Many people know that we need organic matter in our lawn to look lush, but what they discount is that a buildup of these materials in the subsurface of their lawns will constitute a problem: Thatch. So if you notice that your lawn is beginning to look like a spongy brown carpet, you have a thatch problem.
There are many advantages that dethatching your lawn will yield, from giving the roots of your lawn access to water, nutrient, and air, to keeping it free from weeds.
Some snags are experienced with this process, from the cost of dethatching to the energy that must be expended. By and large, dethatching your lawn if done properly is worthwhile.
What is Dethatching?
Dethatching is a procedure you carry out on your lawn to help your grass grow green and healthy. If your lawn is starting to develop its own spongy, brown carpet, it may be time for a thorough dethatching.
To understand dethatching, you have to know what thatch is. Thatch is the layer of dead grasses, debris, and other organic builds up that lies between the soil surface and the grass blade of your lawn, these organic matter sort of seal off the surface of the soil, making it almost impossible for nutrients, water, and air to penetrate the soil.
Hence, dethatching is that procedure that you adopt to get rid of this buildup of organic matter that obstructs air, moisture, and nutrients from reaching the soil.
It is simply the efficient technique of getting rid of excess thatch from your lawn. Thatch is not completely bad for the soil, but a layer of thatch that is more than an inch old needs to be removed, and you can use a rake, a dethatching mower, or a vertical mower to get rid of the thatches.
Some people go to the extreme of burning their lawn to get rid of that, but it is risky and ineffective and therefore not advisable.
The Pros of Dethatching Your Lawn
Many benefits dethatching your lawn when there is an excessive accumulation of organic matter will yield, and they include:
1. It will enable the soil to get the water, nutrient, and air that it needs; this will, in turn, give the roots of grasses and other plants in your space the best growth materials to flourish.
As air circulates deep down into the roots of the soul, it makes available the carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis which stimulates the existing roots of grasses to grow while also encouraging new root growth.
2. Dethatching generally improves your lawn’s health and improves nutrient density. The improvement of the health of your lawn is because they will be getting all the growth materials they need.
3. When thatch is Removed from a lawn, it helps expose the smaller grasses to more sunlight which will cause them to grow well and become very strong.
4. It keeps the lawn looking lush, healthy, and strong; this is something that most homeowners take as a thing of pride.
5. Dethatching also increases the strength and depth of the grasses’ roots, which then causes the grasses to grow better.
6. The accumulation of dead leaves and debris that forms thatch can make your lawn susceptible to fungi, pests, and diseases; hence when you are dethatching your lawns, you are protecting it from being infested with pests invariably will cause the lawn to become infected with diseases.
7. When you apply fertilizer to a lawn with an excessive buildup of thatch, the fertilizer will not get to the soil, which can release nutrients from the plant.
This is cost-ineffective, but this fertilizer can burn the turf; it is meant to help if thatch does not allow the fertilizer to get to the soil. Hence dethatching will ensure that the effect of the fertilizer you apply to the lawn is felt positively.
8. Dethatching your lawn ensures that your lawn doesn’t get scalped. When a lawn is scalped, it simply means that too much grasses leaf is being removed in one mow, and this happens when you have an uneven lawn whose raised section is to cut too close to the ground or when you mow your turf to let.
The danger is that your lawn runs the risk of drying out, damaging, and even dying. You will hardly have this kind of concern in dethatched lawns.
9. When your lawn is dethatched, it saves you the energy of having to apply more water since many of them would have run-off if there were thatch in the lawn. Dethatching also ensures that puddling and standing water does not occur on your lawn
10. Dethatching helps to weed the emergence of Weds on your lawn.
11. Dethatching can also help winterize your lawn, preparing the lawn to do well in spring.
The Cons of Dethatching Your Lawn
Here are some disadvantages that are associated with dethatching your lawn
1. Dethatching your lawn is a stressful process for the turf because as you are getting rid of the thatch, the grasses to are cut. Little wonder many have damaged or even destroyed their healthy lawn all in the bud to remove thatch; this problem is common when people are dethatching their lawn at the wrong time, like when the grass is dormant, growing slowly, or even when the soil is too dry or too wet.
2. Dethatching is a Herculean task that can be expensive, too ( depending on the dethatching method adopted). Just renting a power rake for a day for dethatching will cost close to $100, not to mention the labor expended.
3. Because the layer of thatch in the soil helps prevent water run-off and hence helps the water retention of the soil, completely removing the thatch means that you will have to give more water to the lawn.
4. After dethatching your lawn, it looks rough, and the grasses growing in the lawn end up looking uneven and rough.
Benefits Of Thatch In Moderation
Even though we have established that there are many benefits of dethatching our lawns, we must be quick to add that every lawn requires thatch that is about ½” thick. This layer of thatch serves as compost and mulch to the soil.
