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When should you rake a lawn

Got some issues with your lawn? Moss and dead grass can form a thick layer, holding water and making a cosy home for more moss. Plus, they stop water and oxygen from reaching the grassroots. You’ll notice the spongy feel of moss and see it growing right at the base of your grass. Dead grass, aka thatch, might also be hanging around; it looks like a web of dried grass close to the soil’s surface. But an easy fix for this problem is to rake your lawn, and you can do this in a few ways.

rake a lawn to remove grass

Does raking the grass help it grow?

To rake a lawn (also known as scarifying) removes the build-up of dead grass and moss. Removing moss and thatch is advisable during autumn and spring and is also essential if you plan to overseed areas of your lawn that are thinning out and looking bare. Raking the grass can turn common issues like removing thatch into manageable challenges and make getting rid of them easier! The quickest way to eliminate these problems is by raking your lawn and applying grass seed to get these areas growing again! You can use either of the two methods mentioned below for this purpose.

If you have large areas of moss in your garden, it’s best to use a feed, weed and moss killer like our 3 IN 1 Lawn Rescue. Then, you can rake away the remains of the dead moss, followed by overseeding as mentioned.

Method 1: Using a spring tine rake

We recommend using a spring tine rake – or a leaf rake as they’re often called – instead of a traditional rake. This is because a traditional garden rake is more likely to damage your grass if used for removing moss and thatch.

Raking your lawn to remove this build-up is the simplest and most effective way to bring it back to life! To do this, roll your sleeves up and rake your entire garden lawn in different directions. Remember that the bare patches you see where you have removed the dead grass are part of the process. The next step is to overseed these areas with fresh grass seed, and you can take things a step further by providing them with pre-seed lawn food, which will speed up your lawn’s recovery. This will encourage it to grow vibrantly green and lush, and it will be beautiful again before you know it!

Method 2: Using an automated scarifier

An automated scarifier speeds up the process and saves you the effort. This is especially useful for larger gardens or lawns with a large amount of moss and thatch! Similar to the outcome when using a leaf rake, you will see bare soil patches where the moss and thatch have been removed. But there’s no need to worry since this is beneficial for overseeding!

Can you rake a wet lawn?

Scarifying should not be done when the grass is soaking wet, as you will likely pull up more than thatch. Your rake is also likely to get stuck in the soil, which will damage the rake at the same time!

When to rake a lawn?

We recommend scarifying your lawn during late spring or early autumn. The ground will be warm enough to help your new seeds grow, and your grass will recover faster during these times. We recommend you do not rake a lawn in winter or deep into the summer months when frost or drought will cause additional damage to your lawn.

Is it best to cut the grass before scarifying?

Yes, we recommend mowing your lawn before scarifying. We have helpful tips on how to mow a lawn, which will ensure you get it right the first time! After you have raked your lawn, it may look worse than before, with some bare and thin patches. But this is normal, and since overseeding is the recommended next step, it’s best to cut your grass low to make the process easier for you and help the new seeds get the most sunlight.

How long should the grass be before scarifying?

If you’re planning on overseeding after raking, you should mow your lawn to its regular height, or 20-40mm for a busy lawn or 10-20mm for a fine, ornamental lawn is ideal.

If you don’t plan to overseed your lawn after raking, we advise that you set your mower to its highest setting. Scarifying when your grass is too long won’t enable you to scarify it properly, and raking it when it’s too short will make it harder for your grass to recover.

Recap on when to rake a lawn

Scarifying helps with thatch, but even well-kept lawns can get a thatch build-up. It’s best to rake (or scarify) your grass in spring or autumn, followed by overseeding to fill the remaining bare patches. Moss loves damp and shady spots, so if you have a waterlogged garden with tall hedges blocking sunlight, the process of aerating your lawn will help increase drainage, and trimming your hedges will get your grass more sunlight. Then, you can rake your lawn once it has dried out. If your garden has areas covered in shade all the time, then our Shade Supreme grass seed is the answer to your problems.

We have a helpful guide on sowing grass seed, which takes you through the process in a few simple, easy-to-follow steps.

If you have a lot of wild birds in your garden, our tips on stopping birds from stealing your grass seed will be useful.

And if you want your lawn to look fantastic again, we have a guide on when to use lawn food.

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