Using A Dethatching Rake
Dethatching using a dethatching rake is one of the easiest and less invasive ways to remove some of this built up thatch. As you are raking the tines dig in and will be pulling the thatch and dead matter out from within the grass. If you have a substantial thatch build up however you may need to look at a more disruptive method.
Does Frequency Factor In
If your lawn tends to produce a ton of thatch, it might be best to undergo this process annually to keep it at bay. Otherwise, check in every other year.
Don’t spin in circles wondering, “When is the best time to dethatch my lawn?” Contact our team at Evergreen Turf, and speak to one of our specialists to make sure you’re doing best by your lawn!
What Is The Best Way To Dethatch
According to the Ohio State University power dethatchers and power rakes work very well. Dethaching attachments for lawn mowers do not work. The best way to reduce thatch down is to perform core aeration. Core aeration also has the benefit of improving soil structure, solving two problems at once. Core aeration in clay soil really only works in spring when the soil is moist. By fall it can be difficult to get the machines to go deep enough to get a good sized plug.
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How Much Thatch Is Too Much
A thick layer of thatch thats thicker than 1/2- to 3/4-inches is considered excessive, which means youll have to dethatch physically.
You can even see the thatch layer by combing your fingers through the grass, and checking to see if you can see any soil between the grass plants. If you dont see any soil between the blades, then its time to take your lawn care to the next level, and prepare to dethatch.
Another way to check if you have a thatch problem is to poke your fingers between the blades of grass to see if it feels springy or spongy. If it does, then you can cut a vertical slice from the turf, and measure the thickness of the thatch layer of dead grass with a ruler.
Dethatching As Part Of Lawn Care
When prevention fails, the solution lies in dethatching. “Dethatching” a lawn refers to the mechanical removal from a lawn of a thatch layer that is too thick. Dethatching is not nearly as big a part of lawn care as is mowing. In fact, some homeowners may never need to dethatch the lawn. Some types of grass simply are not as susceptible to thatch build-up as others. For example:
- While Kentucky bluegrass is one of the cool-season grasses prone to developing too much thatch, tall fescue grass is far less susceptible.
- Among the warm-season grasses, you are more likely to have to dethatch Bermudagrass than zoysiagrass .
But when thatch does become a problem in a lawn, you should not overlook the importance of dealing with it, because the long-term health of your grass hinges on your finding a solution. The solution can take either of two forms: dethatching or core aeration.
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Go Easy On The Fertilizer
Nitrogen aids in the necessary growth of your roots and grass leaves, but too much of it can also cause thatch to grow too quickly. As your grass breaks down, it adds to the thatch layer, growing it faster than it can deteriorate.
If youre concerned about thatch, choose a fertilizer with a lower nitrogen percentage or only fertilize when absolutely necessary.
Thatch And Compaction: 2 Problems You Can Fix
Over time, little bits and pieces of grass die and gather just above the soil. This is called thatch. A little bit of thatch can be beneficial. It’s organic material that is broken down by microbes in the soil. But sometimes, thatch builds up too fast for natural processes to break it down. It forms a barrier, keeping moisture and air from going where your grass needs it. A half-inch or more of thatch can weaken your lawn. You have 2 ways to remove it: dethatching and aerating.
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Beginners Guide To Lawn Dethatching
- Beginners Guide To Lawn Dethatching
Lawn dethatching can be crucial to keeping your grass and soil healthy. Even if you are mowing and doing everything else necessary for your lawn, thatch can build up. Over watering and over fertilization can cause excess thatch. Detaching removes the thick layer of dead plant material . This allows air, water, and nutrients to reach your plants and soil again. Dethatching allows your lawn to drain better as well. By learning why dethatching is important, as well as when and how to dethatch, it will be easier to keep your lawn healthy.
Dethatching Benefits Too Long Didnt Read
If you dont have time to read this short article, lets get straight to the point.
Here are the top six benefits to dethatching a lawn:
If you would like to know more about why you dethatch a lawn in detail, then read on my green-thumbed friend.
What Is Dethatching A Lawn
Dethatching is the mechanical removal of thatch, made up primarily of grass, leaves, stems, grass roots and lateral weed growth. It is usually done with a gasoline-powered or electric dethatching machine, but you can also do it by hand with a dethatching rake.
A healthy lawn needs a thin layer of thatch to work as a barrier between the grass roots and the elements, insulating against extreme variations in soil moisture and temperature, Harbit says. When too much thatch builds up over a short amount of time, however, it can cause a number of issues and stifle the growth of your grass.
