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Lawn Dethatching Made Simple

by Shannon Lee, All About Lawns Columnist

A lawn that is growing like crazy is a good thing, despite how often you have to mow to keep it under control. But a lawn that grows well is also one that can quickly develop thatch. Learn all you can about lawn dethatching to keep your grass perfectly green!

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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What is Thatch, Anyway?

Thatch is the accumulation of grass stems and roots forming just above the surface of the soil. A normal part of every lawn, thatch is not a problem until it is about half an inch thick. At that point, it is preventing water from reaching the deep roots in the soil, and can block sunlight from the grass below it. Both conditions can lead to withered and brown grass.

In addition, grass roots can begin to grow into the thatch rather than the soil underneath it. This prevents grass from receiving the nutrients it needs, and the result is--you guessed it!--brown grass.

Remedy the Problem with Lawn Dethatching

There are three basic options for lawn dethatching:

  • Coring. Coring machines, or aerators, remove plugs of soil from the lawn, giving the grass room to grow. This helps the roots reach deeper and helps eliminate thatch.
  • Topdressing. A layer of topsoil over the thatch helps the organic matter decompose, leading to the breakdown of thatch and a nutrient-rich lawn.
  • Vertical Mowers. Machines with power-driven tines can bring thatch to the surface while aerating the ground below. However, if you have a significant amount of thatch, this can rip up enough of your lawn to require reseeding of several bare spots.

Lawn dethatching on a regular basis keeps your grass looking green and healthy. If you're not sure what lawn dethatching method to use, talk to your lawn care professional.

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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