Dethatching vs aerating lawn: Thatch is known as a thick layer of living and dead grass or plant materials like roots, shoots, stems, and crowns. It is one kind of dead organic matter that is originated from the grass that dies just above the soil. This dead grass in small thickness or the thin layer is beneficial for your lawn that can maintain soil moisture, temperature and protect soil from erosion. One the other hand, a thick layer of thatch is very destructive for your lawn. The removal of this unnecessary thick layer which can cause serious damage to the lawn is called dethatching. It is a mechanical process that removes the thick layer of dead grass.
Why dethatching is necessary
The thick layer of thatch acts as a harbor of the insects and mites that can act as a vector of serious disease, also a storehouse of disease pathogens. It also acts as a barrier to reach air, nutrients, and pesticides to the roots. This unnecessary thick layer can cause serious damage to the lawn. It can cause the water to run off and it is difficult for water to penetrate.
Too much watering and fertilization build-up the thatch problem. So you must fertilize it as a recommended dose and follow regular watering.
Dethatching vs aerating lawn with pros and cons
We have discussed above what is dethatching and it is necessary. Now we’ll discuss both dethatching and aerating a lawn with their procedure and benefits.
Dethatching a lawn
We know the removal of the unnecessary thick layer of dead grass which can cause serious damage to the lawn is called dethatching. It is a mechanical process that removes the thick layer of dead grass.
Things before dethatching a lawn
You must water the lawn properly two days before you plan to dethatch then mow your grass to half of its normal height. Dethatch should be done at the time when the plants are in active growth period so that the plant can bet at least three weeks for quick growth. You must avoid dry soil at the time of dethatching.
You must operate your dethatching machine at least three times in different directions at a 90-degree angle from different directions. Then collect and remove all the dethatch portions. Water the lawn properly to grow the grass properly after dethatching. You should follow aeration regularly in the future to prevent thatch build-up.
When to dethatch a lawn
It largely depends on the weather conditions of the soil and different types of grass, and their growth patterns. Specifically, it depends on whether you grow cool-season grass or warm-season grass. For cool-season grass dethatch should be done in early spring or in early fall at the time when the grass is into their prime time for growth. For warm-season grass, dethatching should be done in late spring.
How to dethatch a lawn (Dethatching tools and procedures)
If your lawn has a small patch of a thick layer of thatch, you can use a convex rake to solve this problem. It can remove thatch that is up-to 1-inch in thickness. It doesn’t put too much stress on your lawn. When you use a convex rake, you must follow the motion of traditional raking. It goes through the soil and dig the tines into the thatch layer, loosen the upward soil and grabs them out from the soil.
It is also referred to as a vertical cutter or verticutter. If your lawn has a large space then you can use this machine undoubtedly. You can also rent this machine from different lawn care companies or rental hardware store. You must be sure that the blades are placed your properly in your grass and the cutting depth must not go through the soil more than one and a half inches into the soil.
It is the best tool for dethatching a lawn. You can find the best lawn dethatcher on the market and use it.
Benefits of dethatching a lawn
- To grow up healthy root for your lawn grass.
- To supply a sufficient amount of nutrients.
- It prevents water from surface runoff and penetrates water properly into the soil.
- It can maintain the temperature fluctuations of your lawn.
- It can make a uniform distribution of fertilizer for your lawn.
- They can expose the soil to warmth and sunlight.
- They control to harbor different insects and pests that acts as a vector of different disease pathogens.
- They can keep the lawn healthy and evergreen by minimizing the chance of disease.
- It ensures to remove the barrier between the soil and air outside.
- It can make your lawn a uniform look.
Aerating a lawn
Aeration is a mechanical process that loosens the soil from natural compaction as the soil becomes naturally compact over time due to pressure, weight, and gravity. Compaction can make the soil surface too hard that the root of grass can not grow up properly. It can make a barrier to penetrate air, water, and nutrients to your lawn soil. So, proper aeration practice can allow airing, water, and nutrients to reach the grassroots uniformly. You must follow aeration at least one time per year to make a healthy lawn.
How to aerate a lawn
You can buy the best lawn aerator on the market or you can rent an aerator from a rental company. You can gather some of your friends so that the works become easy and you all can aerate your lawn at the same time with a low cost by sharing the rental cost. Then you must follow the manufacturer instructions when operating an aerator. You are recommended to make many cores as possible – 25-35 per square at a depth of 2-3 inches. You must run the aerator for several times in different directions if your soil is a highly compact soil. You must avoid sprinkler heads and any other that may be damaged while aerating.
When to aerate a lawn
The best time to aerate your lawn is in late summer or early fall since the lawn grass in this time will thicker and denser. So, it is recommended to fall seedling done between mid-August and October. Most of the grass becomes dormant in the winter season. So, you must operate aeration at the time after then the grass becomes rapidly growing before dormant in winter. Aeration practices in summer or spring are very difficult.
There are a few reasons for seedling after aerating for which it is difficult to aerate. One of them is, your lawn is vulnerable to disease in the spring. In the month of April, rain can increase the spread of fungus and disease. Another is, spring aerating helps to grow everything including weed seeds. Grassy weeds and seeds can grow and germinate rapidly in favorable conditions especially in the spring season.
Benefits of aerating a lawn
- It can remove mild thatch.
- This helps the roots to grow properly.
- This helps the roots to grow deeper.
- It makes the lawn more vigorous and drought resistant.
- It can reduce the compaction of the lawn soil.
- It can allow the air to exchange between the soil and atmosphere.
- It improves the penetration of water into the soil.
- It can make a uniform distribution of fertilizer and nutrients.
- It improves the root system of lawn grass.
- It increases the breakdown of thatch problem.
- It protects soil from surface runoff by over water.
- It loosens the soil from compaction.
- It makes strengthen turfgrass roots.
- It enhances heat and drought stress tolerance of your lawn.