Anngry Customer/ Thatching/ Im extremely frustrated.

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by CollegeMowers, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Sounds like you have a good grasp on the cultural practices...

    It is true that thatch has a dual definition... the main one is the living roots and stems growing above the surface of the soil and matting in with dead plant material...

    It is caused largely by improper cultural practices,,, so the question I ask myself in addressing thatch is which cultural practices are responsible for causing thatch in the first place... then I counteract those all season long and aerate in the Fall... In most cases aeration isn't necessary either, but it doesn't remove OM from the turf and it makes the clients happy...

    I don't believe that in most case the clipping even return 25% N to the turf, let alone 1/3, but I could be wrong about that... the important thing that grass clippings do is provide feed for microbes building soil structure and preventing our thatch problem...
    Once wequit encouraging grass roots to grow upward and provide healthy water/air ration within the soil structure, we are half way home in dealing with thatch...

    What do you see as encouraging the type of thatch discussed here???
  2. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Messages: 4,358

    My sales for a dethatching call explains that we go over the lawn twice in different directions, and a third time if need be. Explain the jrco rake and we use the mower for bagging. Never had a complaint.
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  3. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    There is another angle for real thatch reduction and that is the top dress effect from aeration and especially reciprocating aeration.

    Multiple passes with either type of machine will cure the thatch in each core hole left. The dirt and soil from the plugs if not bagged by the client or mowing service is broken up by the mower blades.

    For very thatchy lawns on my ap program I will do as many as 4 aerations bundled over the season.

    It freaks customers out since many think it's excessive and not needed. Again the client will say, "...I had my lawn aerated a few years back and I should be good....right...?....".

    The caveat is the added weed pressure from more aerations.
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  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,290

    You may want to do some educating of yourself. Smallaxe is correct, not many stands of turf truly need dethatching. If they do need it regularly, there is a good chance the problem is cultural.

    Aeration is a far better solution to too thick a thatch layer than dethatching.
  5. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    A) I dont proclaim to know anything about warm season grasses, but cool season I know a lot, I fertilize, thats what I do, and my lawns are the bomb.

    I would love to know what cultural practices you are talking about, mostly heavily fertilized lawns will have thicker thatch becasue it builds up quicker than it can break down thatch mostly made from dead stems, roots, rhizomes and tillers. Now when I talk about dethatching Im not talking about running your little jrco spring rake across it, im talking about flail blade dethatching or verti cutting. Clearly this isnt a practice that high production companues get into, due to amount of material taken out and labor hours involved. I wont dispute that aeration is a good practice you are absolutly correct, I have a z-plugger, a lawn solutions, and a tow behind. We do a lot of it. Here is the thing this thread was based on dethatching in the spring right, and someone not getting paid.

    If you poke holes in the ground in cool season turf in the spring then you are an idiot, period. The worst thing you could do is open up the turf so that you cant get a good chemical barrier and you will have more crabgrass than you know what to do with. The time to do it would be at the end of the summer and we overseed at that time. So if you are gonna "school me" please be more specific in your responce:usflag:
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Note the cools season grass recommendation...
    * "As thatch levels accumulate to greater than 1/2 inch, lawn problems may begin, and the thatch needs to be controlled. Thatch may be torn out with a dethatcher or vertical mower, but will most likely return unless the cause is corrected. Mechanical dethatching is also very destructive to the lawn because roots are in thatch instead of soil, so plants tear out easily. Overseeding is usually required afterwards. For this reason, it's best to tear out thatch in late August for optimum reseeding timing. ..." *

    It also has a clearer definition of thatch in this small article that discusses thatch being composed of LIVING and dead roots and stems... thatch is actually roots growing upward instead of downward... :)
  7. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,290

    Tell you what, smallaxe posted one link about the causes of thatch, how about you find some links from university research that proclaim the praises of dethatching vs aeration. And the main cause of thatch.

    Or how most universities are considering up to 3/4" of thatch acceptable now.

    Besides, I never said one word about when to aerate.
  8. Not sure what turf you guys are talking about, but 3/4 of an inch of thatch on sports turf is unacceptable. That stuff gets verticut yearly down here.
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  9. LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 756

    I'm in the north but I typically run a stihl yard boss with dethatcher attachment for spring clean-ups. Its not a true dethacther in the sense, but it does a good job of lifting up the matted debris and dead grass the is stuck to the lawn and makes it easier to blow the lawn and suck up debris. Around here spring aeration is common, but does break the so called pre-em barrier of the turf, but lots of people get it done. I'm unsure of the true practice of dethatching which is very aggressive on the turf.
  10. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    My name is on the line I'm at every job during the job or sometimes after the job.
    When the boss isn't around work don't get done the right way. That the facts of life.

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