A Vertimowing / Scarifying Machine
What is Vertimowing or Lawn Scarifying
Vertimowing lawns is the process of removing an excess build up of thatch, only the C4 warm season grasses can be vertimowed because the lawn is repaired from regeneration from the stolons and rhizomes (runners) after vertimowing the lawn is completed.
As a general rule of thumb, the more aggressive the lawn variety the more frequent it will require vertimowing. For example, high performance Couch varieties such as Wintergreen, Greenlees Park and Santa Ana will require vertimowing more often than a less aggressive species such as Zoysia.
A correct lawn mowing schedule is the first step in reducing the build up of lawn thatch and will aid in reducing the necessity of vertimowing.
What is Lawn Thatch
Lawn thatch is the build up of living and dead stolons (runners) on top of the soil. As lawns continue to grow and regenerate new stolons, the old stolons will die off underneath the new growth. Over a period of time these dead stolons continue to build up into a thicker mat. As well as living matter such as excessive stolons also contributing to this thatch layer.
Thatch build up can be most noticeable when we walk across the lawn and it is soft and spongy underfoot. When mowed, a heavily thatched lawn will always cut back into the brown thatch layer, leaving an unsightly appearance after lawn mowing, instead of being green - the lawn is brown after mowing. If mowed with a cylinder mower, the lawn will often be left with what appears to be ‘tram lines’ in the lawn as the very heavy weight of the cylinder mower sinks into the spongy thatch during mowing. Vertimowing removes all of this dead thatch layer.
Can Thatch Damage My Lawn
Kikuyu lawn after vertimowing
Yes. Apart from the ugly appearance left after lawn mowing, as the thatch layer continues to increase in thickness, less and less of the roots from the new stolons manage to grow into the soil, the lawn slowly starves from lack of nutrients over a period of many years. This is most especially true of Buffalo grass lawns.
The second effect is that a lot of water will become trapped in the thatch layer, much of this trapped water will never make it into the soil, but will evaporate instead.
An ugly appearance, and increasing poor health from lack of nutrients and water make lawn vertimowing vital in the continuing health of our lawns.
Other Benefits In Vertimowing
When properly completed, the vertimowing process will return a more level appearance to the lawn, as well as leaving a far more beautiful finish after mowing.
What’s Involved and What Does It Cost
Waste material after vertimowing an oval
Vertimowing can be summed up with these words:
Messy, dirty, labor intensive, using very expensive machines and producing a lot of waste material. These factors combined have a direct factor on the pricing of the service, however prices will vary between operators.
Expect to be quoted a rate per square meter, which usually includes all the work and removal and disposal of all the waste matter generated.
Can The Homeowner Do It Themselves
Of course. However, proper consideration should be given to the reality of the amount of hard work involved, cost of disposal of rubbish, cost of hiring the vertimower, and knowing how to do the job properly to achieve a desirable finish. Sometimes in lawn care the best decision can often be to leave the most difficult work to professionals.