PDA

View Full Version : Detaching Lawn


nhoj
09-01-2012, 07:04 AM
How often should one detach there lawn?

Should one do it every year?

I detached a lawn yesterday and the last time it was done was 5 years ago. The person catches the grass each time they mow.

cgaengineer
09-01-2012, 07:15 AM
What kind of grass? Grass clippings do not contribute to thatch.

Ticolawnllc
09-01-2012, 07:47 AM
You could take a plug tool and look at the sample. That way you will KNOW when to dethatch. I do it at least every two years. At most every year. I did just hook up a jrco thatch rake. I'll most likely use it every fall and spring clean up

Dave does lawns
09-01-2012, 07:54 AM
how often you de-thatch depends on the current level of present thatch. Having/leaving some is good for the lawn, (1/2"). anything more and I would de-thatch it.

I have only done a few thatch removal jobs myself. How ever I power rake to a tune of about $10,000 every spring.

I consider power raking to be a light comb of the lawn surface, only removing any dead stems and any debris that accumulated over the winter.

If your customer had a lot of thatch, this is what I would advise you try to educate them..... Stop bagging their clipping, leaving them on the lawn will help break down the thatch below them. Aerate 1-2 time a year to make sure air is able to get to the roots and the underside of any thatch present, again helping it to breakdown. If done correct think of it as adding compost (composted grass) to your lawn. This will ideal real estate for worms to live which naturally add compost and aerate the soil in a way we never could.

EDIT: I am in cool season grass which 5 months of snow so of course I have ZERO experience with warm season.

nhoj
09-01-2012, 09:21 AM
I am sorry that I did not tell you that I live in Northwest Ohio and yes Cool Season Grass .

I was told from a friend to seed a lawn than run the Spit Seeder over it in both directions leave the thatch on it and than put more seed over it and let the rain or water do the rest.

I feel that you should remove the thatch and put seed on the lawn.

Which way is the best way to do this? Yest it is a over seed, since we had a drought this Summer and had allot of dead areas.

You might ask way seed it than run the Spit Seeder over it without seed in it, the answer is the hopper will not hold seed any more.

If you have questions please ask and I will be happy to answer.

Smallaxe
09-01-2012, 09:59 AM
Dead grass thatch should stay on the lawn to decompose and provide cover for seed... using a slit-seeder in an attempt to get the seed under the grass mulch is good, but seed will find its way into the mulch just fine...

Living thatch on the other hand doesn't allow seed to penetrate its waterproof layer, but then it is thick with weak grass already... knowing the status of this living thatch will help you decide how to proceed with the seeding...

I can think of no circumstance where detaching will help the situation of either type of thatch... raking in the $10K every Spring is probably the only reason to keep de-thatching on the lawncare list... :)

nhoj
09-01-2012, 02:43 PM
My next question is : Should I remove the thatch so that I can put down the second half of the seed? I was told to put the seed on half the recoumded amount than when down put the second half on. So that is where I am now.

That is why I am not sure if I should remove the thatch now or wait till it rains which it is to do Sunday, so they say. By waiting for the rain the seed will get washed down into the soil if there is any in the thatch. I would be afraied of some being in it. At $1.95 a pound and I used 125 LB. of it. Yes it can get a little salty if you know what I mean.

So what would be the smart thing to do, remove it or keep it on and put the other half over it?

Or mow it up and than put it on after you have cut it up? All total I will have 225 pounds on it.

I would like to do it right.

JoJo1990
09-01-2012, 03:18 PM
Axe - That is poor information.

Thatch layers can increase and build for a number of reasons. When thatch, especially in cool season lawns, reaches over a half of one inch thick, it should be reduced. This would be an excellent time to verticut or use a power seeder to first de-thatch and then collect that layer. Next, add the seed to your machine and do your seeding passes. You will still pull up more thatch on these subsequent passes but in most cases, that can be left on op of the grass and it will fall back down to the soil on its own.

I've seen little thatch reduction when core aeration is used for the sole purpose of reducing thatch, although it does help to some degree.

Smallaxe
09-01-2012, 04:34 PM
My next question is : Should I remove the thatch so that I can put down the second half of the seed? I was told to put the seed on half the recoumded amount than when down put the second half on. So that is where I am now.

That is why I am not sure if I should remove the thatch now or wait till it rains which it is to do Sunday, so they say. By waiting for the rain the seed will get washed down into the soil if there is any in the thatch. I would be afraied of some being in it. At $1.95 a pound and I used 125 LB. of it. Yes it can get a little salty if you know what I mean.

So what would be the smart thing to do, remove it or keep it on and put the other half over it?

