Why should you scarify your lawn?
Maintaining a lawn involves various jobs throughout the year. The one that instantly comes to mind is mowing. This is essential to keep grass short and tidy. Long grass growth can damage the lawn making it look patchy when it's finally trimmed. Regular scarifying can keep down annual weeds too as well as helping to reduce the perennial ones.
Weeding your lawn is something you can do either with a weed killing chemical which you put on the lawn, or manually. If you've only got a few weeds then it's not a huge chore to manually remove them. However for a badly affected lawn you will find it easier and more effective applying a suitable treatment. You normally apply weed treatments during the spring or summer when the grass is growing. You should also look at whether a weed and feed product is suitable for you. Read all the information on the product before using it. Some products need you to wait several days after rain before applying and then need watering in if rain doesn't fall within a couple of days of the application. Take care to make a note of this information.
If you have bare patched within the lawn you can either reseed a small patch by digging over the soil lightly, firming and applying grass seed and watering carefully. You can alternatively lay a new patch of turf. This provides instant color again but will also need careful preparation and watering afterwards.
If the edge of your lawn is untidy then this can be made neater by using an edging tool. Mechanical versions are available for hire or a manual half-moon spade type can be used for small lawns. Edge using a straight edged board as a guide. If you are doing a curved edge you can do this by eye, or for a smoother more accurate curve use a string tied to a stake to mark the arc you require. Compost the edges you remove as they will break down into good quality compost.
For ragged edges you will need to cut a piece out and replace it. You can use a wider section of turf removed to patch the edge and then in fill the gap you've made on the lawn middle with a fresh piece of turf or even seed. The reason for cutting a bigger piece is that the edge of the lawn is more fragile so a bigger cut section is more stable and the inner bit that's replaced will take less wear than the edge and be less likely to be dislodged.
Grass seed grows quickly and when used to in fill patches will quickly and more cheaply provide cover. However for real instant effect you can patch your lawn using new turf.
You will find that scarifying the lawn, removing thatch, is an essential task once a year. Use a rake or hire a machine if you have a large area to do. You can also use a hollow tine fork to aerate the lawn. This specially designed tool removes tiny cores of soil from the lawn. After this sort of treatment you need to apply a top dressing. This is usually a sandy mixture that is applied and brushed in. You could also apply a low nitrogen feed and avoid using the lawn for a week or so to give it a good recovery.
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