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Lawn Dethatching: A Basic Primer

by Shannon Lee, All About Lawns Columnist

Lawn dethatching is one of those phrases that can make homeowners cringe. Many don't know what it means, and those who do know what it means don't like to think about it. But it's a reality of keeping your lawn healthy year-round.

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  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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What is Thatch?

Right underneath your grass but right above the line of the soil, there is a layer of leaves, stems, and roots, some living, and some dead. This tightly woven patchwork is known as thatch, and it is a natural part of your lawn. But when thatch becomes too thick, it can prevent the new, growing grass from finding the water and nutrients it needs.

How Does Lawn Dethatching Work?

Lawn dethatching can be done manually or with a power dethatcher. Whichever method you use, the action is the same: the dethatching equipment pulls up the thatch and deposits it on top of your lawn. The thatch then should be cleared away to allow the new grass to breathe.

Dethatching manually takes some heavy work and patience. Mechanical dethatching is easier, but the equipment can be unwieldy and complicated. Hiring a professional to handle your first dethatching job may be a wise choice.

Points to Remember About Lawn Dethatching

When you're ready to dethatch your lawn, keep these simple tips in mind:

  • Never dethatch a lawn when the soil is wet.
  • Always dethatch during cooler weather, never in the heat of the summer.
  • Plan on performing several treatments before your lawn is dethatched sufficiently.
  • Lawn dethatching is not a routine job! Do it only when needed.

Finally, keep up a regular schedule of aerating and spreading lime, if necessary, to keep your lawn looking beautiful long after the dethatching has done its work.

About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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