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Dethatching

Why, When, and How to Dethatch Your lawn?

Dethatching your lawn can make it healthy and vibrant. As per experts, thatch is described as an intermingled layer of dead and living plant tissues that dwells on the soil surface beneath the green grass surface. 

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Thatch in a lawn prevents nutrients and water from reaching the roots of your grass. Not all yards require dethatching; however, when your lawn requires it, you should know the why, when and how of this landscaping process.

Why dethatch your lawn? 

Thatch more than one inch can become a hurdle. It blocks the fertilizer, water and even air. The roots have no space to breathe; hence during the drought season, they suffocate. Also, thick thatch acts like a breeding ground for several insect pests and diseases. 

Once you start getting a spongy feel on your lawn, you can make out the presence of thatch in the yard. Thatch can be a big menace as it can hamper the growth of roots in your yard. Thus you have a big reason to get rid of these. It also offers several other benefits, which give you enough reasons to dethatch your lawn. Some of these reasons include the following:

  • Improves the drainage system in your lawn 
  • It helps water, air and nutrients enter the soil 
  • Enhance the root growth 
  • It helps fertilizer to reach the soil quickly
  • Encourages new root growth and stimulates current grassroots 
  • Help in preparing lawn for reseeding/overseeding by helping new seed to allow good soil contact and offer a good chance of germination 
  • Promotes healthy grass allowing it to combat weeds
  • Prevents diseases and pests 

Thus you have several benefits to reap when you dethatch your lawn.

When to dethatch your lawn? 

A thin thatch layer can help the air, nutrients, and water enter the soil and the roots. But when we see thatch growing thick, the grass of your lawn suffers. 

Before you dethatch, check the thatch layer on your lawn. For doing this, using a spade or trowel can help you a lot. You have to dig the lawn surface with a small wedge to check the presence of thatch. You can easily measure the thatch layer. If you find the size of the thatch to be 1-2 inches or more, you will notice the growth of poor grass color and witness slow growth. 

You have to dethatch once you notice that the thatch has gone beyond the healthy mark. Your dethatching efforts depend upon the grass growth speed. It depends upon the type of grass you have grown. The active grass growth can help speed up the lawn’s recovery. Once you keep these things in your mind, you can start the dethatching process. 

If you have cool-season grass on your lawns like Kentucky bluegrass, the ideal time is the late summer or even the early fall. For the warm-season grasses, including Zoysia grass or Bermudagrass, the best time to dethatch is during the peak growth in the early summer. Avoid dethatching your lawn when it is stressed or dormant. Doing this can ruin it beyond recovery.

How to dethatch your lawn? 

Once you notice the thatch layer is more than two inches, you can plan for a dethatching schedule on your lawn. However, excessive thatch demands more than one removal session. Hence removing too much of the thatch can ruin the roots. Hiring a competent lawn care service provider can help you in this task. 

For small lawn owners, you can work with a dethatching rake. However, for bigger lawns, you can get a dethatcher on rent. These are also called verticutter, vertical cutter, or power, useful for large yards.

You have to mow your lawn to half the normal height before starting the dethatching process. Also, never plan to fertilize your lawn before dethatching your yard. A dethatching rake is simple, as you can use it like any other regular rake. You must dig the tines over the thatch and then pull it upward. This helps in making the buildup lose, which you can easily remove.  

If you are hiring any professional, you have to ask them to adjust the space and even cut the depth of the grass. Make sure that the blades are set half-inch deep into the soil. If you are using a dethatcher independently, follow the instructions carefully. These are heavy equipment. Check for dethatching tools.

What to do after dethatching? 

Check the rags after you dethatch and get rid of these as soon as possible. If you find any bare spots on your lawn, make sure you apply some patching products to fix them. You can easily feed the rest of your grass by watering the entire yard. This will help the lawn recover from issues like prodding and poking. 

Once you complete the dethatching process, it is time to overseed your yard. It will bring your lawn back on track for having lush green grass. Consider using quality grass seed, which will improve your lawn’s sustainability. 

If you want to prevent the buildup of thatch, you have to test your soil once in four years and follow the recommendations after the test to keep the nutrient and pH at the optimal level. Once you dethatch, your lawn will require some time to revive the pH balance, which will prove beneficial in thatch-reducing microorganisms. 

Aerate once a year and fix the lawn with gypsum to loosen soil, which helps in root growth. Also, you have to fertilize your lawn as per the test results seeking the help of the best fertilizers. It will help supply nitrogen to the soil and follow a good watering schedule and best mowing practices.

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 don’ts as they can help keep away from thatches on your lawns.

How often should you dethatch your lawn?

There are a few grass types which should be dethatched every year, including both the cool-season and warm-season grasses. The former include Kentucky Bluegrass and Creeping Bentgrass, while the latter include Zoysiagrass and Bermudagrass. 

The rest of the grass types do not need it. Thatches take time to develop, so there is no need to dethatch every year. You have to dethatch once in five years for the minimal thatch-prone types, including rye or fescue. Regardless of the schedule you follow, check your lawn once a year to find out the presence of accumulated thatch.

Can dethatching damage the lawn?

It is always good to proceed as per the caution while dethatching your lawn. There are chances of removing an extra amount of mulch plant material. It can increase the recovery time. Making so much damage to your lawn that your grass can become dry, allowing its death. However, if your lawn is in a bad state, dethatching your lawn using a rake or machine is a good idea. It removes the thatch without entering the soil; hence, less damage is caused to the grass. 

You can always keep your lawn green and healthy by learning why, when and how to dethatch your yard correctly and adding steps to prevent thatch. Hiring competent groups like Eden can give good results. The group is committed to offering you the best lawn care services to enjoy a gorgeous and healthy lawn, making your neighbors envious. 

Lawn care is all in the details, and we take care of every single one to give you the lawn of your dreams. Contact us today!

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