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Which Type Of Lawn Scarifier?


Lawn Scarifier



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Moisture Meter Guide

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For the continual upkeep of your lawn, the moisture meter is an essential piece of equipment for monitoring the moisture levels of the soil, indicating how much watering your lawn requires. As well as the garden moisture meter, there are many other essential gardening tools you require to have your own little piece of paradise and beauty.

For those of you that take gardening and the upkeep of your lawn seriously the lawn scarifier is an essential piece of gardening equipment that you should have in your garden shed. The lawn scarifier is a tool that is used to remove any dead matter from your lawn such as moss and weeds as well as dead grass and leaves. Basically the scarifier is a raking machine that rakes your lawn more efficiently than using the conventional method of a garden rake.

This garden tool works by scratching through and between the grass on your lawn with specially adapted prongs that collect and remove any unwanted parts from your lawn whilst leaving the grass blades intact. Lawn scarifiers comes in a variety of different sizes and different styles. They range from small units that you simply roll through the grass up to large petrol powered versions that are used for large areas and do all the hard work themselves for you.


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A good quality version will be able to slice through the thatch without causing any long term or excessive damage. The thing with the petrol lawn scarifier is that they have a starting price range of about $400 and can rise in price up to several thousand dollars for the best versions used by professionals. The prices are not to be sneezed at and investing in one of these is perhaps not a viable option for you. If you are a homeowner taking care of your own lawn , then it’s likely you only have a need for the scarifier 2 times a year at most. This makes the investment in a petrol lawn scarifier not really viable. But don’t worry, you can still have the use of a petrol lawn scarifier for about $25 a day if you go down to your local tool hire business. Hiring is an excellent option as you do not have to worry about an initial huge investment, maintaining the machine or even having to replace it if it breaks down.


Hiring A Lawn Scarifier


When hiring a lawn scarifier always check the blades on the machine. They need to be sharp pointed and definitely not too rounded. Your lawn maybe quite bumpy in places and if this so then you want a machine that has swinging or flail like blades which will help reduce any damage. If it is moss that is the big problem with your lawn then you want a machine that can be fitted with wire tines. These are preferable to flail or swinging blades, but all can be used. And remember if your lawn is of top quality, then use nothing less than sharp fixed blades. The hire shop should keep all their hire machines in tip top condition, but it is always wise to spend a minute or so checking before you sign the hire papers and take the machine home with you. The hire place will also instruct you properly on how to use a lawn scarifier.


Buying A Scarifier


If hiring a lawn scarifier is not the path you wish to follow, and indeed you wish to purchase one of these machines, then follow the same criteria as when checking over a hire machine. Additionally you should be looking for a machine that has interchangeable cassettes, especially if you have both thatch and moss problems with your lawn. This is not a concern if you have an electric version as you can put a raking cassette in it and then all you will then need is to have a machine that has the proper scarifying blades. But there are many manufacturers out there all offering excellent machines and wanting your business. Good brand names such as John Deere are always a good place to begin your search for the lawn scarifier for you. But try to get the best machine that you can afford. It will pay you back eventually in the long run. And also don’t be afraid to check out the second hand market. You may get very lucky and strike gold , picking up a superb machine at a fraction of the cost.


Lawn Scarifier Alternatives


An alternative to the lawn scarifier is a scarifying cassette. Such lawn mower manufacturers as Qualcast and Atco manufacture scarifying cassettes for their cylinder lawn mowers. Though not the best scarifying piece of equipment, these scarifying cassettes are very good for such jobs as light raking and de-mossing the lawn. So if you decide to buy a cylinder mower, this is a way to get extra usage from your machine. It must be said that the cassette is no substitute for a proper lawn scarifier, but you will get a certain amount of good quality work done with it. It is definitely a cheaper option and well worth your consideration.

And finally there is the hand held lawn scarifier. These are more than adequate enough for small gardens and moss removal. They are also quite good rakes but it is you who is doing all the physical work. And of course it is not a good idea to even start to use one of these hand held on a large garden. You will be totally worn out and will probably need a couple of days to recuperate from your exertions.




