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dethatching.....opposite directions?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by CTD_Crazed, May 10, 2013.

  1. CTD_Crazed

    CTD_Crazed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    ok, today when i mowed i took OFF the thatcher and bagger and simply discharged the grass clippings into the yard.

    i have yet to apply ANY type of fertilizer or herbicide.

    so are you saying i should NEVER dethatch or ONLY dethatch in the fall - sept or oct. - after the lawn has fully matured through the summer. I was under the impression that spring dethatching and aerating (2 in 1 was my assumption as thatcher creates aeration when used) was the correct time to do that. i was also under impression you should dethatch BOTH spring and fall.

    man its a good thing we caught this early!!
  2. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    I'm saying that unless you have a over-abundance of thatch (spongy feeling turf) you don't ever need to de-thatch fescue, ryegrass seems more prone to thatch. I don't think spring aeration or removing thatch is a good idea because the ground and the grass plant's are too cold to recover correctly. Now you might make a exception with spring aeration in a heavily compacted area, but it would have to be an emergency where the benefit's would outweigh the drawback's. Fall aeration is a good idea because by then the soil need's to be loosened up, need's air input and is warm enough to recover quickly. But again, unless you have excessive thatch (more than 3/4 inch) de-thatching is not needed. The fall is a better time to do any kind of soil cultivation simply because the soil is warmer and can recover quickly.

    De-thatching and aeration are not the same, aerator tine's go much deeper, wider and actually remove soil and leave airspace (important).

    Go ahead and fertilize with the turf builder, try to do it before a rain so it get's watered in.

    Consider getting a good rotary spreader, this will last you the rest of your life if kept clean and out of the rain. It will make all of this much easier.

    I've tried to find a good illustration of a soil profile showing a thatch layer.

  3. CTD_Crazed

    CTD_Crazed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    hmmm ok, well i definitly pulled a LOT of thatch out of the lawn, as i said i emptied my 2 bag power flow bagger probbaly 50 or 60 times. 80% of that was all thatch.
  4. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    Yeah, but the key is how thick was that thatch layer. Anything up to 3/4 of a inch doesn't need to be removed and actually that thin layer is a good thing for the soil. Like i said, if it felt spongy when you walked on it, it was time to thin it out, but with the correct maintenance, you shouldn't have to do that.
  5. CTD_Crazed

    CTD_Crazed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    gotcha.....i cant remember how it felt when i walked on it haha
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Here is the main reason so much CONFUSION is conjured up over thatch... it is NOT what most people commonly refer to as thatch... the brown dead grass blades nestled down in amongst the crowns of the living plants , serve as root protection and rot into SOM helping soil structure and the moisture/air ratio...

    This is the type of thatch that has negative impact on the turf:


    And that problem is caused by too much fert and irrigation,, among other poor management practices... :)
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Don't assume it is thatch. Chances are, most of what you pulled up was simply dead grass. The only way to determine if you have an excessive thatch layer is to take soil cores throughout the area.

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