Taking Care of Your Lawn
Anyone who has a great interest in their lawn, and are active in the
care of it, knows what thatch is. Although it may not be noticeable
visible, especially if the lawn is a bit long, rest assured that it is
there. Thatch is the detritus of lawn care. it is a layer of lawn
clippings, grass stems, roots, and other debris that settles into the
ground. it either decomposes, or will accumulate over a period of time.
It will be prevalent in a lawn where grass has been allowed to grow
tall, grass clippings have not been raked off, and lawns that have not
been aerated. It is most common in warm weather. Creeping grass such as
Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermuda, Zoyia, and bent grass are susceptible to
thatch, and need to be dethatched more often than other types of grass.
dethatching is simply the process of removing the thatch from your lawn.
Dethatching can be accomplished in different ways. The hardest - but
safest method - is to remove the thatch by hand with a thatch rake or
garden rake. If you are into physical fitness, and have plenty of time
on your hands, this is the best way to go. If, however, you have a very
large lawn, the best bet is to rent a power lawn dethatcher. The first
step in any law dethatching operation is to identify the need to
thatch. Thatch that is only one half inch in height should best be left
in the yard. This amount of thatch will protect the lawn in times of
drought, high heat, or water restrictions. Thatch only one half inch
acts like insulation for the soil, and provides screening from the
sun's hot rays at the height of summer. It helps hold in moisture
during dry times. If thatch is over one half inch, problems can start.
The thicker thatch will make the lawn suffer by being to large a buffer
between the soil and the grass. This will prevent sufficient amounts of
water to reach the root base, and any nutrients cannot penetrate the
thick thatch. Too much thatch can also create an excess of bugs living
in the lawn, such as chinch bugs and other pests, and is a good medium
for lawn diseases and fungi.
If you have determined that the thatch does need to be removed, the
best time to do so is in either the early spring or later in the fall,
so that the grass has time to recover from any damage done to it during
dethatching. Several things should be done before you begin. First, mow
the lawn to about half of its normal mowed height. Next, you will need
to set the blade depth of the lawn dethatcher. The dethatcher is much
like a regular lawn mower in the sense that it is an engine mounted on
wheels, and the difference is that the blades run vertical to the
ground versus horizontal on a regular mower. There are also several
blades on the dethatcher. If you rent the dethatcher, the store
management can advise you on the depth of the cutting blades.
Generally, the blades will be set to cut at least a half inch into the
soil, thus loosening the thatch from the yard. Set the blade distance
to approximately 1 to 2 inches in distance. Make a few test passes with
the dethatcher to determine if your settings are correct, and when
dethatching, make criss cross passes in the yard for best coverage.
When finished, remove all the dislodged thatch from the lawn.
Aeration of the lawn is nothing more than a process that involves
punching holes 3 to 4 inches deep in the lawn to allow water, oxygen,
and nutrients to penetrate the soil and reach the root base. It is
usually done once or twice a year, depending on the traffic on the
lawn. Aeration helps to strengthen grass roots, and of course strong
grass roots makes for a green, lush lawn. It is generally accomplished
by pushing hollow cylinders into the lawn and forcing out plugs of soil
to the lawn surface. Some people use spikes to accomplish this, but
spikes do not force out the plugs of soil, and does not allow for
sufficient expansion of the soil. Aeration also is a big help in
breaking up the buildup of thatch.
A lawn aerator can be rented from many rental places, and the
process is an easy one for the casual do it yourselfer. If you wish to
purchase your own, a typical pull behind will run around $230.00. The
night before you plan on aerating your lawn, water thoroughly to loosen
the soil, especially in high traffic areas where the soil has become
When aerating your lawn, focus on high foot
traffic areas,which typically have slower growth and have lower
resistance to wear. When you have finished aerating your lawn, now is a
good time to apply herbicide. Aeration makes a weak lawn more
susceptible to weed growth. Remove all the plugs from your lawn after
you have finished aerating.
If done on a regular basis, dethatching and aeration will make your
lawn a happy one. It will reward you with lush, vital growth, and you
will be the envy of every neighbor in your neighborhood.
Content Provided By: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/lawn-care
Author: Alden Smith