Hence, if you decide to dethatch these beneficial layers of thatch completely, you will inadvertently reduce the soil’s nutrient value and even encourage a lot of water evaporation.
1. The right layer of thatch serves as a natural much to the soil; this mulch ensures that the soul does not receive the full impact of extreme temperature fluctuation because of mulch’s insulation and moisture conservation quality.
2. Lawn with the right thickness of thatch provides traction for your feet when you work on it; it serves more like a shock-absorb because it absorbs some of the impacts of your feet touching the ground as you walk.
You will understand this better when you play a sport or game on a lawn with the right amount of thatch; it makes for great play.
3. Lawns with that, he’s don’t get more easily compacted than you have others that are thatch-free, making lawn maintenance just a little easier.
4. Because thatch serves as a source of food for some beneficial bacteria in the soil, which release nutrients to the soil; hence thatch can then be said to improve the quality of the soil.
5. The right amount of thatch helps the soil filter rainwater, straining debris and other contaminants from getting to the soil.
Do you Need to Dethatch Your Lawn?
This is a very common question that most people ask, they want a straight Yes Or No answer, but the answer is not that straightforward; it’s more a question of how much thatch is good for my lawn.
The answer to the question is half an inch or less thick. This amount of thatch is beneficial to your lawn because it boosts resilience and softens the impact.
So if the thickness of your thatch is still within the half-inch thickness, then you do not need to dethatch your lawn because the thatch is serving some very useful purposes.
But anything more than the half-inch benchmark must go because you do not want all the negative consequences associated with too much thatch in the yard.
Can You Prevent Thatch Buildup?
Of course, you can prevent thatch buildup, this is because thatch doesn’t overrun a lawn in one day, it is rather a gradual process, and hence there are little things you can do to stop it from building up, including:
1. Aerating the lawn
This simple lawn maintenance practice can help prevent thatch buildup; it is an effective means of preventing the proliferation of thatch.
When you incorporate air into the lawn by either hollow tin or core aeration, you are encouraging the growth of the population of microorganisms in the lawn, which will help in decomposing the organic matter that constitutes the thatch; when you do that,,, thatch will not buildup.
2. Scarifying the lawn:
This is using a rake or scarifier to remove the thatch manually. A scarifier is fitted with several times or blades that penetrate the base of the lawn to remove thatch.
3. Use compost instead of synthetic nitrogen
Granted that to get a healthy lawn, you need to apply fertilizer, but you must use the right kind of fertilizer that will not encourage the accumulation of thatch.
Excessive use of nitrogen-based fertilizer will lead to the building of thatch. Instead, compost or other organic manure can be used on the lawn.
4. Avoid over-watering
Most lawns can tolerate dry soil and will only begin to show signs of drought in extreme conditions; hence over-watering the lawn is a No-No because a constantly water-saturated lawn will destroy some beneficial microbes.
This is so because the water will displace the air pores in the soil, and these microbes need air to stay alive and decompose organic matter, which could turn into thatch. So in dry weather, water your lawn very well, but ensure that the lawn is not overly or always wet.
5. Top-dress the lawn
Topdressing your lawn is simply the application of materials like compost, sand, or topsoil, which will help dilute the thatch and increase the air pores within the air zone.
Topdressing also helps the soil’s water retention, improves its drainage, and increases the lawn’s ability to resist pests and diseases.
When to Dethatch Your Lawn?
The best time to dethatch is during the grass growing season to reduce the stress on the lawn to its barest minimum.
If your lawn has cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, creeping red fescue, and the likes, you should dethatch your lawn anytime from early spring to early fall.
If you have warm-season grasses like Zoysia and bermuda grass, then the best time for you to dethatch is in late spring to early summer.
It is always best practice to never dethatch your lawn when it is under stress or when it is dormant.
Signs Your Lawn Needs Dethatching
If you are wondering how you can determine if your lawn is due for dethatching, you can check out your lawn and see if you need to remove the thatch. Here are tell-tale signs that you should look out for:
1. The ground feels spongy, and when you touch it, you feel a spring.
2. If you notice that the grass blades are weak, it might be due to the buildup of thatch.
3. The grass is thinning, and dry spots appear on the lawn.
4. Weeds invasion on your lawn.
5. The grass no longer looks green or lush.
6. Insect infestation.
7. Your lawn responds rapidly to temperature extremes.
8. Fungal diseases are infecting your lawn
Dethatching your lawn is one of those routine lawn maintenance practices that you can adopt to keep your lawn looking good.
It has a lot of advantages, including keeping pests and diseases far from your lawn to adding nutrients to your soil. However, it is a stressful job that is a little bit expensive. But dethatching your lawn is well worth the cost.
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We trust this article helped you know the pros and cons of dethatching lawn. You may also want to check out the Easiest Way to Cut Tall Grass.
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Pros and Cons of Dethatching Lawn