Or mow it up and than put it on after you have cut it up? All total I will have 225 pounds on it.

I would like to do it right.

Let me see if I got this straight...

You've already put down a significant amount of seed and you're wondering if you should rip up and remove the dead grass/clippings and remove it!!??!

How much seed do you think will be removed at the same time you remove the mulch thatch that you've already sown in to???

jfoxtrot9
09-01-2012, 05:16 PM
Axe - That is poor information.

Thatch layers can increase and build for a number of reasons. When thatch, especially in cool season lawns, reaches over a half of one inch thick, it should be reduced. This would be an excellent time to verticut or use a power seeder to first de-thatch and then collect that layer. Next, add the seed to your machine and do your seeding passes. You will still pull up more thatch on these subsequent passes but in most cases, that can be left on op of the grass and it will fall back down to the soil on its own.

I've seen little thatch reduction when core aeration is used for the sole purpose of reducing thatch, although it does help to some degree.

I'm with Smallaxe on this one. (although we disagree on aeration. I feel it should be done yearly for multiple reasons)

Per the Ohio State University Extension. (http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/4000/4008.html)

"Thatch control is both preventive and curative in nature. Thatch prevention can be managed by proper use of fertilizers and pesticides and the implementation of proper cultural practices. Maintaining a soil pH between 6.0-7.0 encourages microbial degradation and earthworm activity. Selecting turfgrass species which do not commonly form thatch will also prevent/reduce the rate of thatch development. Mowing grass regularly at proper heights (generally 2.0 to 2.5 inches) can also help slow thatch build-up. The turfgrass clippings only need to be removed when grass is wet or extra long and a layer of clippings remains on the surface.

Topdressing, the process in which a thin layer of soil (1/8 inch) is added onto the turf, is an another preventive approach which will help prevent thatch build-up. This light coating of soil helps improve the environment at the soil surface and facilitates microbial activity and thatch prevention. This soil should be similar in texture to the original soil to prevent drainage or other problems due to incompatible soils. Peat moss or other high organic materials should not be used, as these products will add to thatch deposition. Topdressing should not be added on top of an already existing thatch layer. A serious layering problem will result, further complicating turfgrass culture.

Curative control measures should be implemented once thatch accumulation has begun but before the layer exceeds 0.50 inch in thickness. Cultivation practices that address existing thatch layers include dethatchers (i.e. power rakes, lawn combers, vertical mowers), mower blade attachments and core aerification. For many years, dethatching was recommended as a way to remove the thatch layer. This method physically removes the thatch and is most effective if the existing layer is less than 0.50 inch in depth. This operation should be done during a cool season of the year when several weeks of good growth and recovery can be anticipated following the dethatching. Experience has shown that early fall is the best time for removing thatch. Fewer weed problems occur and two growing seasons (fall and spring) follow before the lawn encounters summer stress. Very early spring is the next best time. Machines for removing thatch can be rented at most tool and equipment rental companies. In recent years, various mower blade attachments have been advertised by retailers. These blades come equipped with steel prongs which physically tear the mat and thatch layer during the mowing operation. Even though a considerable volume of material is pulled to the surface, these attachments usually have little impact on the total quantity of plant debris in the thatch layer. Some damage to the desirable turfgrass should be anticipated with these attachments and, therefore, should only be used in the spring and/or fall during periods of favorable growing conditions.

The last option, which research has shown to be the best approach to thatch control, is core aerification. Core aerification, also referred to as aerification, is the process where hollow tines are used to remove plugs of thatch and soil from the lawn and deposit them on the surface. Once the plugs of soil are deposited on the surface, rainfall or irrigation will incorporate the soil into the thatch layer. This soil addition to the thatch layer will improve the environment in this area resulting in increased microbial activity and thatch breakdown."

Dave does lawns
09-01-2012, 06:27 PM
Dead grass thatch should stay on the lawn to decompose and provide cover for seed... using a slit-seeder in an attempt to get the seed under the grass mulch is good, but seed will find its way into the mulch just fine...

Living thatch on the other hand doesn't allow seed to penetrate its waterproof layer, but then it is thick with weak grass already... knowing the status of this living thatch will help you decide how to proceed with the seeding...

I can think of no circumstance where detaching will help the situation of either type of thatch... raking in the $10K every Spring is probably the only reason to keep de-thatching on the lawncare list... :)

I think we may not all be on the same page, as to what thatch is:.....?

And to the OP How much thatch do you have? That would give us all the ability to answer your question in our own opinions and you can decide what to do from there.

JoJo1990
09-01-2012, 06:28 PM
Let me see if I got this straight...

