Why Scarify and Aerate your lawn?
Over time organic matter builds up on the surface of the soil, this will include dead plant material, moss and living and dead grass stems, roots, rhizomes and stolons. You may notice that your lawn has a matted appearance and a very spongy feel when you walk on it.
A small layer of thatch is beneficial to your lawn but if this is allowed to get too thick then the thatch can inhibit the ability of the turf to absorb oxygen, nutrients and water. Ulimately this will affect the health and appearance of the grass in your lawn.
Scarifying cuts into the lawn in a vertical direction, as opposed to the horizontal cut of a lawn mower, and this vertical cut removes the thatch and moss from the lawn without damaging the grass. May and September are the optimum periods to scarify your lawn, but September also has the added benefits of cutting into the grass rhizomes and stolons (side shoots that grow from the grass stems) encouraging new plant growth and a denser/thicker lawn. I only use a professional machine designed for this purpose that has a series of tungsten tipped, stay sharp blades, that are strong enough to enter the surface and remove the thatch.
Your lawn will have a somewhat beaten appearance directly after scaryfication, but there is no need to worry because when this process is carried out professionally it will not cause any lasting damage to the grass or the surface, it will recover quickly and a short time later your lawn will regain its freshness and splendour with the added benefits of being more healthy and resilient in the future.
Also over time, and especially on lawns that deal with a lot of foot traffic and children, the soil in your lawn will become compacted. As with the problems caused by excessive thatch, this can also restrict oxygen, water and nutrients from reaching the grass roots. Water run off and drainage problems can also become apparent.
I use a Professional Camon Aerator that can be used with either hollow core tines or solid spikes. These punch holes into your soil, relieving compaction and allowing oxygen, water and nutrients to reach the grass roots where they are needed. When this process is also combined with top-dressing and overseeding your lawn will soon be looking fresh, green and lush and the envy of your neighbours!