Why Use A Scarifier?



Thatch Problems In Your Lawn


One of many problems facing the avid gardener today is the build up of thatch or organic matter in the lawn. Thatch is the accumulation over time of organic matter such as dead or decaying leaves, roots and stems that forms between the grass and the soil. However a small amount of thatch can be beneficial to the lawn as it adds support to the grass resilience and makes it harder wearing. No one than 1 cm of thatch is recommended and when the thatch does build up above this level then it becomes a problem and it’s time to go over your lawn with the lawn scarifier.


A build up of thatch will impede the drainage of your lawn and hence making your lawn both wet and soggy as the thatch will not allow the water to pass. One unwanted result of this is the encouragement to shallow rooting weed grasses such as annual meadow grass.


During dry conditions the thatch can be water repellent as well. This will cause your lawn to have dry patches and when this occurs you will have all sorts of problems trying to re-wet the soil. And thatch as well is an ideal host for a large variety of disease pathogens which are sitting and waiting for the right conditions in which they thrive in and become active. These pathogens sit and wait living off the dead organic matter in the layer of thatch.


When choosing from the vast array of lawn scarifiers available to you, the size of your lawn and the budget available to you to invest will be deciding factors. If you are a homeowner with a small or smallish garden then a simple version of the lawn scarifier is likely to be suitable for you. They are not at all expensive and are powered by yourself by just pushing them. They will do the job you require of them, but if you are a more serious type of gardener then the route to go is to invest a little more cash and upgrade to an electric lawn scarifier. The electric lawn scarifier will give you higher specifications and with these come a better job. They will give you better removal of any thatch and unwanted moss and also make the job simpler by collecting your waste in a tidy which you can simply empty when full.

If you have a large garden with a large lawn are to cover then you have to give serious consideration to a petrol version of the lawn scarifier. These machines will cost you a lot more but in return you will have a machine that is more powerful and effective in keeping your garden in check. They are also more user friendly as you do not need to worry about any power cables or battery run downs.

There is an abundant choice out there for you, so look at your requirements first before committing. As with most power tools and machinery it is advisable to always buy quality and the best version you can afford. Makes from well known manufacturers who have long built up reputations to uphold are well worth consideration. You will usually find these being of superior quality and giving you a longer service span. If anything goes wrong with your machine you will find that you have a very good warranty backing you up and any problem can easily be sorted out.


Dealing With Thatch


In the first instance it is best for you to try and prevent excessive thatch build up by dealing with the problem before it occurs. So really you should address the conditions that can cause this thatch build up. As they say “prevention is the best form of cure”. However if you do find you have excessive thatch then you must take care of your lawn and deal with the problem. You need to remove the thatch and to do this you need to either aerate the lawn or use scarification by using your lawn scarifier.




To Care Is To Share

Using A Lawn Scarifier


If you have discovered that you have a problem with thatch or moss in your lawn, then you will need to use a scarifier of some sort. The type of scarifier you use is down to personal preference, budget and the size of lawn that you have. But once you have acquired yourself one, don’t just jump straight in and begin using it. Your lawn needs to be readied properly and a little forward thinking and planning will be of a great help to you obtaining the great results you desire.


On this page of lawn scarifier we shall give you tips on how to prepare your lawn prior to using a scarifier, tips for taking care of your lawn after using the scarifier, and of course the ways to actually use one.



Preparations Before Using A Lawn Scarifier


Before using a scarifier, preparation and planning is of all importance. The type of scarifier you have is your own choice. To receive the most benefit from a scarier and have it work at it’s most effective level, you need to use it on short grass. So one or two weeks before beginning on work you need to bring the grass height down gradually. So mow your lawn a couple of times during this 2 week planning period. By doing this gradually, you will not shock your grass and also allow air to get deeper in to your turf, which in turn dries the grass.


Check your lawn thoroughly a week or so before using the scarifier for any visible and protruding weeds. Yes the scarifier will help remove the weeds, but help your scarifier by either removing these weeds or applying a suitable weed killer.


