Lawn Care

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Photo provided by the author

The author's backyard shows the result of good lawn care.

Thatch Build-up

Part 2 of 2

(continued from last month)

Small lawns can be dethatched using a specialized, hand-held dethatching rake or an iron rake. Or, use a dethatcher that attaches to a sit-down mower (see photo in Part 1 of 2). Also, to tackle larger lawns you can rent a dethatcher (also known as a vertical cutter, verticutter, or power rake).

Here are some important tips:

Mow your lawn to half its normal height prior to dethatching.

Caution: BEFORE dethatching, be sure to mark any shallow irrigation lines, sprinkler heads, or buried utility lines.

Using a dethatching rake is similar to using a regular iron rake. The tines dig into the thatch and pull it upward, helping to loosen and remove thatch. You should feel and see the thatch separating from the soil.

When renting a dethatcher, ask the rental agency to adjust the spacing and cutting depth for your grass  type before you leave. The blades should be set to cut no deeper than ½ inch into the soil. Also, ask the agency for directions regarding how to use the dethatcher. A dethatcher is heavy, so be sure to ask someone to help you load and unload it, and know that you may need a truck to move it.

After dethatching, your lawn will look messy and ragged. Rake up the loosened thatch and remove it from the lawn. Use this for mulch in a vegetable garden.

Bare spots? This is the time to reseed.

Fertilize your lawn AFTER dethatching. Keep the lawn well-watered to help it recover.

Quite soon you will enjoy a marked improvement in the vitality and appearance of your lawn. Grass roots readily breathe better and will easily receive water, lime, fertilizer, etc. 

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