Green care: Scarify the lawn correctly - and when is the perfect time

It is the showpiece of many plots and a figurehead for many of the almost one million hobby gardeners in Germany: the lawn.

Green care: Scarify the lawn correctly - and when is the perfect time

It is the showpiece of many plots and a figurehead for many of the almost one million hobby gardeners in Germany: the lawn. And if you want to shine with an accurate and resilient green in the summer, you should invest a lot of time and sweat in the spring. The magic word is “scarifying”. This comes from English and means nothing other than “vertical cut”. Read here why the sacred lawn - or rather the turf - should be scarified in spring, which devices make the work easier and what is important.

Experienced allotment gardeners prefer early spring to scarify their lawns. Families in particular should follow this advice. The lawn needs a few days to recover from the cuts in the turf. He doesn't get this time in the summer when kids and children are running around on the meadow. In addition, soil and lawn are particularly capable of regeneration in spring. Depending on the temperatures, March and April are the best months for scarifying your lawn. The stalks cope best at temperatures between eight and 20 degrees. If you don't have the time in spring, you can switch to the summer months of May and June - but you should then give your lawn a little more time to recover. In this case, the morning or evening hours are ideal for this. There is a scarifier with a working width of 35 centimeters. Important: If the soil is moist, it should not be scarified if possible. In the days after scarifying, regular watering helps the lawn to regenerate optimally.

As is so often the case, when it comes to scarifying the lawn, preparation is everything. Before you tackle the meadow with the scarifier, the grass should be fertilized heavily in March. It strengthens the green, which should then be trimmed with the lawnmower to a length of approx. four centimeters. Two weeks later, when the blades have grown for the first time in the gardening year, mowing the lawn is on the calendar again - this time to around three centimeters - the lowest cutting height for most mowers. As soon as the briefly shaved area is completely dry, scarifying can begin.

Like us humans, the billions of blades of grass in the allotment gardens also need enough air to breathe. Moss and thatch, which mainly form on air-poor clay soils, inhibit the aeration of the lawn and thus also its growth. Weeds are also a sure indicator that the lawn roots are not being supplied with enough oxygen. And this is exactly where the scarifier comes into play.

In itself, scarifying your own lawn is no big deal - even newbie gardeners can do it with a little practice. But regardless of whether the lawn is being worked on with an electric scarifier or a cordless scarifier: the ground should not be slashed, i.e. scratched too deeply. This has two disadvantages. On the one hand, it damages the grass roots. Secondly, the scarifier wears out much more quickly. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that the scarifier's blades score the turf no more than two to three millimeters deep. How deep the knives should penetrate into the ground can be adjusted on the devices. In addition, when scarifying, you should move evenly lengthways and once across the area - and not stay in one place on the lawn for too long in order to put as little strain on the turf as possible.

Like many other types of gardening, sweat flows when scarifying. Especially if you use it as a little outdoor training and leave the Scheppach electric scarifier in the shed for a change. Basically, the same rules apply to manually combing out the lawn. Temperatures of at least ten degrees and a surface that is as dry as possible – then you can get started. Instead of rotating blade rollers, hand or pendulum scarifiers work on the lawn with steel blades that are installed on an axle in a slightly oscillating manner. In some models, wheels make the somewhat laborious work easier (here's a rolling model from Gardena). Depending on how much pressure is exerted on the device, the blades penetrate the turf to different depths and loosen the thatch. The same applies here: the more moss has spread on the lawn, the more pressure the scarifier needs. In contrast to motorized scarifiers, manual devices are pulled through the turf. Also, don't forget to take breaks every now and then. Not just to breathe deeply, but above all to remove the clippings. You should also allow significantly more time for scarifying by hand. So-called nail shoes require a little less fitness. They are strapped with straps under work shoes that are as sturdy as possible. The nails press holes into the lawn, ensuring even ventilation.

At least as important as scarifying itself is caring for the lawn afterwards. If the motorized scarifier does not have a collecting container, the loosened moss and thatch must first be thoroughly collected with a rake or fan broom. Bare areas are generously sprinkled with fresh grass seeds so that the green can grow back thickly and vigorously.

Sources:  Federal Association of German Garden Friends; “”; ""

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