How to Revive a Lawn after Scarifying in 8 Effective Ways

Scarifying is the process of removing thatch from your lawn. Basically, thatch is that layer of dead, brown grass on top of your green, living turf.

It’s caused by a buildup of organic material like leaves and stems. The problem with thatch is it can rob water and nutrients from your lawn, which causes discoloration or death in patches.

Every time you mow the lawn, it gets worse because you’re breaking up those layers even more. But what next after scarifying your lawn?

This article will take you through all the necessary steps describing how to revive a lawn after scarifying while also explaining everything you need to know and do to get the best results.

How to Revive a Lawn after Scarifying

Once you scarify your lawn, the first step is to look back and check if you exposed any underlying problems. This means checking if you neglected any dead patches of turf, especially from damage caused by digging from pet areas or garden beds.

Also, check if there are signs of weed infestation, pests, or fungal diseases. This helps you with your future lawn care schedule by allowing you to engage a remedy quickly.

1. Raking and Removing Debris

Raking and removing debris is a necessary step to revive your lawn after scarifying. If the scarifying machine doesn’t have a collecting bag or box, you’ll first have to rake up the debris.

This involves large chunks of compacted soil, moss, dirt clods, and loose soil. The raking process also helps maintain a level surface.

2. Kill remaining moss

After raking, you may notice some moss left in the grass. Moss infestation is annoying, and the best way to get rid of it is by using a moss killer.

Make sure the moss killer penetrates deeply into the moss.

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3. Ensuring a Level Surface

After scarifying, you will notice that your lawn is no longer level. The cut grass on the surface will be at different heights, and you’ll see dips and peaks everywhere. It’s important to make sure the area is level.

This prevents tripping hazards, soil erosion from moisture or runoff, and uneven ground for your lawnmower to travel over. If grading the surface isn’t possible, you’ll have to use soil to level out the ground. This involves leveling out the hollow sections with topsoil.

4. Soil Aeration

In the interest of growing a healthy lawn, there is another step you can take before replanting – soil aeration. Lawns need oxygen to grow and thrive. If the soil doesn’t have enough water or air, your lawn will dry out easily and die.

Soil aeration ensures that you have a healthy growing ground. It also helps with grass growth and fertilizer intake. You can use a lawn aerating machine or manually use a metal rake or garden fork.

5. Topdressing

Topsoil, though optional, will help flatten the lawn and make it even. Apply topsoil to any areas that may have been left patched when scarifying. Topsoil also contains microbes and micronutrients that will help enrich the soil for the rapid growth of grass.

6. Over Seeding to thicken the lawn

Scarifying your lawn is basically removing a significant portion of its turf, which causes thinning of the lawn. You must understand how to reseed a lawn after scarifying.

Essentially, there is a need to replace the turf that you just removed. You can do this by either replanting or overseeding the lawn.

Sprinkle the grass seeds lightly in those patchy areas. If the de-thatching and de-mossing were intense, the lawn is probably thoroughly damaged.

Apply the grass seeds all over the lawn for uniform recovery and to increase the grass intensity. If you doubt the number of seeds to use, apply 10 to 20 seeds per square inch of lawn. Ensure the seeds come into contact with the soil.

When overseeding, you must choose the right type of grass seed. For example, try to find a seed that is suitable for your local climate and weather conditions.

However, make sure your seed is suited to the type of grass you already have.

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7. Apply Fertilizer

Fertilization is vital for any lawn, but it’s especially critical after scarifying when your grass is still in shock. The best fertilizer after scarifying will depend on the condition of your lawn, the climate and weather, and the type of grass you have.

For example, if your lawn is dry and stressed due to the winter months, a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content is recommended.

If your lawn has a healthy green color, but poor root growth, a balanced fertilizer containing phosphate and potassium will work best. If you have warm-season grass, it’s best to wait until the end of spring to fertilize the lawn.

Overall the best fertilizer to use after scarifying should contain all three macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium. This ensures that your lawn gets the nutrients it needs to restore itself.

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Commercial Grade Lawn Energizer- Grass fertilizer

8. Watering

Enough water helps the grass seeds to grow and germinate at a fast rate. It also helps with the uptake of fertilizer and nutrients. 

Watering also depends on the seasons. During rainy seasons, the water needed is minimal as the soil is already loose and wet enough.

During dry seasons, you need to set some time during the day to water the lawn. Preferably one to two hours in the evening when the sun is down.

Avoid soaking the lawn; you do not want excess water to wash down the seeds. You can use a sprinkler to control the water. This ensures that your grass gets plenty of water to restore itself, but not too much water that it drowns your plants.

With time, your grass will grow, and you can take care of your lawn as you always do. Be careful to mow lightly during the first few weeks till the grassroots are in place. You do not want to uproot the grass when mowing.

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How to Treat Lawn after Scarifying

How to Treat Lawn after Scarifying

Scarification is a great way to break up thatch in your lawn, making fertilizer intake, water absorption, and growth easier. However, the process of scarifying also thins the lawn, which is why you must take steps to ensure it grows back thicker and lusher than ever.

Treating your lawn the right way involves deep watering, seeding, applying fertilizer, and aerating the soil. Essentially, you must help your lawn restore itself through therapy.

