Dethatching Rake: Jump Start Healthy Topsoil

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Dethatching Rake: Jump Start Healthy Topsoil

I’ve had several friends show me areas of their lawn that are struggling to grow grass and have thinned out dramatically. They say “I just don’t get it – last year it was healthy and green.” So what went wrong? They let their lawn develop a layer of thatch on top of the soil that was too thick. Thatch is basically a combination of dead & living matter located between the soil surface and the grass. If you have too much thatch, you can develop diseases and pest problems. It’s also unfavorable for your grass roots. It’s normal to have a small layer of thatch, but anything greater than 1/2 inch will cause serious problems.

If you already have a thick layer of thatch in your lawn, you’ll want to use a dethatching rake or a dethatching attachment on a rotary tiller such as a Mantis.

Dethatching RakeAmes Adjustable Thatching Rake

$32.99
Multi Purpose Rake Cultivates Soil & Dethatches Lawns.
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I have a relatively small lawn, so I purchased the Ames Thatching Rake from Amazon. It has a solid build and I’ve been impressed with the way it works. One side is great for raking and the other side is better for lifting thatch away from the soil’s surface. You can adjust the scraping intensity by changing the angle of the rake to the surface. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of the ideal approach. You will find that short and quick strokes work best. Some healthy grass is going to get pulled up with the thatch. This is normal – just do your best to minimize it.

You may be wondering how to prevent thatch buildup in the first place. This is really important if you want to eliminate extra work. Here are a few good tips for minimizing thatch buildup:

  • Cut the grass at the recommended height for your grass type or even taller.
  • Cut your fertilizer applications to reduce excessive growth.
  • Only water when your grass needs it (light gray or leaves footprints when you walk across it).
  • Core aerate the lawn and apply compost topdressing to increase microbial activity which decomposes thatch.

Whatever you do, make sure that your lawn doesn’t develop too much thatch or you could be repairing and renovating sooner rather than later.

Author Bio

Matt Morrison is a lawn expert, homeowner, and website hobbyist from Texas. He enjoys working on his own lawn and helping others make their lawn the best it can be. You can read more of his articles here.


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