Pros and Cons of Scarifiers and Aerators

Lawns don’t maintain themselves. So if you want your yard to look pristine, you will have to do more than the occasional trip on the mower. First, you’re going to have to scarify. Then, you’re going to have to aerate. If this sounds foreign, keep reading to learn about these critical lawn maintenance tasks.

Their Differences

The scarifier blade and aerator are two tools designed to address different issues. Aerators ensure the soil stays healthy, and scarifiers remove debris that could suffocate your lawn. They both also have other methods for a successful job.

The Scarifier

Unless you get a heavy-duty, road grader-level scarifier, this will be a simple tool to remove thatch from your lawn. Thatch is built-up grass clippings, leaves, and twigs. When you mow your yard, you add more to the layer.

When To Scarify

The next time you place an order for excavator bucket wear parts, throw a scarifier into your cart because you’ll want to scarify in spring and fall. Generally, that means April or May and September, as long as it isn’t too wet.

Best Technique for Scarifying

The best practice is to mow your lawn before you scarify. That allows the tool better access to the lower portion of your grass and makes the process more efficient. Additionally, you should not scarify if you have reseeded your lawn within a year. The new grass needs time to develop strong roots before you drag something across them.


The biggest pro of scarifying is that it removes thatch from your lawn. That makes your grass look nicer. It also gives you a more enjoyable feeling when walking barefoot. Scarifying is also good because it can help prevent weeds.


The biggest con is that your grass will look rough after you scarify it. Additionally, if you scarify too soon in the spring, you can permanently damage your grass. Another con is that the process can be very physically demanding.

The Aerator

Aerating is an entirely different process. It has nothing to do with the grass and everything to do with your soil. Instead, it involves punching holes into the ground. That reduces compaction, allowing the soil to absorb fertilizers and water more effectively.

When To Aerate

Typically, you will aerate when you have a compaction problem. That means you will have to keep your eyes open for signs of compaction. For example, it is probably time to aerate if you notice water puddles on your lawn.

Best Technique for Aerating

The only rule for aerating is that you should never do it in the winter when your grass is dormant. That can cause permanent damage to your grass.


The best pro about aerating is that it reduces compaction. That allows the soil to absorb water more efficiently, giving your grass more liquid. It also will enable fertilizers to be more effective. That can reduce the number of brown patches and thin spots your lawn experiences.


The biggest con is that if you aerate during the winter when your grass is dormant, you can damage the roots and kill your lawn. Another big complaint is that this is a labor-intensive operation. It can require several passes and take a full day out of your schedule. Finally, renting an aerator is almost as expensive as those carbide-tipped blades you bought for your grader last year, so that that price can be a deterrent.

At some point, thatch will build up on your lawn, and your soil will become compacted. When that happens, your grass will die. However, scarifying and aerating your yard can keep it looking fresh and healthy.

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