More often than not it's only after noticing that your lawn is full of moss that you decide to scarify but actually by doing this at least once a year you can help prevent even reaching this stage. Regularly scarifying your lawn can help to prevent a build up of moss, thatch and weeds. Doing this also helps to thicken up your lawn, reviving the shoots and stolons.
When to Scarify
The best times to scarify are in the Spring and the Autumn, either is fine or both is you're really eager. The Spring is generally best for a heavy scarify as the recovery rate is better than if you do it in Autumn where you could potentially have a muddy mess for many months until the growing season kicks back in. If scarifying in the Autumn then it's probably best to do it a bit lighter. March/April and/or September/October are the best months to do this treatment although if it's especially mild early in the year then you could scarify the but you do need to be careful with the cold and frost around.
How Often to Scarify
It's entirely down to the quality of the lawn. Some do it every two or three years but doing this will more often result in the need for deeper, heavier scarifying which may necessitate the need for over-seeding and top dressing. Doing it once a year, following the little and often theory, will produce better results and will keep the lawn in much better condition as you'll be in much better control of the thatch layer and of course any moss in the lawn.
How to Scarify
I generally find it best to have two passes on the lawn, a third or fourth if it's especially bad, is more than enough. Scarifying in a different direction to that which you would normally mow in will help and then working across that at a 45 degree angle will get out the majority of moss and thatch. If you choose to do use a pedestrian machine to do this then take care to make sure you set it up correctly. Usually allowing the blade to touch an eighth of an inch of earth will give enough lift to the thatch and moss to get it out. To collect whats been gathered up by the scarifier then simple use a rake or blow into a pile and bag or bin. The collection can be used in your compost heap although it will take a while to break down.
Follow up Feed and Seed
I'd always recommend putting down some feed straight after the scarifying as this will reintroduce the nutrients the ground needs for speedy recovery. Adding in some seed and a light top dressing in the worst affected patches will also help to thicken the lawn but be careful not to introduce too many new grass seed varieties or your lawn will look like a patchwork quilt.
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