Verticutting & Grooming
What is Verticutting?
Verticutting can be viewed as a process somewhere between Grooming and Vertimowing/Scarifying. The Verticutting blades penetrate deep into the crown area of the plant and severs stolons and stems. Verticutting aims to reduce or remove thatch, including dead leaf, stem, stolons and other organic material.
A verticutting reel will generally have wider spacing’s than a groomer and have stronger blades.
Generally it is done in spring but can also be done during the summer months. Especially in climates such as Perth and into autumn if needed.
Most lawns only need vertimowing/scarifying once a year at the most. Especially if regular cylinder mowing and grooming through the growing season is undertaken.
When to Groom
When to groom will depend on many factors but the main ones should be:
- The type of grass you have
- How quickly your grass grows
- How quickly the turf can become thatchy
The frequency of grooming will depend on growing conditions. In the Perth region the conditions from December through to April will encourage turf growth much more than the winter months and therefore grooming would be advised much more regularly.
When an organic layer of thatch forms leaf growth will occur at the top of the canopy rather than at the true plant crown. As a result, the following conditions will occur and compromise the health and growth of the plant:
• Root growth will diminish due to poor soil and air exchange.
• Organic material will not properly decompose because of reduced microbial activity.
• The thatch layer will trap moisture, grass seed, fertilisers, pesticides and topdressing, preventing them from reaching the soil and roots.
Verticutting or scarifying will be required more frequently to reduce and remove excessive plant material if grooming practices are not in place.
The Purpose of Grooming
Grooming reels are designed to remove horizontal runners and organic material if done regularly. When these are removed the turf is stimulated to develop new growing points from the crown, which is basically the stem. This removal of the horizontal growth encourages vertical growth. Advantages of grooming include:
- Improved vertical growth
- Increased light, water and air penetration to the crown and roots
- Control thatch level to a degree
- Improve overall health of the turf
Differences Between Verticutting & Grooming
- Verticutting is more invasive and recovery time is longer
- Verticutting reels have wider spacing’s between blades
- Verticutting blades are designed to go deeper into the crown and thatch layer
- Grooming can be done more frequently
- Verticutting aims to remove more thatch
- Grooming reels throw the clippings more effectively and ‘’fluff up’’ the turf
Can You Groom Buffalo or Kikuyu?
Yes. We find that a grooming reel is good for picking up buffalo runners that grow over the top of the grass and can be quite noticeable after cutting with a reel mower. They are also very good at thinning out buffalo and Kikuyu without being as violent as a vertimow.
Grooming & Verticutting Reels
Learn about the differences and similarities between grooming, verticutting, grooming reels and verticutting reels in a domestic situation.
The advice given in this document relates to processes appropriate to a Mediterranean climate such as Perth.