Should I Aerate Or Dethatch My Lawn
Most homeowners arent satisfied with the result they got from mowing, watering, and fertilizing their lawns.
Thats why they want to know if aeration or dethatching will improve their lawn.
However, for you to improve the condition of your lawn, you should aerate or dethatch your lawn.
Aerating and dethatching are two different ways to improve the health conditions of your lawn.
Therefore, its most beneficial to aerate first before dethatching your lawn.
Its important you aerate and dethatch your lawn because it will help their roots to penetrate the soil and increase flow of air, absorb water and nutrients in their core for better root growth.
Aerating and dethatching are part of maintenance thatll make your lawn remain healthy and greenish.
How healthy and greenish your lawn looks, depends on how you take care of it.
In this article, youll learn the importance of aerating or dethatching of your lawn and the easiest way to do it.
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How To Prevent Thatch Build
To maintain your lawn’s appearance, always keep an eye out for the thatch buildup. Proper turf management will also reduce the frequency you need to rip and tear the grass using dangerous machines/tools.
As previously mentioned, some grass species develop thatch quicker than others. This includes Kentucky bluegrass, which has an aggressive growth that includes thatch.
Expert Tip: If you mix in some perennial ryegrass or tall fescue on your lawn, this will reduce the likelihood of thatch buildup in your yard.
Another thing to do is test the soil periodically to monitor its acidity and nutrient levels. You will need to determine the amount of lime you need to maintain healthy lawn growth and microbial populations that discourage thatch.
Other methods to control thatch are good watering, proper mowing techniques, and fertilization. Avoid setting the lawnmower too low or over-fertilizing in such a short time, as both may result in rapid thatch buildup.
A Note About Scarifying Tools
Depending on the size of your lawn, you might choose to scarify manually or with a powered machine.
At the end of the day, the type of tool you use is up to. However, in my opinion, good rated lawn scarifiers are powered machines which have changeable cassettes one for raking and another for de-thatching.
Not only do they make the job easier on your back and hands, but you can do both jobs with the same machine.
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Thatch: A Barrier To Healthy Lawns
As previously mentioned, thatch refers to a layer between the soil and the grass that is composed of:
- dead and living grass shoots
- and roots
A thin layer of thatch is ideal if it’s about half an inch. This helps maintain consistent soil moisture and temperature. But once it gets thicker than that, it will only cause you problems.
Grasses produce thatch at different rates, depending on the variety. Warm climate grasses tend to form thatch faster, so they will need more frequent dethatching. Meanwhile, cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass gradually develop thatch.
Is It Too Late To Dethatch My Lawn
I am just now finding out that I should probably dethatch and seed my lawn. I moved into the house in the middle of summer and not much lawn care was done by the previous owner, so there is some thatch in the lawn.
Now it is early October and, I live in Kansas City. I just read this SE post that says around Labor Day is the ideal time to dethatch cool season lawns. My neighbors have all dethatched their lawns in the last month or so.
Is it too late for me to do it now if I can get it done by mid October?
Along with dethatching usually comes overseeding. The seeding is the important thing to time. It’s a good time to put down more grass seed to fill in bare/thin spots now that you’ve opened up the soil. Ideally you want the soil temperature to be above 65 degF for cool season grasses.
It’s going to depend on what type of grass you currently have and what type of grass seed you plan on putting down.
Perennial ryegrass is one of the quickest to establish.
Tall fescues and fine fescues are a little slower but fairly quick. 1-2 weeks you’ll have full germination and the lawn will be pretty well established for winter in about 4 weeks total.
Kentucky bluegrass takes longer to fully germinate. Up to 4 weeks and then needs time to establish as well.
If your in Kansas City, KS it looks like you should have enough time to get perennial rye or fescue to establish before winter if you put it down soon. see
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Tools For Dethatching A Lawn
It goes without saying that to dethatch your lawn properly, you need lawn care tools designed for the job. There are a number of tools at your disposal, from vertical mowers to power rakes to manual rakes.
Obviously, some of these are very specialized, so things such as vertical mowers could either be rented, or the work carried out by a specialist lawn care company who offer lawn dethatching as a service.
As they do a large volume of this type of work, theyll have things like a vertical mower and power dethatchers to hand. Plus, they dethatch lawns for a living, so theyll likely do a much better job than you will! They would also be happy to aerate your yard at the same time, no doubt. That leaves you with just having to fertilize your lawn, and regular mowing to worry about.
