Dethatching to Improve Your Lawn

 

It’s spring and everyone is busy mowing, trimming, weeding and watering their lawns. Many people also take the time to add weed control and fertilizer to insure a full, green lawn that will continue to thrive until autumn. Despite all this careful lawn grooming, however, many homeowners are disappointed with the results they see because they haven’t bothered to dethatch their lawn. In some cases, they don’t even know what thatch is or they don’t understand how important it is to a healthy lawn.

What Is Thatch?

Thatch is the layer of debris and dead grass that settles on the ground at the base of your lawn. It lies just above the surface of the ground and will tend to build up over time because it decomposes slowly. The good thing about thatch is that a layer of it does help protect the roots of your grass from too much heat. It will help hold moisture in after the rain and protects the delicate blades of new grass as it comes up. The down side of thatch is that it does tend to accumulate over time and needs to be removed every few years to prevent it from choking out healthy grass or harboring bugs, fungi and decreasing oxygen to plant roots.

When Does Thatch Become a Problem?

Thatch does its best work when it is about ¼ to ½ inch thick. If it’s thicker than a half-inch, it can prevent water from getting to the roots of the living grass. It may also restrict healthy air flow and become a damp environment for diseases of the soil and grass.

Try digging up a plug of grass and measuring the thatch to see how thick it is, or ask a lawn care professional (PennTurf specializes in a variety of lawn care options, including dethatching).

Successful Thatch Removal

If your lawn has too much thatch, you may need to invest in a thatch rake or a dethatching machine (most people would have to rent one and learn how to use it). If you’d rather have the experts take care of it, PennTurf and other lawn care professionals can schedule a time to dethatch your lawn for you. Right now is the best time to schedule your lawn’s dethatching. If done in late spring or early summer, the lawn will have plenty of time to heal and develop stronger roots and fill in. The appropriate time for dethatching, however, will depend on the lawn and its condition.

Some lawns may need to be dethatched every year, while others won’t need it that often. It depends largely on how bad the current thatch is, the type of grass on your lawn and weather conditions. You can call Penn Turf at 724-758-3647 to request a free estimate on dethatching your lawn.

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