You've already put down a significant amount of seed and you're wondering if you should rip up and remove the dead grass/clippings and remove it!!??

Nope. I never said that. Please re-read my post. The lawn is verticut/de-thatched w/o seeding, then thatch bagged, then seeded using the slit seeder.

jfoxtrot9, I didn't even get into the discussion on prevention with Axe. What he said in another post was that it was in 'error' to remove thatch. That is a very broad statement and simply is not true. Fescue lawns may produce a robust thatch layer on their own even under ideal conditions. Never de-thatching or measuring the thatch layer is not a good turf maintenance practice.

Dave does lawns
09-01-2012, 06:33 PM
measuring the thatch layer is not a good turf maintenance practice.

I disagree. how else will you know if it is too much or not?

nhoj
09-01-2012, 07:33 PM
What I am asking is should I remove the thatch that the Spit Seeder brought up> Remember I seeded the lawn before I used the Spit Seeder and this brought up the thatch. My question is just how much seed is laying in that thatch? Should I rake it up not knowing how much seed is in it or will the seed fall down to the ground by itself? Or should I mow it with a Marching Mower than put the seed down? Or remove it after you mower it?

I agree with JoJo1990

JoJo1990
09-01-2012, 07:37 PM
I disagree. how else will you know if it is too much or not?

You only took part of my quote. I said that NEVER de-thatching or measuring the thatch layer is a bad practice. That was a poor choice of words on my part. It goes without saying that monitoring the thatch layer is important. I prefer to use a profile sampler as you get the full picture of the thatch layer. A core sampler would work in a pinch.

Dave does lawns
09-01-2012, 07:39 PM
What I am asking is should I remove the thatch that the Spit Seeder brought up> Remember I seeded the lawn before I used the Spit Seeder and this brought up the thatch. My question is just how much seed is laying in that thatch? Should I rake it up not knowing how much seed is in it or will the seed fall down to the ground by itself? Or should I mow it with a Marching Mower than put the seed down? Or remove it after you mower it?

I agree with JoJo1990
Just mulch it. It sounds like you do not have THATCH, it sounds like to have dead grass. So yes mulch it with the mower and then add more seed.

JoJo1990
09-01-2012, 07:40 PM
What I am asking is should I remove the thatch that the Spit Seeder brought up> Remember I seeded the lawn before I used the Spit Seeder and this brought up the thatch. My question is just how much seed is laying in that thatch? Should I rake it up not knowing how much seed is in it or will the seed fall down to the ground by itself? Or should I mow it with a Marching Mower than put the seed down? Or remove it after you mower it?

I agree with JoJo1990

Yes. You should de-thatch first. I take my slit seeder and go over the entire lawn once with NO seed. Then, I take my bagger and collect all of the thatch. Finally, add seed to your seeder and go over the lawn in two directions. The minimal thatch layer you pull up during the seeding passes can be left where it sits.

If you already put the seed down, it's too late. If you bag the thatch you'll also collect some amount of your seed. If the thatch is excessive, it would be best to bag it anyway, then seed again.

nhoj
09-01-2012, 09:12 PM
You know what I was going to do was what you said: take the Spit Seeder over it first than seed, but they talked me into seedig first than go over it with the Spit Seeder.

How much seed would you say I will loose if I remove the thatch, but like Dave does Lawns said, it could be just dead grass which it looks like to me.If it is just dead grass would you go ahead and mow it and seed over it or pick it up than seed?

Dave does lawns
09-01-2012, 09:24 PM
You only took part of my quote. I said that NEVER de-thatching or measuring the thatch layer is a bad practice. That was a poor choice of words on my part. It goes without saying that monitoring the thatch layer is important. I prefer to use a profile sampler as you get the full picture of the thatch layer. A core sampler would work in a pinch.

Sorry JOJO, I did misread your post.

If you have thatch it should be measured, but in this case it sounds like what you have is dead grass, I would mulch mow it and then add remaining seed needed.

nhoj
09-02-2012, 05:57 AM
Sorry JOJO, I did misread your post.

If you have thatch it should be measured, but in this case it sounds like what you have is dead grass, I would mulch mow it and then add remaining seed needed.

With what you just said I have to tell you that I would have to say that I have a High-Maintenance lawn since I fertilizes my lawn 3 times in the Spring and 3 times in the Fall.

I start fertilizes starting in March and ending in June and than again in August and ending at Thanksgiveing. So with this said would still call it grass or would you call it thatch?


