Although it takes some knowledge and a concerted effort, effectively dethatching a lawn is critical to its health and appearance.
What is thatch?
Thatch is the exacerbating level of debris that accumulates on the ground, below your grass. Consisting of dead vegetation, earth, twigs and all kinds of ‘who knows what,’ it slowly consolidates into a semi-solid mat that inhibits growth.
A minimal amount of thatch is normal and to be expected. However, all too regularly, the layer of thatch reaches disturbing proportions quickly. At that stage, the individual components that make up the thatch cease decomposing. You know what happens. Twigs, straw, leaves and clippings and debris from nearby plants bind together, compressed into a stifling, compressed mass. Stagnant and solid, thatch offers zero benefit to the grass.
Rather, when that thick level of thatch starts accumulating to an inch or so, only bad things happen. Your lawn begins to be effectively choked off from water, fertilize…even sunlight. Rather than flourish, the grass is stuck on ‘PARK’ or worse yet, ‘REVERSE.’ The thicker the layer of thatch gets, the quicker it grows. The last thing a lawn wants is a thick, tough, spongy layer inhibiting its growth.
One of the most common questions from homeowners is how to determine if they should be aerating their lawn. Your lawn is probably a good candidate for aeration if it:
The best time for aeration is during the growing season, when the grass can heal and fill in any open areas after soil plugs are removed. Ideally, aerate the lawn with cool season grass in the early spring or fall and those with warm season grass in the late spring.