If you want your lawn to remain healthy and green, you need to maintain it well. Most people don’t really understand what’s included in lawn maintenance and assume that mowing is enough to keep it healthy.
Unfortunately it’s not that easy, as grass is delicate and requires a lot of care to stay green and healthy. Professional landscapers usually develop an annual lawn maintenance plan that includes procedures like fertilization, overseeding, liming, dethatching, and aeration.
Dethatcher vs. Aerator – What Do They Mean?
Homeowners often confuse dethatching and aeration because they sound similar on paper. Both procedures remove the excess matter from the soil to allow the roots and grass to breathe and receive nutrition freely. However, they are two different techniques that help your lawn in different ways. Here’s a brief explanation about aeration and dethatching.
- Dethatching Process – Thatch is the natural organic matter that falls on the soil surface. This includes leaves, grass clippings, flowers and fruit from nearby trees, etc. It is useful when present in moderate amounts, as it keeps the soil moist and constantly supplies nutrients to it. Thatch can also protect the soil from extreme temperature changes so a healthy layer of it is useful. However, if the layer is too thick, it can form a barrier between the soil and air outside. That will suffocate the roots and kill the grass. The dethatching process removes the excess thatch and ensures that only a healthy layer remains on the surface.
- Aeration Process – Your lawn’s soil can become compacted over time due to pressure, weight, and gravity. This can make the surface hard, which can compress the roots and stifle them. A professional landscaper can help you avoid this with a thorough aeration service. Through this process, you can remove small plugs of soil from the surface and allow the remainder of it to breathe. Aeration helps release the pressure and loosens the soil, which allows the grass roots to grow and spread.
Dethatching Lawn Tips – Three Things You Need to Know
You need to inspect the ground carefully to determine whether you need to dethatch or aerate the ground. Professionals touch and test the soil before they recommend a step; if the soil is severely compacted, dethatching just won’t help. However, if soil compaction isn’t the problem, you won’t need aeration. Here are three things you should know about dethatching:
- How Do You Determine That The Ground Needs Dethatching?
It’s easy to determine whether your lawn requires dethatching. All you need to do is press it and see if it feels spongy and bouncy. If the ground feels like a cushion and gives under the pressure from your hand, you have a lot of thatch on the surface. After you’ve tested the surface, look at the new shoots. If the thatch barrier is too thick and stiff, the grass shoots won’t be able to emerge from the soil. However, if the thatch is thin and lose, the shoots will pass through the layer easily. If you don’t see these signs, you don’t need to hire a professional to inspect your lawn and dethatch it. You can let your lawn be, and postpone maintenance for a few more months. However, if the ground is too spongy and the grass shoots can’t penetrate the layer of thatch, you need to hire professionals for dethatching. You only need 3/4th of an inch of thatch to keep the soil underneath healthy and nourished. Unlike aerating, dethatching is only performed if needed. Your lawn needs a small amount of thatch to protect the soil so if dethatch too often, you’ll strip the layer completely and expose the soil to the air. Without the thatch layer, the moisture in the soil will evaporate faster and your ground will become hard and dense.
- What Time of The Year Do You Need Dethatching?
This depends on the weather conditions, the condition of the soil, and the type of grass. In most cases, we perform dethatching during springtime. This process should be performed before your other treatments because you take mass away from the soil. You should fertilize, lime, or overseed only after the dethatching process is done. If you perform these steps before dethatching, you’ll remove most of the benefits during the process. For example, if you overseed before you dethatch; the process will remove most of the added seeds along with the excess thatch. You will have to overseed again to see any positive results after the thatch is removed. This will help ensure your lawn has ample new growth during the upcoming season.
- You Don’t Have to Dethatch the Entire Lawn
As mentioned earlier, you should only dethatch as much as you need. If you dethatch your entire lawn, you will strip the soil and remove all thatch in one area and not remove enough in others. Professionals always inspect different areas of the lawn; look at areas with more foliage and thatch, before recommending solutions. Dethatching is a carefully planned process that requires a large machine. The professional will rake the soil surface to remove a small layer of the thatch until they get the desired results. They inspect their progress every time they go over a specific area to ensure they don’t strip too much material from the surface.
Steps Professionals Take to Prepare Your Lawn
Professional landscapers will prepare the lawn carefully before they start the dethatching process. Here’s what they do:
- Cut the grass to half its normal length to ensure the soil is visible from above. This allows professionals to control the amount of thatch they remove when they run the dethatcher over the surface.
- Mark items like sprinkler nozzles and pipes to ensure they’re not harmed by the dethatcher. Once these objects are marked, the professional will maneuver around the installations and manually remove any excess thatch from the area.
If you have more questions about dethatching, you should contact a professional. They will explain the process in detail and ensure all excess thatch is removed from your lawn.