• 23 Sep 2022 07:25
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How to aerate and dethatch your lawn

If your garden doesn't seem to be doing as well as it ought to, even though it's getting plenty of food, it might be because of either compacting topsoils or dense thatches. Either way, the grass is suffering due to an inability of air, moisture, and nourishment to penetrate the ground and reach the root system. You can tell whether your soils are too compact by inserting a screwdriver into them; if it takes effort to push it down, then they're probably too compact. Likewise, if you find that your grass feels soft and spongy, rather than hard and solid, it means that the top layer of your yard is covered with dead grass and weeds instead of living plants.

Either way, you'll require to act. If your lawn's inability to grow is because of compacting, you'll wish to aerate it. In case of thick thatching, you'll rather dethatch your lawn

What Is Lawn Aeration?

Aerating your yard is one of those things that sounds easy enough until you actually try doing it. While a lot of people just hire someone else to do it for them, if you're willing to put in the effort, you can save money and get better results. Here are some tips to keep in mind before you start digging into your own backyard.

How to Aerate Your Lawn

  1. Before aerating your yard, apply 1 inch of liquid fertilizer to the grass to help loosen the soil.
  2. If you want to avoid running over anything, make sure to mark any sprinklers, shallow water sources, septic systems, or utilities.
  3. If your lawn has been lightly compacting for some time, then you may want to run the lawn mower through it one last time before planting. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  4. If your soil is severely compacted (or if it has never been aerated) then cover the whole lawn with grass seed and wait for it to germinate. Then use a rototiller to loosen up the soil.
  5. Aerators will help loosen up the soil by removing clumps of grassroots. They're best left on the lawn for several weeks until they've broken down and added nutrients back into the soil, which will then be available to the new grass.
  6. After aeration, water the lawn thoroughly.
  7. Water your new lawn every two or three days for the next few weeks.

Aerating your lawn when to aerate your lawn

Aerating your grass is important because it helps it grow faster and better. It's best done during the peak growing period of your grass (early spring or fall for cool seasons; late spring through early autumn for warm seasons). Aerating your grass once every two to three years is sufficient if your grass grows well. If you have sandy soils or your grass is growing well, aeration can be done less often.

What is Dethatching?

Thatch is a thin mat of living and dead vegetation growing above ground level. Sounds kind of gnarly, we think. However, an eighth of an inch of thatch is good for your lawn; it insulates against temperature extremes, keeps water in the ground, and offers a protective barrier of cushiony padding. When thatch gets thicker than three-eighths of an inch, though, it starts to cause problems. Too many rotting plants can lead to increased pest problems (and decrease the effectiveness of control products), prevent air and water from getting to the roots, and make it harder for your lawn to drain properly. That means when thatch piles up, some of it has to go.

If you want to get rid of the weeds from your lawn, you can either hire someone else to do it for you or you can do it yourself.

How to Dethatch Your Lawn

  1. If you're looking for an easy way to get rid of weeds without having to use chemicals, tackle small lawn areas with a dethatch­ing rake, and hire someone else to help you out with large lawn areas.
  2. Before beginning dethatch­ing, mow your lawn to half of its usual length. (FYI: Do not fertilize before dethatch­ing.)
  3. Use a dethatch tool like you would a regular hoe. Dig the tines deep enough so they go through the top layer of grass and into the ground below. Pull the tines back out and continue until the entire surface is covered. You may also find a handheld dethatcher useful.
  4. Before renting a dethatcher, check any shallow irrigation systems, sprinkler heads, or underground utilities. You don't want to be caught off guard by something unexpected!
  5. When renting a lawn mower, make sure to check out the manufacturer's instructions. They'll tell you what kind of blade to use, and whether you need any attachments. Also, make sure to read through the entire instruction manual before using the machine. You may find that you're missing something important. And if you do run into trouble, call customer service immediately.
  6. After dethatching your grass, use a rake to remove the loose thatching.
  7. To remove unwanted hairs, use a depilatory cream, which is designed to be applied directly onto the skin.
  8. After wrapping up the rest of your grass, water your entire yard to aid recovery from all of the poking, prodding, and pricking.

When to Dethatch Your Lawn

The best times to dethatch your lawn are when it’s active and the soil is moderately wet. For cool season grass, that means early autumn or early winter. For warm season grass, that means mid-summer. When your grass is actively expanding, it can take longer to dry out between waterings. So if you wait until later in the year, your grass may not grow as fast.


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Letha Kutch By, Letha Kutch