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Dethatching, plugging, etc...

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by lawnguru wannabe, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 72

    I'm kind of new when it comes to dethatching, plugging, etc. Is this something that is necessary that I do every year? I don't have a dethatcher or a plugger, but my neighbor does. What are the benefits of doing this, and when should it be done?

    I'm in Wisconsin.

    Thanks in advance! :)
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Aeration... is to releive compaction, number 1... punch through hydrophobic living thatch, no. 2... opening up the root zone to apply ammendment such as compost no. 3...

    The whole idea of 'seeding' is when the aerator is used in multiple passes, which of course gives you a semi-tilled yard to work with... this is usually done on extremely difficult lawns that need a lot of new seed...

    Dethatching, is usually a waste of time, you will do better with a molasses application to 'recycle' that material back into the soil... If it doesn't cycle fast enough, that means you're applying too much water and/or too much fertilizer

    Beware of the 'magic bean' mentality from the sales people who have brainwashed almost everyone into believing that growing grass is complicated... or that their magic beans will make the lawns... even better... :)
  3. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 72

    So you don't think dethatching is worth the time and effort?
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    No I don't... I believe dethatching is counter-productive to any chance of building a decent soil structure in the modern lawn... :)
  5. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 72

    How does dethatching hurt your chances of building a decent soil structure....Just curious, and trying to learn here?
  6. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    I agree with Small Axe. I never understood dethatching-pulling out grass with a machine to make your lawn thinner so you get more weeds.:dizzy: If you have a good fertilizing program, you should never have de-thatch. When I take on a new customer, and if they have thatch issues, I will double or triple aerate their lawn.

    I tell my customers to never dethatch. I tell them to spend that $125 on good quality grass seed and apply that in late August.
  7. jf69

    jf69 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Can you explain the molasses method, I never heard of it and am very curious
  8. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 72

    that's good to know about the dethatching. seems like everyone and their mom says to do it. i've never done it personally but have been itching too. now i guess i know better. i fertilize in the spring and in the fall.
  9. Brown & Co.

    Brown & Co. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    Dethatching is not the removal of living grass...althought the majority of people that do it just Lower their mower and scalp the lawn... but has its own Definate problems. It is the removal of debris buildup at the base of the plant. No Dethatching is not a nessecity. There is a certain point when thatch buildup were the grass joins the dirt, that it restricts the flow of air...this is provides the ideal environment for disease and fungus as well as rot can start to arise. It can also retain too much moisture and causing your grass to grow uncontrollably and out of since withe the rest of the lawn.

    Dethatching is a solution to the problem of thatch. Thatch build up is not always present. Regular routine cuttings at the specified height for your type of grass with eliminate this.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Thatch is NOT the dead grass clippings or pieces of debris from trees etc. that got mulched into the turf by mowing...

    Thatch is living and dead roots and stems that have grown into a mat above the soil. It is caused by too much water and too much fertilizer.

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