Thatch inhibits nutrients, air and water from reaching the root layer of your lawn, resulting in a shallow root system and issues with fungus. Wet thatch can retain too much water during rainy seasons, leaving grass roots susceptible to rot. Grass roots may also grow in the thick thatch layer instead of the soil, making your grass weak and vulnerable to drought conditions and other stresses. Dense thatch can harbor insects and diseases and inhibit fertilizer absorption.
To avoid compromising the long-term health of your lawn, its important to take care of thatch buildup as soon as it becomes an issue. If your lawn is extremely bouncy underfoot or you cant see the soil between the grass blades, you may want to check your thatch layer.
Is It Better To Dethatch Or Aerate
Dethatching and aerating can both help keep a lawn healthy, but they do so in different ways. Dethatching needs to be carried out when the layer of thatch becomes too thick. A lawn that needs dethatching will feel very bouncy, but its best to dig down and remove a small section of grass and soil so you can measure the thatch layer before deciding to go ahead.
A lawn needs aerating, on the other hand, when the soil has become compacted. You may find thin or bare patches in the lawn, or the grass may be growing poorly. Gardening expert and writer Monty Don recommends doing so in September. Even if your lawn has come through this summer unscathed, it is always a good idea to aerate it at this time of year, he says on his site .
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How To Dethatch The Lawn
For northern grass the best time to dethatch your entire lawn is in late summer to early fall when the grass is actively growing. For southern grasses, dethatch in late spring.
In early spring, and for small areas, use a thatching rake, which is a sharp-tined rake that rips the thatch out of the lawn. Leaf rakes or hard rakes can be used but may not work as well. Rake the grass, digging deep to penetrate the thatch and loosen it apart. In early spring removing thatch by raking is best to prevent damaging new growth.
When dethatching your entire lawn use a power dethatcher over the lawn in a pattern that covers the grass only once. Flag irrigation heads and other hidden objects in the lawn to prevent damage. When the task is finished, the lawn will look terrible, but don’t panic. It’s supposed to look that way.
You can rent a power dethatcher from most garden centers. Enlist the help of a couple of friends and a truck when picking up the equipment, it will be heavy and awkward. Read the operator’s manual carefully prior to use.
How And When To Dethatch
As thatch builds up over time, its not necessary to do this practice annually although some people will tell you otherwise.
So long as you keep an eye on the thickness of thatch in your own lawn and if it ever gets over half an inch its time to go to work.
You should always do a light dethatch prior to putting down any new seeds, too.
And certainly dethatch if your lawn has never experienced this essential process before.
For cool season grasses, its best to dethatch late summer/early fall, and do it in late spring if youre in a warm-season region.
Whatever you do, dont dethatch in the heat of summer, when your lawn is going to be already stressed as it is, and youll likely tear up the root system at the same time.
As for the how, its as simple as using a rake or dethatching tool to clear this debris from the lawn surface.
Its much less time-consuming if you use a special dethatching machine and youll be pleasantly surprised to know theyre relatively inexpensive these days.
Check out this article on the best dethatchers on the market for some excellent suggestions, along with some more advice on how to dethatch your lawn properly.
And you can watch the video below for some more top tips on dethatching and overseeding.
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How To Prevent Thatches
The issue of thatch is an outcome of new organic matter getting piled up more quickly in your lawn than the earlier natural matter stocked in it. You should avoid all the practices that can promote this issue. Some of these include the following:
- Avoid overwatering as it can dampen the soil, promoting thatch formation.
- Feed your lawn with good quality fertilizer having higher nitrogen content.
- Avoid excessive use of pesticides as they can damage your grass. The presence of worms can help in decomposing thatch. Using excessive pesticides can kill worms.
- Remember these dos and donts as they can help keep away from thatches on your lawns.
Preventing A Thatch Problem
Since a thatch problem is the result of new organic matter building up more quickly than the older organic matter can break down, avoid practices that result in your grass growing too quickly. For example, do not:
- Water the grass more than is necessary
- Feed it with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen
Staying away from the unnecessary use of pesticides also may help you avoid having to dethatch your lawn. Worm presence helps in the decomposition of thatch. Pesticides, unfortunately, kill worms.
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Scarify And Rake Your Lawn
Scarifying and raking physically removes thatch, dead foliage and moss from your lawn.
Scarifying is important as it removes thatch from around the base of the grass plants which allows are, water and nutrients back into the soil.
Raking controls the build-up of thatch by removing dead foliage and growth from the surface.
The best scarifiers often have changeable cartridges with vertical blades for dislodging thatch and spring tines for controlling thatch and moss from above the surface.
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How Often Should I Dethatch My Lawn
The decision to dethatch your lawn should be grounded in the quality of the grass and the long-term health prospects. As mentioned earlier, any lawn with a ½ inch of thatch or less should not be bothered, as the thin layer can be quite helpful to grass development. If you have 1 inch or more of thatch, its best to conduct a formal review and determine whether or not the layer is beginning to impede grass health. If you arent comfortable conducting this assessment, you should call for the support of a lawn care expert in your area.
