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.

Lawn Dethatching

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.

Yard Dethatching

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.

Dethatching lawns

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.