Even the highest quality of lawns develops thatch over a period of time. It is essential that as an owner, you want to maintain your lawn enough that unhealthy levels of thatch don’t build up.
What is Dethatching?
Dethatching is a process of removing the top layer of thatch that can build up on your lawn. This process can remove dead grass, any leaves, stems and branches and any over crowding on the top surface of your lawn. When this layer of thatch builds up, it can reduce the health of your lawn and restrict the levels of air, water and other nutrients to get through to the roots. When dethatching not all thatch should be removed as a small amount is beneficial to the lawn. A small amount of thatch may provide insulating benefits and protect your lawn from temperature and moisture fluctuations.
Thatch is a super powerful insulator so it helps to know what your lawn looks like in its optimal form before making the call to dethatch. Dethatching is the process of removing this layer, removing the risk of creating damage and mitigate any negative effects this layer of thatch might have on your lawn. This process will restore your turf to its former glory and can be accomplished with a variety of tools including manual and mechanical dethatchers. One of the benefits of a well-done dethatched lawn, is that you can have the best-looking lawn on the street or in the city.
Excessive thatch can be a breading ground for pests and diseases so depending on the size of your lawn, you can use either a low level mechanical or a heavier duty dethatcher.
How to tell if dethatching your lawn is necessary?
If your lawn feels like a sponge under your feet or rubbery you may want to have a look and see if you can see any build up on the upper layer. If there is a layer on top of your blades of grass you may want to think about dethatching. Ideally you want to wait till autumn where the grass is at its peak growth potential. In areas where there are high amounts of foot traffic, pets, or any sporting activities, it is best to maintain these areas more regularly. This will enable your lawn to breath and the grass to spread into other areas of your property or garden.
For gardens with higher levels of moss and build up, it is recommended that you use an iron first. Some owners like to mix products in that increase the pH level of the soil to prevent future grow and buildup of moss. If there is a buildup you need to stay on top of this and carefully maintain the turf accordingly. Generally, it is good to put iron in your soil when the growth period is blooming. Timing and the amount of time since you last dethatched your lawn is an indicator on when a good time to start the process is. Sometimes as an owner you need to dethatch your lawn once a year, or ever second year and so forth.
It is hard to know when the ideal point to start the dethatching process is as it only occurs when there is a level of build up so bad that your lawn looks and feels different. It will come down to how well you know your lawn and how often you maintain it to know when the good time is. Make sure the season is correct and promotes growth and you’re away laughing.
When to dethatch your lawn?
When dethatching, you need to make sure that you remove the thatch at the correct time. When your grass is growing and it is active, you can go through the process as there is enough growth and a big enough root system that lets healthy regrowth occur. This will give the grass ample time to repair and respond to any dethatching that you may have done. Think of dethatching as giving your lawn a haircut. Generally, you should really only need to dethatch once or twice a year and this depends on entirely where you live and what season it is.
If you see a large layer of dead roots and grass clippings this will be a layer of thatch that needs to be removed. A half an inch or more is a good indicator of when you should dethatch your lawn. A half an inch is enough to block out sunlight and essential nutrients. This amount of build up can also suffocate your lawns leading to it decaying and diminishing. Thatch can be a light brown layer of build up over the years and can make your lawn looked scalped and chapped.
If you haven’t fertilized the lawn in a while it pays to wait until you have dethatched. So as an owner you can create the ideal growth environment for the best lawn out there. If it has lightly rained in the last 24 hours, and you’d like to dethatch, now’s the time as it avoids the risk of the soil not having enough moisture. If you are cautious and having dethatched in a long time or ever, it might pay off to cut the section into chunks and do small areas at a time. This helps you practice the process and make sure there isn’t any greater damage to the turf.
Dethatching is a lawn and injurious project so you must make sure that you don’t make any mistakes and unnecessary damage. A quest for the perfect lawn takes time, effort and correct judgement. If there are low levels of buildup and dead matter and your lawn looks fine, it might pay to take a closer look. However, it can be pretty noticeable when a lawn needs to be dethatched.
Dethatching Lawn Benefits
With the thatch removed, air, water, nutrients and other chemicals you use to maintain your lawn can do their job more effectively. The turf overall becomes healthier and easier to maintain. A great looking lawn can add value to the property or home as well as being very great to look at. One benefit to dethatching is removing unwanted level of moss that can link itself to the soil and interrupt the growth of the roots. This can also stop build up of new roots that the grass can generate. When removing the layer of moss, you help create space and room for growth and prosperity.
When you have dethatched it also gives you the option to plant more grass seed around the area to enable new growth and fix patched areas of turf. In early spring for example, there may be a level of buildup that you’d like to remove however due to the season it may not be the best for growth. As an owner you have to make the decision whether the potential dethatching process could do more damage than good in an unideal month.
In an off season you may run the risk of damaging your turf and tearing up tender growth spurts that may be looking for their opportunity. If you can dethatch your lawn carefully you can choose to remove any sort of matting that occurs.
Your grass needs space above and below for it to reach its optimal growth levels. Aeration will enable your lawns to breath efficiently might even help save energy costs in maintaining your lawn. Aeration helps create a stronger and healthier overall lawn which in turn will alleviate soil compaction and enable nutrients to get to the plant. There are professional aerators who sometime use specialized rollers to sweep over the lawn and put small holes in the lawn which can improve drainage. Ideally you want to do make sure that you aerate and dethatch your lawn together as this will be beneficial to the overall health of your lawn.
When ever your lawn is creating healthy blades of grass and is in its growth period it is always a great time. If the growth of the lawn is slow and it is out of season, make sure you don’t go all out on aeration, especially if you’re poking holes all over your lawn. Most core aerators are self-propelled machines so it’s good to have both a dethatcher and one of these handy. However, if you are more budget orientated, then you can aerate manually with a rake. Obviously, the quality of the spread will vary and the hole sizes will inevitably be shallower. Aeration works best when the moisture levels in the soil are high.