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Thatching & Lawncare

 

Don't let thatch accumulate excessively in your lawn. This dense layer of grass plant crowns, roots, and living and dead stems at the surface of the soil works like a thatched roof that blocks water, air, and fertilizer from getting to the roots. As a result, the roots become very weak and shallow. Susceptibility to browning and thinning follows eventually during drought and hot seasons. More than that, the thatch layer poses as a breeding ground for insects and multiplication of disease spores.

Thatch isn't caused primarily by grass clippings. Soil microorganisms can digest little finely chopped clippings and thus don't add to thatch build-up. Just make sure that your lawn mower blades are regularly sharpened and your lawn is mowed often to achieve fine clippings. 

If you enjoy feeling the lawn under your bare feet then you will surely know the time to remove the thatch. Walk on the turf and if it seems too spongy, it is time to get the thatch out. When water runs off the surface of your lawn then it is also time to remove the thatch. 

The following are steps in removing the thatch:

  •  Kneel on your lawn to determine if your lawn has excessive thatch. If the build-up is more than one inch then proceed to the next step.

 

  • De-thatch your lawn by ripping out the thick thatch that is blocking air, water and light from reaching the surface. The lawn may look rough for awhile but new grass will grow soon.

 

  • Using a de-thatching or stiff-tined garden rake to scrape the lawn. Make sure that you dig the tines right into the thatch and get out as many as you can without the grass.

 

  •  If you can't see the ground after raking vigorously, try using a de-thatching blade. Some lawn mowers have a de-thatching blade but you can also rent a de-thatcher from a reliable dealer which can teach you how to operate it with caution.

 

  • If your lawn is dried up you should water it the day before de-thatching. Move the de-thatcher starting from the outermost part of your lawn so that you can master it before going into the high-traffic sections.

 

  •  Always keep your eyes on what you are doing. Make sure that the de-thatching blades are on target by cutting through the thatch layer without disturbing the surface of the soil. Remember to pass the machine over each section of the lawn just once.

 

  • Clean up the piles of removed thatch using a leaf rake and recycle them as compost.
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