Before the snow flies, you should think about dethatching your lawn, especially if your grass is a cool season grass. Dethatching your lawn is an important part of keeping a healthy lawn, and should be done annually. To help you, I’ve got easy to follow instructions for dethatching your lawn. Follow them, and you can’t go wrong!
Dethatching Your Lawn
What is dethatching anyway? Some people incorrectly assume that dethatching is the same as aerating. While they both accomplish the same end by allowing more air and water to reach the roots of your lawn, the means are entirely different. Aerating is like poking holes into your lawn. These holes penetrate about 3-4 inches into the soil, and open things up for more water, air and fertilizer to feed your lawn. Dethatching involves removing some of the thatch layer from your lawn.
What Is Thatch?
All lawns have a layer of thatch. This is essentially dead grasses that lie between the healthy blades and the soil. Thatch builds up over time, and should be removed when it exceeds 1″ in depth. A thin layer is a helpful protection for your lawn from extremes in temperature, but a thatch layer that is too thick and deep chokes your lawn by blocking water and air from reaching the root system.
Easy To Follow Instructions for Dethatching Your Lawn
- For smaller areas, use a special rake called a thatching rake, which works better than a leaf rake. For larger areas, you may want to rent a power dethatcher.
- Run the thatching rake over the lawn. Dig deep to be sure you penetrate and loosen the thatch layer. You should see dead grass coming out of the lawn as you do this.
- If you use a power dethatcher, just run it over the lawn once, as you would when you mow. The grass will look ragged after you do this, but that’s completely normal.
- After you have dethatched the lawn, use a regular leaf rake to rake up the debris. Bag it and dispose of it, or toss it in your compost bin.
- Now is a great time to aerate your lawn if desired.
- Apply fertilizer and water your lawn deeply.
If you dethatch your lawn in spring, you should see new growth appear in about 3-4 weeks, and the lawn appearance should improve drastically. Here is more information on how to care for your lawn in the fall for maximum spring growth.