Scarifying and Raking Lawns for Thatch and Moss

Thursday, 3 May 2018  |  HOTBIN Composting

Can Thatch and Moss be Composted After Scarifying a Lawn?

Thatch is a normal occurrence on a lawn but management is key. Over time as new grass replaces old, dead grass starts to build up taking longer to break down (higher lignin content) than the new grass coming though. Thatch is considered to be a tangled mass of new and old grass, once this becomes too thick it starts to restrict water, block light and cause the lawn to become saturated - not what any garden enthusiast wants!

Another unwanted visitor to a lawn is moss, found in damp and shady conditions this can also cause problems preventing grass growing if it becomes too thick.

How Can I Tell if There is Too Much Thatch?

If you have a brown, spongy, unhealthy looking lawn this can be a sign that it may need scarifying. This is not always the case though so it is advised to take a lawn sample and see if the thatch is deeper than half an inch, the maximum level suggested before it starts causing problems.

Scarifying Lawns for Thatch and Moss

Is There a Best Time to Scarify the Lawn?

Scarifying is a beneficial process which removes dead grass and moss, aerates the soil and lets in light to improve the condition of the lawn. The process can leave the lawn looking quite the horror which is why it’s important that the process is carried out at the right time of year to allow the lawn to fully recover and bounce back looking healthier than ever.

Lawns should be lightly scarified in the Spring when the weather is warmer and there is still plenty of rain before being heavily scarified in the Autumn. These periods avoid the two seasons which will hamper recovery; the hot dry summer and cold harsh winter months.

There are a number of tools to carry out scarifying so we would recommend contacting a lawn expert for the best advice on how exactly to go about de-thatching a lawn and which tools to use.

Preparing the Lawn Prior to Scarifying

  • Treat weeds and moss (to prevent spores spreading)
  • Soil should be moist, not too wet or dry to help the lawn recover quickly
  • Grass should be cut short and dry – long grass can create make scarifying more difficult

Can Scarified Grass and Moss Be Composted?

The waste you have removed from your lawn after scarifying can all be added into the HOTBIN, however we would advise:

  • Any moss removed should only be added to the HOTBIN when it is operating at hot composting temperatures to prevent any re-emergence after composting
  • Add fresh waste in with dead grass to compensate for the high lignin content and lack of nutritional value to bacteria (it has already started decomposing)
  • Any waste from the lawn should be added in smaller quantities with a mixture of other waste types (don’t overload with grass)
  • If using any treatment on the lawn for moss or weeds, check with manufacturer packaging that it is biodegradable and safe to compost