what does a lawn scarifier do

What Does a Lawn Scarifier Do? How to Keep Your Garden Green

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

When the time of year comes along to do your annual yard cleanup, lawn owners will often run into patches of dead grass, moss, or uneven consistency in their lawns that fertiliser and moss killer can’t fix. Because they want to take care of this eyesore, they take immediate steps to plant a new grass seedbed. However, before reseeding the area, they will need to acquire a lawn scarifier to prepare the designated area appropriately. Here we talk about what does a lawn scarifier do and how to make the most of your device.

What Is a Lawn Scarifier’s Purpose?

This specific lawn tool rakes over the existing grass, moss, thatch, grass cuttings, and other debris matter that comprises your yard and causes eyesores. A lawn scarifier takes several pointy spikes that revolve around in a circular motion to penetrate the ground. Scarifying grass allows the earth to be primed for planting new grass seed or laying of replacement sod.

Do I Need a Lawn Scarifier?

Although it is likely unnecessary to own a scarifier personally, it is wise to rent or borrow one routinely. Scarifying lawn at specific times will bring optimum benefit, the consistency of which is particular to your yard. The reason for the user benefit is due to the build-up of thatch and moss over time.

You will know that you have an abundance of thatch and moss growth if your site retains large amounts of water for longer than usual. When this happens, you will notice the ground being wet for an extended period. This moisture will last well after the rain has subsided. At times the consistency of your yard will change to a springy or spongy texture instead of the solid-state it typically is.

What Do I Do?

A way to rectify these issues is with a lawn scarifier. Upon using this tool and performing routine maintenance, you will find your site returning to its initial state.

What Is Thatch?

When you look out into your yard, you likely see grass plants. However, you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t all grass. Instead, your yard is home to hundreds of different weeds that resemble grass. The sunshine and rain that pepper your lawn from time to time allows weeds and moss to grow alongside the grass at a similar rate.

These assorted plants are what we refer to as thatch. The presence of this isn’t problematic for the most part. It is when the moss and thatch grow to a specific size that it needs resolving. When it gets to that point, you will notice issues in your yard that you didn’t face before — like the water pooling and discolouration.

How Does a Lawn Scarifier Work?

As stated above, a scarifier has sharp blades that penetrate the ground in a circular motion. This process is called scarification. To scarifying your lawn, the following factors are necessary:


The scarifier blades are attached to a lawn rake that resembles a manual lawnmower. When you push the machine over the ground, the blades push into the land.


Movement allows for indentations deep into the environment. The process also removes a top level of lateral growth, moss, and other organic debris.


In scarifying your lawn, you make it possible for air and water to penetrate the ground. The difference is that previous to this, the build-up of organic debris made the area too thick for water and air to infiltrate it.

Damage control

The overgrowth of weed grasses leads to a lack of air and water in the soil that causes the grassroots quality to suffer. During these times, you notice discoloured patches in your grass plants or settling moisture in certain areas that fertilisers can’t resolve.


You will also see a different consistency that comprises your yard. The spongy and springy texture will form, and you will no longer have the solid ground you previously did.

End Result

After scarifying your lawn, you will have taken off the layer of growth and debris, and your soil will be in prime condition for better grass growth.

Where Do I Find Lawn Scarifiers?

If you are looking to purchase a lawn scarifier, you can often find one at any home improvement store. There are many different brands and models available with varying features. Additionally, many garden centres will carry them for purchase.


However, if you are looking to rent one for a day or a weekend, you will want to look into a day rental company. There are several businesses out there that allow you to use their machinery for a short period. The cost for a temporary rental is minimal, providing it is returned in proper condition.

How Often Should I Do This?

Here are a few factors that help determine when lawn scarification is necessary.


The consistency in which you use a lawn scarifier is particular to your soil. If the lawn owners reside in a specific climate, they may need to perform this process more routinely or even less often, depending on the type of climate.


The timing will also depend on rainfall levels, soil quality, environmental conditions, among other factors. The best way to monitor the situation is to pay attention to any signs of your moss and thatch levels being too high.


These are some of the more obvious signs that you need to scarify your lawn;

  • water pooling
  • spongy/springy conditions
  • discoloured areas

When you see these, it is a clear indicator that you should scarify your lawn.

Things to Keep In Mind

Lawn scarifiers are just one piece of the lawn care puzzle. However, it is a piece that many often forget about because it isn’t used as frequently as other equipment.

Often when people see discolouration in their lawn, their immediate thought is that they need to reseed. Although this is part of the resolution, the process will go much smoother with the proper priming techniques, starting with learning what does a lawn scarifier do and how it can benefit you.

Do you use a lawn scarifier on your lawn? Do you know other benefits of using it? Please share in the comments below!

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