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Mowing your lawn is one of the best ways to keep it healthy but it certainly isn’t the only thing you’ll need to do to keep it in the best condition. Scarifying and dethatching are both essential to maintaining a healthy lawn but choosing the right tool can feel incredibly daunting.
A lot of people find buying these tools intimidating as they aren’t 100% sure what they should be looking for. In this guide, I’ll not only be showing you some of the best scarifiers and dethatchers but I’ll also give you some helpful information on choosing the right tool for your yard.
3 Best Lawn Scarifiers And Dethatchers
- Best Overall Lawn Scarifier And Dethatcher: Sun Joe AJ805E 15-Inch 13-Amp Electric Dethatcher and Scarifier – Full Review Here
- Best Budget Scarifier And Dethatcher: LawnMaster GV1212B Scarifier and Dethatcher – Full Review Here
- Best Value Scarifier And Dethatcher: Rock&Rocker 2-in-1 16INCH Dethatcher Scarifier – Full Review Here
When Should I Scarify And Dethatch My Lawn
While you may be used to mowing your lawn every week or two throughout the summer, scarifying is not something that needs to be done anywhere near as often. In fact, this is quite a stressful process for your lawn and isn’t something that you should do all the time or you risk damaging the lawn.
Generally speaking, you will want to scarify your lawn in the fall; just one every year. This prepares your lawn to face the challenging conditions of winter and ensures that enough moisture and light can get through to keep the grass healthy during the colder months.
A lot of people will also manually scarify the lawn with a rake. However, if you are going to do this then you’d need to do it both in the fall and again when spring comes around. The good thing about not using a powered tool is that it doesn’t put as much stress on the grass. You will need to scarify at some point or another but nowhere near as often with regular raking.
What Is The Difference Between A Scarifier And Dethatcher?
A lot of people are under the impression that a scarifier and dethatcher are the same tools but this is not the case. Before you start shopping for these tools, I cannot stress the importance of understanding the differences between them.
What we first need to understand is that the end result of both of these processes is the same. Both dethatching and scarifying intend to improve better penetration of air, water and fertilizer. However, the act of scarifying is much more similar to vertical mowing while dethatching is closer to manual raking.
When you use a scarifier, the tool will cut grooves into the thatch in order that the elements I mentioned above can get through to the soil. On top of this, the scarifier will also make holes in the soil which further improves the penetration of things like water and air.
On the other hand, a dethatcher will remove debris within the lawn and is generally a slightly less invasive process. Instead of the knife-like blades found on a scarifier, a dethatcher will have tines that are similar to those on a manual rake.
A lot of people have opted to use a manual rake for this job but as more and more powered tools are coming onto the market, it’s only natural that homeowners are turning to these for improved convenience.
What To Look For In A Scarifier And Dethatcher
When it comes to purchasing a scarifier or dethatcher, there are a few things you will need to consider. Once you understand exactly what it is you need, it will be a lot easier to choose a tool that’s going to provide the benefit for your lawn. Here’s a quick run down of the features you’ll need to consider.
As I have mentioned, manual rakes have been a staple in the garage for as long as any of us can remember. However, there are a lot of powered options now available so it’s worth considering which would benefit your backyard the most.
In terms of manual tools, a cylinder roller is a great choice of scarifier and will work excellent for a smaller yard. That said, you won’t get the same performance or results as you would when using a powered tool. In addition to this, you have to consider that using a manual tool is going to require you to exert yourself physically.
One of the most convenient types of powered scarifier is the electric tool. They’re ideal if you’re looking for something eco-friendly and there are even options that come with interchangeable blades so you can dethatcher and scarifier with just one tool.
For people with bigger lawns, an electric tool might not have the power needed so you’d be better off opting for a gas powered scarifier or dethatcher. You’ll find that these tools generally have much wider working widths so they’ll cover bigger spaces in less time. They’re also incredibly durable and when well looked after, they’ll last for years! But one of the main downsides of gas tools is that they are a lot heavier owing to the engine so you need to have the strength and stamina to move them around the yard.
When it comes to buying a dethatcher or scarifier, you’re going to need to pay close attention to the blades it uses. For this type of work, you should be looking for something that benefits from super sharp blades especially if the soil is pretty hard or compacted.
Also take the time to look at what material the blades are made from. Steel is a very good option as it is robust and very resistant to rust so will last a long time. Not to mention it’s possible to get steel blades nice and sharp so they effectively penetrate the ground.
There are also choices in terms of fitted or swinging blades. If you opt for a fitted blade, you’ll find that it works better on lawns that are in good condition. However, if you have poor quality or bumpy soil then a swinging blade will be a lot gentler on it.
When you buy a scarifier or dethatcher, it will have a cutting width which is given in the same way as those on a lawn mower. If you have a bigger yard then you’ll need to go for something with a wider working width otherwise you will spend far more time than is necessary working on your lawn.
On the other hand, there’s no need to buy a huge tool if you only have a small lawn as it’s going to be a lot more difficult to maneuver.
Weight And Ease Of Use
While you want to buy the most effective tools for taking care of your backyard, you don’t want to buy something that’s so heavy you cannot use it.
As I mentioned earlier, a gas scarifier is going to be a lot heavier than any other type so make sure you choose something that’s within a weight category that you’ll be able to manage.
There are lightweight machines out there and while you may need to shop around a little, it’s worth it to save yourself the backache!
Do I Need A Scarifier Or Dethatcher?
If you really wanted to, then it would be perfectly acceptable to buy both of these tools. Not to mention there are a lot of 2 in 1 scarifiers and dethatchers which are great if you don’t have a lot of storage space but still want the use of both machines.
But if you’re looking to only buy one then you’ll need to take a look at the lawn and what it is most in need of. For example, if you only want to remove the thatch build up then a dethatcher is going to be the better option.
On the other hand, lawns that are sparse or patchy may need some help to grow and that means making sure that all the most essential elements can get right down into the soil. A scarifier is the best tool for this. By using this tool, you will also be able to prevent such rapid build up of thatch.
If you want to have the most lush, green, beautiful lawn then it’s important to take good care of it. While regular mowing is essential to this, there are other maintenance jobs that you need to include in your lawn care schedule.
This includes scarifying and dethatching and there are special tools designed just for this purpose. There are a whole host on the market with varied power options, different sizes and a range of features.
Choosing the right scarifier or dethatcher means taking the time to look over these features and comparing them to the needs of your lawn. Once you know what you’re looking for, this selection of the best scarifiers and dethatchers will help you pick the right option for you.