What is thatch or why should I dethatch my lawn?
Thatch is a compacted layer of living and dead organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings, and other debris between the soil and the turf or grass layer. This is common and when maintained properly can have positive benefits for your lawn such as moisture retention and soil protection. If the thatch exceeds a ½ inch, the buildup can negatively affect the lawn. A thick thatch layer can block water and fertilizer from reaching the roots resulting in the grass becoming stressed, dehydrated, and creating a breeding ground for pests and lawn diseases.
How often should I dethatch my lawn?
Dethatching should take place every 2-5 years depending on how much build-up is noted on your lawn.
Should I aerate or dethatch first?
It is best the dethatch before aerating to allow excess debris removal of the ground surface promoting healthy root development.
Why should I aerate my lawn?
Aerating is beneficial when the soil becomes compacted from walking on it, mowing, and weather conditions. If the soil becomes compacted, it can decrease the amount of nutrients, air, and water the lawn receives resulting in grass that fails to thrive. Aerating removes soil or cores which loosens the soil allowing it to accept more water, air, and nutrients resulting in a stronger root system. Fertilizer becomes more effective after aeration of the lawn.
What are the disadvantages of aerating?
Aerating can make the lawn vulnerable to weeds and dryness if complete during times of drought, extreme heat, and if roots are not developed in a newly grassed area.
How often should I aerate?
It is recommended to aerate a lawn annually unless the soil is minimally compacted. Lawns with a significant amount of thatch (more than a ½ inch) should be dethatched first or aerated twice annually.
When should I aerate my lawn?
It is best to aerate when the grass is in peak growing season to allow for rapid recovery. The best time to do that is spring and fall. Aerating should not be complete during warm, dry, low growth season.
Should I pick up all the plugs after aeration?
Do not remove the plugs from the lawn surface after aeration as they are vital to the health of the lawn. The plugs or cores from aerating are full of microorganisms and organic matter that is full of nutrients and leaving the plugs in place will allow the microorganisms to return the nutrients to the soil below. It will take approximately two weeks for the plugs to break down on their own.
Do I need to do anything to prep for a crew to aerate my lawn?
Mow the lawn low prior to aerating to maximize the effectiveness of aerating but avoid scalping the crown of the grass. Water 1-3 days prior to aerating to promote moist soil for aerator penetration through the soil. Soil should be slightly damp, not soaked or dry. Do not aerate during drought conditions. **Mark any sprinkler heads/lines prior to crew arrival to prevent damage.
How soon after I overseed my lawn should I mow?
If you overseed the lawn, it is recommended to wait until the seeds have started to sprout which is approximately 2-4 weeks from the date of service. By waiting this time period, it will allow the new seed to establish roots in the lawn.
How soon after I overseed my lawn can I apply fertilizer?
After overseeding the lawn, avoid placing crabgrass control or weed and feed (any product that inhibits weed growth) for 6-8 weeks. Application of starter fertilizer is recommended to give the grass the nutrients needed to flourish. Crabgrass and broadleaf control should not be placed on new seeding until a minimum of three mowings.