Finally a very important measure is to check that you have good soil moisture before using the scarifier. If the soil moisture is good then your lawn will recover quickly after the scarifier has worked it. If the soil moisture is too much or too little, then you need to improve them to the correct levels or actually wait for them to improve naturally before using a scarifier. You can test the moisture levels of the lawn using any decent garden moisture meter, which will give you very accurate results.


The day before you plan to scarify your lawn, cut it as close down as possible without scalping it. Long grass just puts up resistance to a scarifier and give the machine much more rubbish to collect up. If the grass and moss is dry the job is so much more easier as well. So try to plan for a day where there is no morning dew. Using the scarifier in the afternoon is better than the morning for this issue. And if you do have problems with the weather then just keep your grass short until a better appropriate time comes around for you to work your lawn.



Manual Scarifying


If you have decided to take the manual labour route and have a hand held scarifier, make sure you wear appropriate leather gloves to protect your hands. A tip here is to always talc your gloves to prevent blisters occurring.


Physic yourself up properly and be prepared to apply good pressure on your tool as well as raking vigorously with it. You will have to go over badly infected areas repeatedly to properly lift out the moss and thatch. This can be very hard work, but hopefully you have the hand held version that comes with wheels. This will make your day that so much more easier.


When doing your lawn with the hand held version you will get better results if you do the lawn in one direction and then repeat the process again in another direction. Any debris that results can be collected up using a lawn mower or a sufficient rake.



Scarifying Tips


Bumps in your lawn can suffer damage when going over them with a scarifier, even if you do so lightly. So you need to level out any bumps prior to using a scarifier.


Using a scarifier on a sloping lawn can cause a lot of problems. You may scarify the area and discover that any seed you add to the area to aid recovery is easily washed away by any rain. In areas like this that are more than just a gentle slope, you need to carry out only a moderate scarification to ensure that sufficient grass remains that can hold any recovery seeds.


With dips and bumps try to do a top dressing to see if this levels out the problem areas. This is particularly so with over seeding and you should be looking at 3-4 kg of top dressing per square metre.


Some lawns have thatch that is so bad that the actual lawn has rooted in to it. With a scarifier you will end up pulling out great lumps of lawn. If this scenario is because of neglect then just carry on with the scarifier until you get down to the soil and re-seed the area. If however this bad condition is caused by soil compaction or disease then you really need to consider laying a new lawn



Petrol / electric Lawn Scarifier


When using either of these options of the scarifier it is best to tease the thatch and moss out. This is by far the best method for both your lawn and machine. The way to do this is to make repeated runs up and down your lawn. With the petrol version of the scarifier you have the option and power of being able to set the machine up to go deeper. Resist this and still tease the moss out by making repeatedly deeper runs.

For setting up a powered scarifier if it has height adjustment levels on it, set it up on a hard surface and make sure that the blades or tines just touch the ground. Then try out the scarier on the lawn and see how if performs. If any minor adjustments need to be made to the levels, then do so.


The best way to collect up thatch in our opinion is with a suitable sized rake. However you can do this with a lawn mower. If your lawn has a lot of thatch then you need to collect it up after each run of your scarifier to keep the lawn clear for the next run. It is always advisable to change direction on your second or third runs with your machine. This will help with removing more each run and mean that you complete the job in a shorter time span.


While you are working your lawn and progress is being made you will notice that less debris remains. This means that you can go deeper and even penetrate the soil a little if you so wish. The recommended depth for penetrating the soil is about a quarter of an inch. By doing this you will also loosen up the soil which will help with any re-seeding. If you do penetrate the soil, remember to always clean your machine properly after use. One word of warning though is to avoid the soil with an electric version of the scarifier. These do not have as much power as their petrol counterparts and the soil can actually damage or break the tines.



Lawn Care After Scarifying


Using a lawn scarifier is not a gentle process on your lawn and you need to assist your lawn in recovering from this invasive process. Hopefully you have planned your scarifying process properly and will have nature assisting you with warmth, rain and sunshine, to aid the recovery process.


