Bagging grass?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Charles, May 28, 2000.

  1. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 10,789

    &quot;articlein todays paper 5/28/2000<br>By Joyce Resencrans--Script Howard News Service--Edited by me<br>Today's little lawn lesson is about thatch, a dreaded condition decribed by turf-company'telemarketers. But you lawn may not have thatch at all. For years, as long as mowers came equipped with pickup bags, many people mistakenly thought they were strangling their lawns with thatch by failing to pickup grass clippings. This collective guilt came to an abrupt halt with the introduction of mulching mowers. Yes chopped-up grass clippings left by the wayside are actually good for grass.<br> Nasty thatch is an accumulation of dead, partially decomposed grass roots and stems caused by excessive watering and fertilizing...&quot;<br>She say experts recommend watering depply once a week instead of lightly every day. Lightly everyday causes roots to cluster at the surface and turn into the dense mat that hold out air, water and nutrients while encouraging pest and disease problems.<br>Recommended cure is areating.
  2. Aerating does not remove thatch. All that does is poke holes in the thatch every 3-4 inches.<p>Verticutting removes thatch. You need a <br>power rake to do a proper job.
  3. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 10,789

    I agree Lawrence, Areation is just one way to feed the grass and let nutrients get through to the roots. But the article didnt claim it removed thatch
  4. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Who says the recomended cure for thatch is aerating, you or the article?? THATS A BIG WRONG ANSWER!!! I had a lot of customers specifically ask for me to aerate their yard because their &quot;Mow Blow and Go&quot; lawn service told them that will take care of the thatch. I guess stone called it verticutting. Thats the cure! You need to use a powerake/dethatcher whatever they call it in your neck of the woods!<p>----------<br>&quot;guido&quot;<br>David M. Famiglietti
  5. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 10,789

    Guido, the article recommended it. I didn't. And please read my second post 100 times and then right it on a blackboard til you have it memorised. I use spike areation though and tear up the ground. It brings out quite a bit of thatch. But to do a better job you do need the system you and Lawrence recommended. They should have left out the word &quot;cure&quot;
  6. bill phagan

    bill phagan Guest
    Messages: 0

    Gentlemen, maybe the below response will clarify this thatch issue for you. Thatch is a buildup of dead grass, typically caused by excessive watering and/or overfertilizing. Thatch is NOT caused by leaving grass clipping on the lawn. We need to educate our customers on this issue, maybe even supply documentation to them to preclude this laborious task. We are supposed to be the experts, not the customer. Their typical concern is the way the grass clippings look when left, then turn brown. Some suggestions.....get the best mulching blades you can find, mow with the chute turned inward with less raking if required. Try to catch them on their garbage day and leave the clippings on the curb or convince them to be environmentally sophisticated by them (or you, for a charge) installing the clippings in their shrub beds for mulch, weed control, moisture retention, etc. Verticutting is a process, primarily for thatch removal from St. Augustine turf, mainly found in SE states. It actually grows sideways as opposed to straight up. Some of our visitors to Florida call it a weed! Anyway, a verticutting machine, as opposed to a thatching machine is required to cut the ends and normally you would make a pass north and south, then east to west and start to sweat with that rake.The verticutting machine has a series of blades across to cut the runners. Or rent/buy a truck vacuum. This process is best done in late Feb to early Mar. Aeration is simply that, a process that allows for air to flow to the roots and creates access for chemicals to be applied and work properly. It also helps with compaction problems. A thatching machine is dedicated to grasses like Bahia with a series of tines or rake ends that uplifts the thatch for removal. Don't know how many times I've seen &quot;thatching&quot; machines uses to verticut St. Augustine lawns. If you work with Florida turf, books have been published by U of Florida call Florida Turf or look for the mini version of the book &quot;Ortho Problem Solver&quot; at your local mega store garden centers for about $20. Very helpful. I plan to eventually add these type tips to my website. Hope the above is helpful.
  7. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Dont know anything about most warm season grass as we only rarely have to deal with zoysia. However, Bill is absolutely right on the causes of thatch and about having to educate clients on what causes it to occur. Different grass types are also more prone to thatch (ie: bluegrass vs perennial rye). Aeration does help break thatch down to the extent that the soil microbes that actually process the thatch are then displaced to the top of of the thatch layer if the plugs are left on the surface. This is not a cure for excessive thatch but a side benefit of the relieving compaction/improved aeration of the turfgrass. If properly watered and fertilized thatch on most cool season is not a serious problem.<br>
  8. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 10,789

    Thanks Bill and Cmerland for those insightful replys.
  9. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Whats better and why - Verticutting or spring tine dethatching?<p>Mayby I should make this another post but for now we'll go here.

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