior to the project. This prevents shocking the grass and permits air to penetrate deeper into the turf helping to dry the grass.
Remove weeds from your lawn a week before you scarify.
Make certain that the soil is moist. This will assure that the lawn will recover quickly after the scarifying. If there is too much moisture (causing the ground to be soft) or too little (causing the soil to be hard and dry) you should wait until after conditions improve. You can assist the conditions to improve or you should forego the project.
The day before you scarify mow the lawn as short as possible without scalping. Long grass causes resistance to the scarifier and results in more refuse to collect.
Scarify on a dry day when there is no dew on the grass. If the weather conditions cause you to postpone the project, keep the grass short until you get another chance.
(Next time: How to scarify)