How To Stop Thatch Overgrowth
As we mentioned above, thatch doesnt usually grow out of control on its own. Poor lawn management or severe climate issues often prevent the thatch from breaking down, leading to a damaging layer that can hurt your lawn over time.
Weve included some of the top ways to adjust your lawn care schedule to prevent too much thatch from forming.
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When Is The Best Time To Dethatch Your Lawn
Wondering when is the best time to dethatch a lawn? This is what you need to know
Thick thatch can affect the growth of the grass in your yard, but you might be asking when is the best time to dethatch a lawn to improve its health.
Thatch occurs in every lawn and a thin layer of the dead turf material forms as part of the natural growth process. If its less than half an inch in depth, its beneficial to the lawns health. But a layer thats thick isnt good for the grass and needs attention at the right moment in the gardening calendar.
Here, we look at when you should dethatch a lawn to keep the grass included in your backyard landscaping ideas healthy and verdant.
Improves Water And Air Flow
Speaking of strangling, lots of thatch on your lawn can choke out existing grasses, preventing air and water from flowing freely and accessing the root system.
Once you remove all that dead weight, air and water will be able to penetrate the soil, and over time youll start to see a greener, lusher lawn as a result.
If you dont dethatch, what happens is that layer of dead material soaks up any rainfall like a sponge, preventing the goodness from reaching the grass roots.
Eventually, youll start to see patches of brown or yellow grass appear as your lawn isnt getting enough water soaking through into the soil.
And while youre at it, you should take a look at this article if youd like more tips on how to make your grass thicker and fuller, as Im pretty sure dethatching will be a part of it.
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What Is The Best Dethatching Tool For Lawn Health
There are various dethatching tools in the market, but you need to be careful when selecting them. This is because the tool you choose will determine the health and quality of your grass. The following are a few best dethatching tools you can use for your lawn.
What Month Should I Dethatch My Lawn
Dethatching is best at the peak of your lawns growing season. Cool-season grass species or turfgrasses like tall fescue, bluegrass, and ryegrass should be dethatched in the late summer or early fall. Warm-season grass species like bermuda grass and bahiagrass should be dethatched in the late spring or early summer.
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Ready The Lawn For Scarifying Or Raking
Planning ahead is important. You need short dry grass for raking or scarifying so bring the grass height down gradually over a week or two before hand. This doesnt shock the grass whilst also allowing air deeper into the turf helping dry the grass.
If you have any weeds in your lawn then you can manually remove them but don’t use any weed killer. Scarifying within a few weeks of weed killer application disrupts the weed killing process and in addition may cause seed germination issues if you are going to over seed after scarifying. Scarifying can help control some creeping weeds though.
The final bit of preparation is to have good soil moisture so that the lawn recovers as quickly as possible afterwards. If there is too much or too little you need to either wait until the conditions improve, assist them to improve or not rake or scarify at all.
The day before attacking the lawn mow it as close as possible without scalping. Long grass just creates resistance to the scarifier with ultimately more rubbish to collect. Dry grass and moss makes life a lot easier as well. Plan to rake on a dry day with no dew around. The afternoons are often best. If the weather doesnt play ball, keep the grass short until you get another raking opportunity.
Common Causes Of Thatch
If your lawn has an unruly, excessive layer of thatch, it usually comes from a few things.
Kentucky bluegrass is the last common cause. It grows underground stems that take longer to break down.
Once the layer builds up to between one-half and one inch, it stops being helpful and starts to cause a number of problems.
Too much thatch can reduce fertilizer or pesticide effectiveness and give fertile ground to insects or diseases.
Your grass can also eventually start to spread its roots through the thatch instead of the soil. Thatch wont hold water well, leaving that grass vulnerable to cold, heat and drought stress.
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Dethatching With A Power Rake
Power rakes are similar to walk-behind lawn mowers and have rotating tines that slice into the grass/turf. These tines dig into the thatch and go all the way into the soil to pull pieces up and loosen/rake your lawn thatch, bringing it to the surface of your lawn.
These power rakes are mainly good for thin layers of thatch. Power rakes are not a great option for sensitive or young grass. You would want to use this on strong grass that you arent worried to rip out, and I usually recommend overseeding afterward.
Most people who use a power rake will rent a professional one from their local hardward store or box store, but you can purchase one if you know youll be detatching your lawn pretty regularly.
