Know the Dethatching Process

With the spring right around the corner, it is time to start thinking about lawn care and landscape maintenance. One of the many burdens of spring and summer lawn care is learning how to dethatch your yard.

Thatch is that strange layer of organic debris, a mix of living and dead plant material, that forms at the base of grass plants. While maintaining a thin layer, about a half-inch, of organic matter that quickly breaks down can be beneficial to the health of your lawn, anything thicker can be detrimental.

Knowing Why To Dethatch

Thatch is strange because it can both help and harm your grass. A small layer typically helps to provide nutrients and protect the grass roots. However, when thatch becomes greater than an inch thick, it becomes more of a barricade for vital nutrients. You will probably see patches of dead grass forming when the debris layer gets that thick because water is not adequately reaching the roots. To prevent such damage, it is necessary to deal with thatch, but again, you need to know when thatch is beneficial and when it is harmful.

Knowing When To Dethatch

Before you decide to dethatch your yard, check your thatch layer and take note of the time of year. You can check your lawn's thatch layer by digging up a small portion of your lawn using a spade or garden trowel. Examine the sample and measure the layer. If it is one to two inches thick, then you likely need to dethatch your yard, but only do so during the high growth season for your grass. This process inevitably removes healthy grass and thatch material, so by only performing this task during growth seasons, your yard should heal quickly.

Knowing How To Dethatch

There are several tools you can choose from to dethatch your lawn: manual rakes, power rakes and vertical mowers. Manual thatching rakes have curved blades and short tines and are quite heavy. They are generally best for light thatch jobs. Power rakes resemble mowers and have motor-powered, rotating tines that dig into the soil level, pulling up thin layers of thatch. Finally, vertical mowers or verticutters are best for thick thatch layers because they are more aggressive, slicing through the thatch and often pulling up some grass roots.

Dethatching your sod is a great way to ensure you have a healthy lawn all spring and summer long. While a thin layer of thatch is not unhealthy for your grass, allowing the layer to get too thick can result in weak growth and brown patches. Also, the thicker the thatch layer, the harder the dethatching job, though power tools can help relieve some of the stress of the task. If your lawn needs work, then check out Peavey Mart for dethatching equipment and expert advice.