Buyers’ Guide to rakes and scarifiers The best products to help revitalise your lawn this autumn
Using the right rake or scarifier makes all the difference to a healthy lawn. Geoff Hodge has some pointers
Afabulous-looking, lush green lawn is a real garden asset. It will set off the rest of the garden and provide a verdant backdrop for plants. On the other hand, a poorly maintained lawn will make the rest of the garden look a bit of a mess. It follows that good lawn maintenance makes sense if you’re after a pristine garden that’s the envy of your neighbourhood. Autumn is one of the main times for lawncare, to get the lawn back into shape after summer wear and tear and ready for the onslaught of winter weather. One of the jobs that can be done now – or in spring – is scarifying to remove thatch. Scarifying is the process by which thatch and other debris is removed from the turf – and is sometimes more simply called de-thatching. Sadly, most people don’t scarify their lawns regularly enough, only using it as a remedial reaction to a moss or weed problem, rather than part of their annual lawn maintenance regime. Yet regular scarifying is very beneficial. Allow thatch to build up and you’ll spend more time and effort trying to overcome the associated problems caused by lack of light and excess moisture – the spread of moss, weeds and fungal diseases. Scarify every year and the task will become quicker and easier, and your lawn will thank you for it too. Annual scarifying not only reduces thatch but also rejuvenates your lawn, helping the grass grow more strongly and giving you a lush end result.
If you have a small lawn (or even a larger lawn and want to give yourself a good muscle-building workout) use a long-handled lawn rake with fine tines. The standard hand tool for scarifying is generally referred to as a springtined or springbok rake. Its thin, springy tines will work their way through the turf and top of the soil to get rid of the thatch and other debris clogging up the grass.