Lawn Dethatching Tips
Definition: Thatch is a layer of slowly decomposing grass stems, dead roots, and debris that accumulates above the soil and below the grass blades. Like the thatched roof on a tropical hut, it stops water and fertilizer from reaching the soil. A lawn with a buildup of thatch feels spongy when you walk on it.
Why: Thatch is only a problem when it becomes too thick. When it becomes too thick it acts as a repellent, or hydrophobic. A conscience waterer may think he or she is watering enough when in fact the water never reaches the soil.
How: The most accepted way to dethatch a home lawn is by vertical cutting. A vertical cutter has a series of revolving vertical knives that cut through the thatch and bring it to the surface of the lawn. You then sweep or rake this material from the lawn.
When: The best time to dethatch is just before a lawn has its most vigorous growth of the season. Dethatch warm-season grasses with the beginning of warm weather in late spring. The prime time to dethatch cool-season grasses is in the fall; the second best time is in early spring.