Firstly, let’s talk about Thatch. Thatch is the build up of living and dead runners on top of the soil. Throughout the life of a lawn, new runners will grow and the old runners will die off underneath the new growth. As you can imagine, after a while this can build up quite a thick layer.
All lawn varieties can build up thatch from time to time. A small amount of thatch can be beneficial as it helps prevent evaporation, aids water retention and can give increased tolerance to wear and tear.
However, when this thatch accumulation reaches a point where it impedes water, air and fertiliser penetration, then it needs to be removed by scarifying (or vertimowing) the lawn.
Scarifying can be achieved by slicing vigorously through the turf with a scarifying rake or a scarifying machine and removing the debris.
If you do not have the resources to hire machinery, you can also complete the process using your lawn mower by mowing the lawn and lowering the mower on each subsequent cut across the entire area until you have removed all signs of green growth & the entire area is brown.
Munns tip: The browner, dirtier and dustier you can get your lawn when scarifying, the better!
You may need to lower the mower and cut your lawn 3–5 times (or more) in the one session (this can be done on the same day). You do not want to lower your lawn mower too much on the first cut if your lawn is long as this will clog the mower and be difficult to cut.
The best time to carry out this procedure is from October – December on warm season grasses and September – October on cool season grasses. Scarifying can be done every 2-4 years depending on how much thatch has built up.
Below are some example images of lawn scarifying on an Emerald Kikuyu lawn, with the end results showing just 3 weeks after the completed process.
1. Cutting the Emerald Kikuyu lawn down hard with mower. Remember to lower the mower in sections and the dirtier/dustier you can get it the better!
2. What to expect after scarifying your lawn. Now is the time when you should fertilise with Munns Buffalo Booster
3. Lawn results 3 weeks after the completed process