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De-thatching Lawns in New York State

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Cornell University's co-operative extension in Suffolk County continues to be an invaluable resource for New Yorkers living on Long Island. Its insect and plant disease diagnostic laboratory publication, Turfgrass Species and Variety Guidelines for New York State, can benefit all New York homeowners, regardless of where you live. If your lawn needs a partial renovation, Cornell's experts have provided a detailed list of tasks that promote healthy grass.

First, Cornell researchers say, you'll need to determine whether your damaged lawn can simply be restored through sound maintenance. For Long Island residents, the most common reasons for lawn failure stem from selecting the wrong grass type, having poor drainage, and especially from having too much thatch.
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De-thatching Your Lawn

If your lawn has a layer of thatch that exceeds 11/2 inches, you may already be witnessing signs of serious damage and dead spots. Kentucky bluegrass is particularly sensitive to damage from a heavy layer of thatch.

You can contact your local lawn service provider or home improvement store if you need to rent a de-thatching machine or power rake -- or to hire someone to do the job for you. The folks at Cornell recommend running the de-thatching machine across the lawn in a minimum of four different directions to achieve optimal results. It's also essential to rake off and remove all the stripped thatch material from the surface of the lawn.

Before undertaking any major lawn restoration project, it's a good idea to have your soil analyzed. If you live in Suffolk County or on Long Island, the Cornell Extension experts can help you find an appropriate testing lab. In this part of New York State, homeowners often have pH problems and will need to add limestone to their soil.

There's plenty you can do to achieve a healthy lawn. But don't be afraid to ask a local lawn care expert or nearby university agriculture extensions for help.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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