Dethatching is the process of removing thatch build up from the base of the lawn in order to allow moisture, sunlight and fertilizers to better reach the soil.
Thatch build up is dead, un-decomposed grass stems and roots accompanied by other small debris. The “trapped” material above the soil base creates a barrier that reduces the absorption rate of water and other necessary nutrients. It can also harbor insects and encourage disease. While thatch build up is a natural process for lawns, excessive build up is a very common problem and can easily be diagnosed. Simply use your fingers to move apart your lawn and see how much dead grass has collected before you reach the soil. If you have more than ½" your thatch layer is preventing your lawn from looking its best.
We use two methods for removing thatch build up and recommend you to evaluate your needs in early spring:
Using mower mounted tine rake dethatchers are the most common. We mount a dethatcher to the front of our lawn mower. The dethatcher tines pick and pull out thatch. Simultaneously, the mower “vacuums” up the debris into its bagger. This way the mower blades are engaged. The added bonus of this method is that the lawn also gets cut and bagged. This method of dethatching is less expensive and we recommend doing it on an annual basis every spring, especially to thicker lawns.
Rotary operated dethatcher – This method is much more invasive to the lawn. While the build up of thatch must be addressed if it is a problem, only severe thatch build up is recommended for this method. It is the same concept as the mower mounted machine, thatch is agitated by small blades and then pulled up. It is then vacuumed up and discarded.