Cut the chemicals – lawn rakers will really help your lawn look good

If you want your lawn to look its best then you need to ensure that the grass plants themselves are as healthy as they can be and are not competing for nutrients with other plant species.

Now if you’re nodding and thinking “Yep, that’s why I put weed and feed on my lawn” then you’re wrong.

Yes, wrong.

Why ?

Because no matter how good your lawn mower is at collecting the cuttings, over time a layer of thatch builds up on your lawn just above the surface of the soil.  This is particularly the case for mulching lawn mowers.

This thick layer traps moisture and leads to a lawn that it always damp and spongy.  Moss loves conditions like this and so will run riot spreading its way through the lawn holding more and moisture and out-competing the grass.

Weed and feed will certainly kill of the moss but what it won’t do is get to the, er, root of the problem – the thatch.  The only thing to do with this is to remove it either manually by raking it or by using a lawn raker.

We’re all for an easy life which is why we’ve only ever once raked a lawn by hand and it’s not something that we ever intend doing again.  Not because it was boring, time-consuming and extremely tiring but because having done it by hand, we went over it with an electric lawn raker and, in less than half an hour, removed three times as much thatch and moss as we had removed by hand !

Lawn rakers come in a variety of designs but most look similar to electric lawn mowers but instead of a blade they have a rotating drum with tines or, in the case of the larger more powerful units, knives on.

This drum rotates pulling the moss out of the lawn and deposits it in a collection box or bag.  The raking depth is usually adjustable in steps between a light raking and scarification.

Scarification is a more severe treatment and involves cutting the roots between adjacent grass plants which is how they spread.  By cutting the roots the plants strengthen their own roots and thicken up.  The immediate results aren’t pretty but it only takes a couple of weeks for the lawn to look significantly better than it did before.

Generally speaking you should rake your lawn every couple of months during the growing season and scarify it once a year either in the Spring or in the Autumn.

Really keen gardeners used to hire lawn rakers and scarifiers at around £40 a time but now it’s possible to buy a fairly decent one for roughly double that amount so it no longer makes sense to hire a lawn raker.

If you want your lawn to look better, cut back on the weed and feed and get to the heart of the problem.  Remove the thatch and show your lawn some tough love.  It’ll love you back !

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