Thatch is essentially little bits of grass that have died off during your turf’s natural lifecycle. A little bit of thatch is actually a good thing. It helps to add nutrients back into your soil. Up to about a 1/2 inch of thatch is good for your lawn. However, if thatch builds up beyond a 1/2 inch, it can create a barrier above the soil, preventing it from receiving the air and moisture that it needs to keep your grass healthy. Your grass can begin to take root in the thatch instead of your soil. This will create a weaker root system, leaving your turf more susceptible to drought and disease.
The best time to dethatch your lawn is prior to aeration. For a cool-season grass, like Fescue, this will be in the late summer or early fall. For warm-season grasses like Bermuda or Zoysia, the best time to dethatch is during the late spring.
Thatch rakes or convex rakes are readily available, but they require manual pulling through your lawn. If you are up for a little bit of a workout and/or have a smaller size lawn, these can be a great option. They are very effective.
Power rakes are also effective and involve a little less manual labor. Power rakes can be rented at most local home improvement stores. Be sure to note your particular grass variety when renting the rake, however, so you do not damage your lawn.
If you have a riding mower, you can also purchase a variety of dethatching attachments that you simply drag behind the mower.
Dethatching your lawn once per year should do the trick. Dethatching at the optimal time for your turf type will maximize the benefits and prevent damage to your lawn.
Do you have questions about dethatching? Are you concerned about your lawn? We would love to help! Contact us today.