Is it too late to scarify your lawn? Best way to care for your grass this November

Alan Titchmarsh explains how to repair and protect your lawn

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Looking after your lawn is a crucial task when it comes to gardening – but as winter approaches, few of us know the right way to care for the green growth in our gardens. Scarifying your lawn is one way to give the rich green blades of grass a new lease of life, by removing thatch and encouraging fresh growth – but when should you be doing it? Express.co.uk spoke to the lawn-care experts to find out if it really is too late to scarify your lawn right now.

Is it too late to scarify your lawn?

With just two weeks left of November the transition from autumn to winter is easy to see in gardens across Britain.

Trees and shrubs are becoming more bare each day and our lawns are beginning to fade from a luscious green to a rich, muddy mess.

While lawns tend to go through a second growth period in the autumn, the chilly November weather means that our garden grass can quickly enter its dormant period as its growth slows right down.

The unusually mild weather has prolonged the growing season of many garden plants and crops – but what does it mean when it comes to scarifying your lawn?

Can you scarify your lawn in November?

Lawn care is very much a seasonal affair with the temperature and level of rainfall playing a huge role in the state of your lawn.

According to one lawn care expert, The Lawn Man, autumn is the best time to scarify your lawn.

But time it right, or risk ruining your lawn. On his website, he states: “Temperatures can fall quickly at this time of year. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and soil temperatures and decide at the time.”

Scarifying your lawn early on in November is generally a good rule of thumb as the soil should be frost-free.

The Lawn Man added: “If frost is forecast, or if the soil is less than seven degrees Celsius, then I would put the scarifier in the shed.

“Also, if the soil is too wet, definitely postpone. If in doubt, stay off it and postpone it until next year or you could do more harm than good!”

Steve Welch, expert at TruGreen Professional Lawncare, told Express.co.uk: “It is too late for scarification. The process of scarification is harsh on the grasses through the removal of moss and thatch.

“At this time of the year, we are entering a period where growth is slower, so the regeneration of grasses is also slower, and therefore your lawn would not fully recover.

“You’d end up doing more harm than good and bare patches would allow a further infestation of moss to form over the winter months.

“The perfect time to start scarifying would be in March to coincide with the grasses going back into growth as this allows a faster regeneration, allowing for a dense grass cover that is free from both moss and thatch to be achieved.”

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When is the best time to scarify a lawn?

Scarifying your lawn should be done to remove thatch and debris from the blades of your garden grass.

Doing this will focus all of the energy on sprouting fresh growth which will leave you with a lawn that looks as good as new.

Timing it right is key when it comes to scarifying your lawn, so aim for autumn when your lawn is filled with debris from the summer.

The Lawn Man recommends September or October when the soil is still warm and grass goes through its second growth spurt of the year.

April is an ideal month for some spring scarifying on your lawn as the soil conditions are similar to those found in the autumn months.

While you can scarify your lawn at any time of the year, the amount of regrowth you get after stripping it bare will depend on when you decide to treat it.

April, September and October are the three key months recommended for scarifying your lawn, but you should never scarify your lawn in:

  • January or February – winter scarifying is not recommended
  • March – this is weather dependant if the ground is warm and your lawn shows signs of growth
  • May – this could be a safe month to scarify if the weather is on the cooler side
  • June, July, August – summer leaves lawns hard with drought so avoid scarifying during hotter periods

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