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I'd heard (and read) that most lawn scarifiers had problems. The handles were too high or too low, the boxes were difficult to remove or didn't hold enough or the debris flew over the top in a futile endless loop. The flex wasn't long enough or it didn't go up to the edge of the lawn.
The whole thing seemed like a minefield and it was with some trepidation that I decided to buy the Flymo LC-340 (couldn't find the "V" on the box but I guess it's probably the same model).
Oh, so it's a self-assembly job, I thought as I opened the box. But the instructions were very clear (take note, Ikea...) and within 10 minutes the machine was assembled from scratch. It colour-matched the Flymo hover mower, blower-vac and strimmer I already owned (but that wasn't necessarily a reason for buying it). The blurb on the box hinted that the machine somehow compressed lawn debris, and it mentioned that there were 6 different height settings according to moss, lawn, season, degree of thatch and so on.
My lawn was a disaster and so I went for the strongest (ie lowest) setting. Disregarding the need for goggles, ear mufflers, leather gloves and so on - I hate Health & Safety freaks - I set to work and was well impressed with the first row's work. There was actually some grass sward hiding beneath a box-ful of moss and thatch!
It wasn't noisy - no complaints from the neighbours but the left-hand one was really interested - "New toy then?" and watched progress. The debris was compressed - you open a small gate to tip the contents out (neat) - and the whole lawn filled up my recyclables wheelie bin much to the other half's chagrin. Nowhere to empty the Hoover now...
Using the LC-340 was easy, although I couldn't say effortless. I was amazed by the amount of rubbish it accumulated and shocked by what little grass was left. Clearly, what I had thought was lawn was actually moss and dead grass. Yes, it is easy to empty (and to clean afterwards). And it does pretty well in clearing up to the borders of the lawn. It romped over set-in paving stones without a shower of sparks, or damaging the tines. The horror stories of "other" scarifiers didn't seem to attach to this one - even the cable didn't pull itself out of the plug because it was plenty long enough for my garden lawn.
After a dose of Spring lawn treatment, the remaining moss went black, the remaining grass went green and new bits started to grow in the bald patches. Using the scarifier a second time (again at maximum) removed even more moss and the grass seemed to appreciate this intensive massage because it's now thickening up quite nicely. I was actually looking forward to running the thing over my lawn this time - so much easier than a rake - and the neighbour has asked if he can borrow it.
That in itself is a recommendation so, added to my own experience, here is a tool I can honestly recommend.
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