A scarifier - often referred to as a de-thatcher - is a wonderful device for combating the build-up of undesirable thatch, leaves, weeds, rotting moss and grass in your lawn.
It does a similar job to a traditional rake, but is much more efficient at getting rid of materials which a rake often doesn't reach. A scarifier really is a marvellous device to have in your lawn care armoury, alongside the garden roller, aerator, seed spreader and lawn edger.
A manual, electric or petrol scarifier penetrates between the glass blades using a series of prongs which gather up and remove unwanted rotting vegetation and other matter from the lawn. This process does not damage the blades of grass, so your lawn remains intact.
Most devoted gardeners will say that one of the most annoying problems that they have to deal with when attempting to maintain a pristine lawn is thatch. Decaying leaves, weeds, moss, roots, stems and other debris become entrenched in the soil or between grass blades.
An abundance of thatch can create a soggy and wet lawn, which can impede effective drainage. Poor drainage can impact on your grass and lead to the growth of shallow root grass, such as annual meadow grass, and before you know it you have a weed-ridden lawn.
In warm spells the thatch can repel water, preventing the grass getting enough water and leading to the development of dry patches. A scarifier can come to your rescue and banish thatch, allowing your lawn to thrive.
A scarifier features a series of knife blades or wire tines which are positioned along a reel which looks similar to the cylinder on many lawnmowers - its these blades which get to work gathering up the rotting vegetation and other debris on the lawn.
If you have a very small lawn, a manual wheel-along scarifier will be perfectly capable for removing unwanted thatch - a cheap and basic manual device will costs around £20 to £40. Popular models include the Wolf Garten Multi-Change Roller Moss Remover, the Darlac Lawn Scarifier and the Bosmere Garden Lawn Scarifier.
If, however, you have a medium to large garden lawn, you might be best buying an electric or petrol-powered scarifier, which will make take a lot of the hard work out of getting your lawn just the way you want it.
These are obviously a lot more expensive than manual devices, so you can expect to pay upwards of £100. Popular models include the VonHaus 2-in-1 Electric Lawn Scarifier-Aerator, the AL-KO Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnraker-Scarifier, the powerful Mountfield S38 Petrol Scarifier and the Einhell 1200W Electric Scarifier and Aerator.