Once your lawn has been successfully dethatched and re-seeded, you shouldnt need to take on a dethatching project for several years into the future. Yearly maintenance and quality checks will help ensure long term grass sustainability.
Sodding Canada is a leading lawn care provider in the GTA. With years of experience, we have the toolkit and industry knowledge required to ensure that your lawn is restored to a beautiful, green, lush state, regardless of its current condition. To learn more about our services, or to get a project quote, contact our team today.
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Dethatching Tools: What Youll Need
Like most lawn care tasks, there are both simple and more complex ways to go about dethatching your lawn. If you have a small propertyor are just detaching a small areamany of the manual tools below will work just fine. Power dethatchers, however, are always best for large lawns, especially if you want to save yourself some time and energy.
Lawns in need of a serious dethatching require professional care. Your local TruGreen team will have the tools and experience to remove thick thatch without damaging your existing turf.
If youre planning to tackle the project yourself, here are some important tools for the task.
Dethatching Encourages Root Growth
As thatch builds up, the roots of new grass plants grow within the thatch layer, rather than in the soil. So your grass will have weak, shallow roots, not the deep healthy roots it needs to grow lush and green.
Dethatching helps roots grow deeper, and gets air to your turfs roots, encouraging growth.
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How Do You Dethatch A Lawn
Dethatching your lawn isnt difficult, but it is time-consuming. Depending on the size of your property and which type of lawn dethatcher you are using, it can also be labor-intensive.
To dethatch your lawn, all you need to do is loosen and remove the thatch. This is accomplished manually with a special thatch rake that features sharp, curved tines. It can also be achieved by using an electric dethatcher or a tow-behind dethatcher that performs the same function as a thatch rake, only without manual labor. Once the thatch is loosened, you will need to rake away the debris.
How To Prevent Future Thatch Accumulation
Thatch is a fact of life, but appropriate lawn care can aid in the reduction of severity in the future. Use the right sort and amount of fertilizer for typical development. Water moderately, thoroughly, but rarely. Maintain proper pH levels by adjusting them as needed. Aerate your grass on a regular basis to allow new plants to thrive.
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The Best Time To Dethatch
The period of active growth and warming temperatures of spring are ideal for dethatching, but exactly when in spring depends on the type of turf you have.
Both warm-season and cold-season turf types should be dethatched after they are actively growing. A general rule of thumb is to wait until they have been mowed a couple of times. For warm-season turf, this typically happens in late spring to early summer. For cold-season turf, the right time is usually early spring. Cold-season grasses can also be de-thatched in early fall while the grass is still growing, as it needs time to re-establish before the frost season.
Common warm-season grasses include Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bermuda, Bahia and Centipede. Common cold-season grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, rough bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass.
What Is A Dethatcher
Lawn dethatchers may be used to remove dead grass from turfgrass or to reduce build-up of moss in your lawn by removing competition for water and nutrients. Dethatchers should only be used when grass/weeds need to be replaced or for certain types of weeding or pre-emergent weed control. Never use dethatchers on new seeding unless the seed is sown first and dethatching takes place immediately after germination. If you dethatch too early, you will undo the work of the lawn seeding process, and your dethatching efforts will be wasted.
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When Should You Dethatch Your Lawn
Dethatching should only be performed when the weather is optimal to ensure a fast recovery of your grass type. Late August to early October is the optimum time to dethatch cool-season lawns, depending on your location and the speed with which the grass is growing. This is when the grass grows the fastest and there are fewer weeds to damage the grass.
Late spring or early summer is the best season to dethatch warm-season lawns these grasses will have fully greened and are growing fast by this point. Fertilize lightly once a month and alternate with frequent, deep watering to speed up the recovery of the grass.
Check your lawn: it may be time to dethatch your grass if water runs off without seeping into the ground.
Does The Type Of Grass Affect The Time You Should Dethatch
In one word: Yes! Different types of grass require very different approaches in terms of care and maintenance.
- Warm Season Grass. In parts of the country where winters are frigid, you would want to avoid dethatching warm season grasses in March or April because spring frosts will likely impede growth and cause damage. In Arizona, however, this can be the best time to detatch your lawn if you have warm season grass. You’re looking for a time when the night time air temperatures are averaging 60 degrees or more, and your grass has started to produce new growth.
- Cool Season Grass. Cool season grasses tend to be lower maintenance and often require less thatching. Generally speaking, early fall tends to be the best time to detatch cool season grasses if it does become necessary.
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