Scarifying a lawn

Find out how to scarify your lawn, in this No Fuss Guide with Alan Titchmarsh.

Scarifying twice a year breathes life into otherwise tired lawns. Discover the benefits of scarifying and how to do it, in our No Fuss Guide to scarifying lawns, with Alan Titchmarsh.

Scarifying a lawn: transcript

You know, as a nation, we are rotten to our lawns. We play on them all summer, non-league games of football; we park furniture on them; and then when they start to grow, we cut them off. We’re really unkind. We expect so much of them for so little return, but in spring and autumn, there is one really good job you can be doing
and that’s this. It has several effects. One, it will get you the most ferocious six pack without having to go to the gym. The other, is it’s letting in light and air to your lawn and getting rid of moss, which you don’t want down there, and dead grass or thatch.

Just look at what’s come out of basically half a square metre here. All this is useless stuff and it can go straight on the compost heap and do a bit of good. And what you will find then is that it gets a new lease of life. You’re in a way pumping energy into your lawn. By taking all this rubbish which it doesn’t need, out of it. Now, there is one drawback here and that is you do need a bit of energy if you’re using one of these, which is a wire toothed, sometimes known as a springbok rake. It’s quite springy, much easier to take this grass out than a normal rake.

If you just haven’t got the energy for that, or you’re getting on in years, you can get a mechanical lawn scarifier, lawn raker, like this. This one is electric powered. You can also get petrol driven if you’ve got to do it some way from the house. And underneath it, it has this cylinder which has got metal spikes on it and also these spring tines. So as well as ripping out that moss, dead grass and thatch, it will also slice into the top of the turf, improve surface drainage and generally leave it in better fettle. And all that stuff that’s coming out goes into here, into this bag, and again, that can go into the compost heap, so it’s not wasted. So whether you do it by hand with a wire tooth rake or with a mechanical lawn raker like this, it really is worth doing in spring and autumn if you feel like it. If you can only do it once a year, do it in autumn. Must get on – large lawn!

Inspired by Alan’s tutorial? Our experts have tested a range of manual and powered aerators and scarifiers – check out the best scarifiers and best aerators reviews.