This is called thatch and a thin layer is useful to the soil in many ways. However, a layer that is thicker than half an inch, does more harm than good and needs to be removed. The process of removal of the layer of thatch from the soil is called dethatching. Here we learn the ways of dethatching a lawn and its benefits.
When to Dethatch a Lawn
Before you begin with the process of dethatching your lawn, it is very important to ensure if it is the right time to do so. To determine if your lawn needs dethatching, dig out a portion of the soil and check for the presence of dead grass and other plant remains that appear slightly brownish in color.
If you find any, measure the thickness of the layer. If it is more than an inch, your lawn sure needs dethatching, and you should make preparations for the same. Another way to find out is to check if the soil is retaining too much water.
Soil covered with a thick layer of thatch has a tendency to retain excess water. However, it is recommended that you carry out the process of dethatching only during certain months of the year when the climate is most favorable for the growth of grass. Usually, this is during the autumn months i.e. August to October.
For larger areas, use a dethatcher or a rake attached to the rear end of a lawn mower. Run the dethatcher or the lawn mower over the entire area from which you wish to remove the thatch, carefully avoiding irrigation pipes, sprinklers, etc.
Remember that if it is a very thick layer of thatch that you're trying to remove, do not make an attempt to do it all at once. Instead, clear away all the thatch in two or three attempts. This is because dethatching that is too vigorous might cause damage to the roots of the lawn grass.
After dethatching your lawn, you'll find a lot of debris to be cleared. You can put it into the compost pit if you have one. To help your lawn recover from the damage caused by the dethatching process, add fertilizers to the soil, water your lawn at regular intervals and throw in some grass seeds to make up for the grass damaged during the process.
Keep these simple pointers in mind while you carry out the process of dethatching your lawn.
- Do not thatch your lawn too frequently. This is because a little amount of thatch is essential for the soil to retain adequate amounts of water.
- Mowing your lawn at regular intervals can prevent the formation of a thick layer of thatch.
- Be careful while digging out the soil sample for measuring the thickness of thatch.
- If you find that the layer of thatch is so thick that you would need an automatic dethatcher, borrow one. You can easily get such equipment on rent.
- Before you begin, test on a small patch of the soil to make sure that the soil water content is optimum for dethatching. Too much water in the soil will cause the grass to be pulled out as well, along with the thatch.