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Dethatching Lawns



"Dethatching" lawns refers to the mechanical removal from a lawn of the layer of dead turfgrass tissue known as "thatch." This residue is bad for your grass, as it keeps water and nutrients from seeping down to grass roots. Preventing thatch buildup isn't nearly as big a part of lawn care as is mowing, but you should not overlook its importance in the long run.

Pushing rake tines deeply down into the grass when you are raking leaves in the fall is an easy step you can take towards dethatching lawns. However, this will be sufficient only when cases of thatch buildup are relatively minor.

In worse cases, core aeration may be necessary for dethatching lawns properly. If you have badly compacted soil, that's another reason to aerate your lawn.

You have three options when it comes to core aeration:

  1. Hire a lawn service to do the job
  2. Rent a core aerator
  3. Buy an aerator

My advice to the average homeowner would be either to hire a lawn service or to rent a core aerator. When it comes to buying, not only is cost an issue, but so is storage. Dethatching a lawn by means of a core aerator is probably not going to be a yearly task. Do you really have enough space in your garage or storage shed to store an extra piece of equipment that you might not even use some years? An exception might be made if you own a tractor or a riding lawn mower, because you can buy an attachment for these machines that will allow you to aerate your lawn.

And how would you pick between the other two options? Well, if you're not physically up to the job, don't live near a rental center or just plain don't like gadgets very much, it might make sense for you to choose to hire a lawn service to conduct this work. Otherwise, renting is a great option.

Alternate Spellings: de-thatching
Common Misspellings: dethaching

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