Dethatching your lawn is a crucial component of turfgrass maintenance. Fall aeration is a simple, effective technique that decomposes thatch buildup in your grass in addition to loosening the soil and allowing nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. But sometimes you need to attack the thatch head-on to keep your lawn lush and healthy.
Thatch is the layer of built-up plant material between blade tip and the root of your grass. Thatch develops when your plants slough off roots, stems, and leaves, and can accumulate more quickly in the high heat of Georgia’s summer and autumn. Although minimal thatch is beneficial in protecting grass roots from the elements, thatch that becomes too thick prevents oxygen, sunlight, water, and nutrients from reaching the roots of your turf. Dethatching will stress your lawn, leaving grass torn and soil rough, so plan to dethatch during autumn or spring when your grass is most able to recover and reestablish.
The key to preventing thatch is lawn care. Don’t overwater or overfertilize your lawn. Encourage natural aerators like earthworms. Mow regularly, but set the blades high to produce smaller, more easily decomposed grass clippings. Fall grasses like fescue are less prone to thatch buildup, so consider your options when installing sod. Limiting thatch instead of dethatching goes a long way to simplifying your lawn care process.
Apart from aeration, the two most effective thatch removal techniques are using a thatching rake or a dethaching machine. A thatching rake allows you to comb through your lawn, eliminating thatch where it is thickest. For larger landscapes, using a dethatcher is more practical. Dethatch when the lawn is moist to limit plant stress and allow your turf to recover more quickly.
Call NG Turf for information on fall grasses and lawn care.