Lawn Care Highlights

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Photo by Diana Ferrari

A dethatching attachment is pulled across the author’s lawn by her husband on his mower.

Thatch Build-up

Part 1 of 2

As time marches on, bits and pieces of grass and weeds die and collect just above the soil. This is called thatch. It’s organic material that is broken down by microbes in the soil. But sometimes, thatch builds up too fast for natural processes to break it down and it creates a barrier. A half-inch or more of thatch can weaken a lawn. According to Scotts, when a thatch layer is more than ¾ inch thick, it can lead to increased pest and disease problems. Also, oxygen, moisture, fertilizer etc. can be blocked from reaching the soil and grass roots. So, dear reader, one of the most important endeavors with lawn care should be controlling thatch.

If you have a small lawn, you can dethatch it by hand with a special dethatching rake. Spring or fall is a good time to dethatch your lawn. Choose a day when the lawn isn’t soggy/mushy. Here are some practical tips to control thatch:

1. For small lawns, use thatch rake to comb thatch from grass.

2. For larger lawns, use power rake to remove thatch from grass.

3. Use leaf rake to collect thatch; remove and discard thatch.

4. If needed, spread grass seed across lawn and rake into the grass.

5. Use a drop spreader to apply fertilizer and pre-emergent crabgrass control to the lawn.

 6. Keep lawn moist; water daily if necessary

More on this in the next issue. Ref. Scotts 

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