My Lawn Dethatcher Setup
I personally own this Greenworks Dethatcher, and it works really well. I dont like that its corded, but I own a Dewalt portable power station, so when its time to dethatch my yard I just strap that on top, and plug the Greenworks power rake right into that which makes it cord-free, running on my Dewalt batteries.
Im really happy with this set-up, but I probably wouldnt recommend the Greenworks Dethatcher to someone with a large yard who doesnt have a battery-powered generator setup like mine. Dragging a cord around a big yard can be frustrating.
If you have a small yard, the Greenworks tool is a great value and probably a better option than renting.
Should You Dethatch Your Lawn Every Spring
Is there another time of year that your lawn would be better suited for dethatching?
Dethatching your lawn in early to mid-Spring is best for most grass types because thats when grass plant systems put on the most leaf and root growth. The damage physical dethatching does to lawns is temporary and can be quickly repaired naturally when lawns are growing vigorously. Not all grass types need to be dethatched every year though. Usually only rhizomatic and stoloniferous types will benefit from annual dethatching.
The exception to this would be all warm season grass types which dont typically grow their fastest until the end of Spring so dethaching down south should be delayed until May or June unless you plan on only dethatching with liquid sprayable products.
Make sure to see this post for a description of how these sprayable products work and which liquid thatch remover is best.
You should also take a look at this guide to Spring lawn care for a comprehensive seasonal plan.
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Why When And How To Dethatch Your Lawn
Not all lawns need dethatching, but when your lawn does need it, knowing how to dethatch your lawn is crucial to its future. Done properly, dethatching helps restore your lawn to health and keep it beautiful in years to come. By learning why, when and how to dethatch, you can keep your thick, lush grass on track. These lawn dethatching basics can help understand:
Improves Germination Results Of Over
As we have learned of the hazards of fertilizing a thickly thatched lawn, the same principle applies to applying new grass seed . High quality grass seed is not cheap so homeowners should be aware that strong winds and heavy rainfall could interefer with their over-seeding efforts. Another concern is birds and rodents, since they love the taste of freshly scattered grass seed. De-thatching the lawn prior to over-seeding helps address these concerns by increasing the contact of the seed with soil, where it can commence germination. Reducing the thatch also boosts the chances of successful germination since the young seedlings have less thatch to battle against as they develop and sprout. For these reasons, we highly recommend pairing de-thatching with over-seeding.
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What Period Of The Year Do You Need To Dethatch
Dethatching of lawn varies because of the difference in the weather conditions, the conditions of the soil, and the types of grass are what determine when to dethatch.
Personally, I prefer to dethatch my lawns during the springtime.
Because I normally carry out dethatching on my lawns before application of any treatment like fertilizer, lime, watering, and overseeding.
If you overseed or fertilize before dethatching, you will end up removing everything. Because this involves removing excess soil.
How Much Does Dethatching Cost
Typically, dethatching costs approximately $180 and $250. On the low end, you can pay approximately $100 while the high-end cost can go up to $700. If you need other lawn care services such as mowing or aerating, the overall price can go up. For instance, you can pay about $400 to $500 for hydroseeding.
The size of your yard and your region also affects the overall cost of dethatching. For instance, a large size yard will be costlier to dethatch than a smaller size. More so, price varies from region to region.
Before you hire a dethatching service, you should do some research to determine the average cost. Also, you will be able to find a dethatching service you can afford.
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How Often Should Minnesota Lawns Be Aerated
There is no catch-all aeration schedule for Minnesota lawns. Whether youre in Rochester, Minneapolis, or further north in Duluth, it all depends on how quickly your soil becomes compacted. There are many factors behind this, from soil composition to the amount of traffic your lawn gets. It may not seem like much, but human and pet traffic can go a long way to compacting the soil.
Lawns should be aerated as often as the soil fails the soil test described above. Although aeration may not be necessary on a yearly basis, check the soil once per year to see if your lawn is in need of aeration.
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When Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn
Regardless of where you live and what type of turf grass youre working with, aeration can help your lawn be healthier and more beautiful. The trick is knowing when its best to aerate, what equipment to use, and what else you can do to encourage the vigor of your grass. Additionally, aerating can also assist in limiting weeds ability to gain a foothold in the lawn.
According to Josh Friell, Ph. D, of The Toro Companys Center for Advanced Turf Technology, aeration introduces temporary stress to the turf. Recovery time is closely linked to growing conditions and annual growth cycles. As a result, its important to keep those considerations in mind when determining an annual aerification plan.
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