What I am putting on my lawn is: MUSTANG MIX
SHENANDOAH ELITE TALL FESCUE 24.90%
FINELAWN ELITE TALL FESCUE 24.80%
FALCON lV TALL FESCUE 24.75%
PALMER lll PERENNIAL RYEGRASS 14.90%
PARK KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS 9.96%
OTHER CROP SEEDS .03%
INERET MATTER .66%

i HOPE THAT THIS MAKES THINGS CLEARER ON WHAT i AM DOING.

nhoj
09-02-2012, 06:21 AM
I did forget one thing about a year or two ago I took a garden rack and went over my whole lawn and really did not get much of anything off of it. You would think that you would have got allot off of it than.

Smallaxe
09-02-2012, 08:11 AM
I will be washing seed into dead grass and keeping it wet much less often than bare dirt would be kept wet and yet the moisture level will be high and the seed will germinate and grow healthy plants... nothing in this sentence, even remotely refers to "Thatch"... I wish professionals would at least learn what "Thatch" is... :)

nhoj
09-02-2012, 09:08 AM
Smallaxe Thank-You for your help in my question about seeding over the dead grass from the Spit Seeder.

What I need to do is take the mower over the dead grass that lays on top and mow it up than seed over it. Do you think that the seed will fall to the ground so it has contact with the soil?

I understand what you are saying about the moisture and that is what you want so you will get a very good stand of grass.

Smallaxe
09-02-2012, 09:12 AM
I'd just mulch mow after running the irrigation for a couple of days...

nhoj
09-02-2012, 09:25 AM
I'd just mulch mow after running the irrigation for a couple of days...

So I understand what you are saying is you would seed over the dead grass that you took the mower to and seed over it than water it for a few days to soak it into the soil. Am I right?

Smallaxe
09-02-2012, 09:36 AM
Yes, I have much better luck putting seed into dead grass than bare soil... I never bag dead grass of my own volition... :)

Smallaxe
09-02-2012, 09:42 AM
Taking dead grass and similar organic materials out of the turf is like stripping paint off the car so it holds wax better...
you seed will do much better in dead grass clippings than on bare soil,,, therefore bagging when mowing and dethatching and removing that asset is an error...

JoJo1990
09-02-2012, 02:59 PM
Taking dead grass and similar organic materials out of the turf is like stripping paint off the car so it holds wax better...
you seed will do much better in dead grass clippings than on bare soil,,, therefore bagging when mowing and dethatching and removing that asset is an error...

This is not entirely true. What if a lawn had never been de-thatched? Are you going to make a 'trial' pass with the slit seeder and wind up pulling up excessive thatch to the point it is not failing to allow irrigation through? That partially decayed organic mat does a horrible job at retaining water. When the thatch layer is excessive, it should be bagged. When you make your seeding passes, any extra thatch can be left where it is.

I mulch mow my lawn 100% of the time. The only time I will ever bag is when I'm preparing to slice seed.

Dave does lawns
09-02-2012, 03:24 PM
This thread is irking me beyond....... words.I don't know where to even start.

Thatch to me means: "partially decayed organic mat does a horrible job at retaining water".

Anything below this should be soil.

Above it you have your grass, and dying/dead crowns.

Its the dying dead crowns that look like the color of wood that I would leave for all the benefits that smallaxe has stated.

That thatch layer could be bad for seed if it is too thick because when the seed roots into it it does not offer the same protection that soil will. Unprotected roots will die in a short time and so will all grass you just seeded.

Measure the thatch and 1/2" or less is fine.

The OP asked how often to de-thatch. Answer is: As often as necessary to maintain a healthy level of thatch.

I have too customers side by side:

first guy has 1/2" of thatch, Lawn looks good all season.

Second guy has no measurable thatch, lawn looks great in the spring but then I am skipping mows half way through the season because he has no thatch the soil has no protection to the sun.

Both house are mowed the exact same day by the same mower by the same guy guy using the same fertilizer.

Another guy a few blocks away has alot of thatch, 2" and although his lawn looks good all year from the road, a birds eye view tells a different story. There are many areas where there are complete dead spots. Dig below the thatch and soil is bone dry.

So am I right about what thatch is?

cgaengineer
09-02-2012, 04:33 PM
I still waiting on someone to ask why anyone would want to "detach" a lawn anyway.
Posted via Mobile Device

nhoj
09-02-2012, 04:48 PM
Yes Just way do people do this?

Are they trying to tear up their lawn?

My neighbor's never do this?

Do they know what they are doing?

Smallaxe
09-02-2012, 04:55 PM
This thread is irking me beyond....... words.I don't know where to even start. ...

... So am I right about what thatch is?

I'm not sure what your definition of thatch is... If it means the living and dead roots and stems then you may have it... the URL that was put up on page 1 is right on, for professional discussions...