If you have suffered from moss in the lawn then you should apply a moss killer with ferrous sulphate in it after scarifying. Apply this with a watering can to any areas where signs of moss remain. It should penetrate deeply now that you have scarified the area properly and deal with any moss that is left.


Adding fertilizer to the lawn after scarification is a must. You want a fertilizer that has potassium init as potassium helps the grass strengthen and deal with the stress that the scarifying has caused it. Potassium also helps grass fend off disease.

Finally you need to add grass seed to the lawn after scarifying. If the damage is only patchy then you only require light sprinklings of seed. However if you have given you lawn a thorough scarification you should re-seed the whole lawn sufficiently.


John Deere Lawn Scarifier

How Is Thatch Caused In The Lawn


The cause of thatch is when the accumulation of thatch build up is quicker than the decomposition process. There are several reasons why this is caused. The first is when you try to encourage your lawn to grow faster with the use of fertilizer with nitrogen and or over watering. These will both cause and promote the growth of thatch. To avoid this thatch build up you should only apply fertilizer or water your lawn when necessary.


Being impatient with your lawn and wanting quicker results by trying to speed up the growth process will only cause you problems in the long run. Two other causes of thatch build up are excessive water in the soil which encourages the thatch to build up and a lack of air in the soil. If there is no air in the soil the micro organisms that decompose thatch will not survive. If they do not survive then the thatch build up will accelerate.


As said earlier, over watering a lawn can encourage thatch build up. The excess water in the soil provides ideal conditions for thatch to build up. Testing your lawn and soil for moisture content is a good way to help with the prevention of thatch build up. By using a moisture meter you will get instant results showing whether your soil has too much or too little moisture in it and you can then act accordingly and rectify the matter.


Aeration is done by spiking the lawn which allows air to get into the soil. As said earlier, the micro organisms that help with thatch breakdown require air to survive. The lawn scarifier has vertically mounted blades that will slice and slash through the thatch and rake it up to the surface of the lawn. Both these methods will have very positive effects on the breakdown of the thatch in your lawn. Remember if you do decide to use the lawn scarifier as your preferred method of dealing with thatch, then the best times to use it are in Spring or early Autumn when there is still enough growth time for the lawn to recover and thrive.

Choosing A Lawn Scarifier


If you have a lawn that is deteriorating due to thatch problems, then you need a lawn scarifier to stop the deterioration in it’s tracks and allow you to get back on track and produce a pristine lawn for you to enjoy. As well as the lawn scarifier there are other tools out there in the market place that you can use to rake and aerate your lawn. However the lawn scarifier has proved itself many a time and is still the most effective tool or machine for dealing with thatch.

When looking around for a lawn scarifier you will discover that there are both electric and petrol versions available to you. The electric lawn scarifier is often advertised as a garden scarifier, electric lawn raker or a power scarifier.

Many electric versions however are just wire tines or lawn raking machines at best, but there are still some excellent electric lawn scarifiers out there. An electric option is a much cheaper option for you buy and even though they do not have the same power ratios as a petrol version, they still do a fairly good job for a great price.


Electric Lawn Scarifier


If your lawn area is in the region of 100 to 250 metres squared then the electric lawn scarifier is a great little investment. A renowned example of the electric lawn scarifier is the AL-KO range. This range of scarifies come with inter changeable cassettes, wires to deal with moss and the blades you require to complete the scarification process. They are quite versatile and lightweight, making them a good moss raker and scarifier ideal for medium to small lawn areas.


Petrol Lawn Scarifier


The petrol lawn scarifier is the most powerful version of the scarifier out there. These are ideal for large areas of lawn in the region of 300 metre squared. As well as being able to easily cope with the workload the petrol lawn scarifier will make doing the job much more less arduous for you and also much quicker. If you have a lawn that is very fine or perhaps is an ornamental lawn then only a very good quality sharp petrol lawn scarifier will do for you.