What Is The Difference Between Lawn Rake And Scarifier?

This is quite a confusing subject because many people use both terms interchangeably. But they are different functions. Let’s have a quick look at what they both do.

What Does Raking Do?

Raking removes the moss and dead grass and other dead material from the lawn. If you rake the lawn regularly you won’t get any thatching, because thatch is caused by a build-up of this dead material. Raking is also gentler on your grass than scarifying so the lawn will recover quicker from a raking. You can use a hand rake or a mechanical rake to remove thatching from the lawn.

What Does Scarifying Do?

A scarifier removes the thatch from below the surface of the lawn and it also prunes grass roots and aerates the soil. The scarifier blades penetrate below the soil surface, allowing water, oxygen and nutrients to get to the roots of the grass. As the scarifier prunes the grass roots it allows the grass to grow stronger and spread further, creating a healthier lawn.

A scarifier is also useful to prepare a bed for sowing new grass seed. Scarifiers also keep many annual weeds at bay, destroying them before they can take hold.

When Is The Correct Time To Scarify The Lawn?

As scarifying weakens the grass initially, it’s best to only scarify your lawn when the grass has established itself for the season. This means early summer is the perfect time for scarifying the lawn. If you were to scarify your lawn in spring and there happened to be a late frost, the grass might not recover. 

When Is The Correct Time To RakeThe Lawn?

As raking is a much gentler process than scarifying, it can be performed more times throughout the seasons. Spring and autumn are both good seasons for raking the thatch away. This will help to keep your lawn healthy and prevent the build-up of thatch.

Hand Tools Or Machines?

There are hand rakes, and handheld scarifiers on the market, and both will do the job eventually, but if you have a large garden or more important things to do with your time off, you might want to consider a mechanised rake or scarifier. If your garden is an average size, it will probably take a good couple of hours to manually scarify and/or rake the lawn to remove thatch.  Using an electric scarifier will cut that time down by at least 75%. The cheapest electric-powered scarifier will set you back around £60. 

You will need to weigh up the pros and cons of buying a scarifier, you’ll probably only need to use it once a year, does that justify the expense? With that said, can you physically scarify your lawn for 2 hours straight? On balance we suggest as long as you have the storage space, buying a cheap electric powered scarifier is a wise move.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is scarifying the same as raking?

Scarifying is not the same as raking. Raking just removes the top thatch, scarifying goes deeper into the soil and removes much more thatch plus a scarifier puts holes into the soil that allow oxygen and water to penetrate.

Is scarifying good for a lawn?

Scarifying is good for a lawn because it removes all the dead plant material that prevents water and oxygen reaching the lawn.

Should you top dress after scarifying?

You should top dress after scarifying, this will ensure the grass has as many healthy nutrients as possible.

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