Smallaxe
09-02-2012, 05:12 PM
I'm with Smallaxe on this one. (although we disagree on aeration. I feel it should be done yearly for multiple reasons)

Per the Ohio State University Extension. (http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/4000/4008.html)

... For many years, dethatching was recommended as a way to remove the thatch layer. This method physically removes the thatch and is most effective if the existing layer is less than 0.50 inch in depth. ... Even though a considerable volume of material is pulled to the surface, these attachments usually have little impact on the total quantity of plant debris in the thatch layer. Some damage to the desirable turfgrass should be anticipated with these attachments and, therefore, should only be used in the spring and/or fall during periods of favorable growing conditions.

The last option, which research has shown to be the best approach to thatch control, is core aerification. ... This soil addition to the thatch layer will improve the environment in this area resulting in increased microbial activity and thatch breakdown."

I kept part of the page, dealing with de-thatching... note that these guys say that it works on thatch under .5" in depth... please note also it is talking about thatch not dead grass that sits on the top of the soil...

Also,,, please note the use of the word "damage" in reference to the desireable turfgrass... other dot edu urls discuss this as being quite severe for little or no real benefit...
Afterall, 1/2 inch of living thatch is just fine so why dethatch at that depth,,, when the damage is there and aeration is the actual solution...

Professional LCOs should be able to reference this article and know in-depth what it is talking about,,, yet we still have so-called professionals discussing 'apples as oranges and vice-versa'...

Did anyone who read the article notice that dead grass was never once referred to as thatch???

nhoj
09-02-2012, 05:42 PM
I was just trying to help cagengineer out here.
I do know why you De-thatch your lawn, some people have no ideal what you are doing or why you are ding that.

I have neighbors that has never do it and they have lived there for 20 + years and thank that I am nuts for tearing up my lawn so they think I am.

Smallaxe
09-02-2012, 05:47 PM
I was just trying to help cagengineer out here.
I do know why you De-thatch your lawn, some people have no ideal what you are doing or why you are ding that.

I have neighbors that has never do it and they have lived there for 20 + years and thank that I am nuts for tearing up my lawn so they think I am.

So why do you tear up your lawn???

nhoj
09-02-2012, 06:59 PM
When you use a spit seeder what do you think it will do?

You are going to bring up there thatch or dead grass right?

Also you will be putting down grass seed.

You ask why am I tearing up my lawn ask the neighbors that have NO IDEAL what you are doing. After 20 + years they have no ideal how to care for their lawn. No fertilizer, no de-thatching, no aerification. They call their lawn grass, but it is all weeds and crab grass. The cut it as short as they can.

Now why does my neighbors say I am tearing up my lawn?

Smallaxe
09-03-2012, 08:19 AM
OK, you're using a slit-seeder...

maynardGkeynes
09-03-2012, 12:24 PM
Seems like we should also be distinguishing between the thatch layer, and the top of the root/soil zone. I encounter problems with the latter quite frequently on lawns that have been previously sodded and then died. This layer of dead sod has a lot of lignin, so it is not going to break down biologically. I rarely remove it entirely, but I find I have to chop it up/core aerate it pretty good. Otherwise, the seed has a hard time penetrating it with the new root, and once it germinates it just sits on top, and eventually dies. This dead root zone is not like the slimy/rubbery living thatch layer, that I often find in conjunction with fungus problems. Is the better advice simply to remove the dead sod, or should I just break as I have been doing. I have to confess, I have had problems and success with both methods, but I'm not sure I have figured out the pattern. The state Ag sites I have consulted are more often talking about the thatch layer, which can be successfully dealt with via aeration/slit seeding. What to do with the root zone is less clear to me.

Smallaxe
09-03-2012, 05:14 PM
Maynard, you hit on one of the characteristics of living thatch, i.e. lignin... this was even brought up in the article that was posted at the page 1...
Most sod that we see around here is actually a thatch layer cut off the field and contains little or no soil whatsoever... so if the sod dies you have a tightly bound mat of lignin string material(roots and stems) left behind...

IMO,,, since we know what causes living thatch, we should just switch over to practices that cause the existing roots to grow down into the soil and eventually the thatch layer will deteriorate to the point of allowing water and nutrients to penetrate into the soil...

Of course the first step is to acknowledge what lignin thatch is and how it differs from what is mistakenly called thatch, which is composed of simple carbohydrates such as grass clippings...

An interesting side note about digesting lignin, is the idea of using Soybean Meal to build a population of microbes capable of breaking down lignin at a higher rate of speed... this also feeds lawns in 2 different ways making the synferts unnecessary during this period...

People think it is expensive, but only if they attempt 4-6 unnecessary applications in the season... :)