Overall, this process will take some time to complete, especially since it’s best to do everything simultaneously. You can’t deep-water the lawn once without watering it again for a few weeks.

You need to constantly water your lawn while you’re aerating, seeding, and spreading fertilizer. You might need to do all of these things two or three times for a few months until you see results.

When applying fertilizer to boost the nutrients of the soil, the choice of fertilizer depends on the season.

Scarifying over autumn requires you to use an autumn lawn fertilizer. These fertilizers release their nutrients at a slow rate which will still run even in the cold months.

If you are scarifying over spring, apply springtime fertilizer to encourage the rapid growth of grass. Continue to water the grass if it has not been raining.

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Overseeding Lawn after Scarifying

Scarifying a lawn entails removing a significant portion of the turf, therefore, causing thinning of the lawn. The turf removed is replaced by reseeding or replanting the lawn. Overseeding helps to thicken the lawn and restore its former glory.

Consider overseeding the lawn in autumn and spring.

  • Autumn: The lawn should be well rooted and healthy and not very thin. The soil must be damp enough to receive the seeds.
  • Spring: The best time for overseeding is within a week after scarifying the lawn. After scarifying, the soil is loose and fertile, making it easier for the seeds to take root.

Picking the right type of seeds for overseeding is as important as scarifying itself. Ensure the turf type in your lawn is compatible with the grass you are selecting to overseed.

For instance, you should not overseed warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia with cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass or fescue.

Choose your seeds from a reputable dealer. Not all sellers sell quality seeds. The best place to buy good quality seeds is at a reputable home and garden store or online.

You should also be aware of the season because the success of overseeding is influenced by soil temperature. Optimum results are achieved when the soil is warm and moist, as in spring and early autumn.

How to Reseed a Lawn after Scarifying

While scarifying, you may scalp some parts of the lawn, causing patches. To reseed these patches;

1. Water the soil a day or two before the reseeding day.

Watering helps to loosen and soften the soil making it easier for grass seeds to take root.

2. Spread the seed evenly over the patches.

Ensure you do not apply too much or under-apply seeds; this will cause death in some areas while other patches grow sparse.

3. Apply topsoil to cover the seeds to give warmth, nutrients, and room for germination and growth.

The right topsoil should be free of weed seeds. It should also have the right pH level that suits the grass type.

4. Fertilize the lawn using a suitable seasonal fertilizer.

Slow-release nitrogen is the best choice. Ensure you do not over-fertilize or under-fertilize.

5. Water lightly for a couple of weeks until the seeds germinate if you are seeding during a dry period.

Once the grass begins to grow, continue with your regular watering.

How do I Revive My Lawn after Scarifying? (FAQs)

1. Will grass grow back after scarifying?

Grass will grow back after scarifying as long as you regularly feed the soil with fertilizer and water. You must also aerate the lawn to ensure that oxygen, water, and nutrients reach the grassroots.

Note that it takes about four to six weeks for the new grass to grow back after scarifying. However, this will largely depend on your climate and weather conditions.

2. How many times should you scarify a year?

You should scarify your lawn once every year. The best time to scarify your lawn is in late spring or early autumn when the grass is not actively growing, and the topsoil is a little dry.

This makes it easier to break up and remove the thatch layer of your lawn without injuring the grass underneath.

3. How deep should I scarify my lawn?

You should scarify your lawn to a depth of about 3-20 mm. This is deep enough for removing thatch and aerating your soil, but not too deep where you damage or injure the grass underneath.

Remember, though, that scarifying deeper than 50 mm will leave your lawn vulnerable, especially if it’s still actively growing during this time.

4. Can you over scarify your lawn?

It is possible to over scarify your lawn and damage your grass plants. If you scarify too deeply or into the roots of your grass, then you might find that the grass will die and not grow back.

When scarifying for the first time, it’s best to do a small section at a time and see how far down you can go without damaging your lawn.

5. How long after scarifying should I overseed?

Overseeding your lawn immediately after you have aerated the soil is the best time because the soil is now less compact, and the circulation of air and nutrients is optimum.

It will give room for fast germination and growth of the grass seeds. Consider reseeding when the soils are moist enough, which is also the best time to scarify, autumn and spring.

6. Do I apply a moss killer before or after scarifying?

Apply a moss killer before scarifying if you notice a menace of moss on your lawn. A moss killer is effective and will take out the moss in no time.

However, sometimes you may notice some moss in the lawn after scarifying. It is still okay to apply a moss killer at this stage as it will eliminate the minimal moss before you begin aerating.

Understanding how to revive a lawn after scarifying is vital to restoring your grass to its lush green color. It shouldn’t be a complicated process as long as the grass has a conducive environment for germination and growth.

You should water and fertilize the lawn regularly to ensure lush green grass. If you are scarifying over autumn, consider using an autumn fertilizer while overseeding in springtime needs a spring fertilizer. Use topsoil to fill patches you may have created or scalped during the process.

Remember to aerate the space to allow water and oxygen to reach the roots as well as over-seeding or replanting if necessary. Also, engage the ground with tools like leaf blowers to remove debris that may prevent the grass from growing.


  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care. K Beatrice

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