Dethatching St. Augustine

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jason'sLawnCare, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. Jason'sLawnCare

    Jason'sLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    After searching this topic I'm a bit confused. I was getting mixed things. Some said St. Augustine should not be dethatched and others said that St. Aug has lots of thatch. I'm curious which is true or are both and it just depends on the climate/type of St. Aug.

    If it's OK or good to dethatch would the Walker dethatcher be sufficient or would it require something more?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    First of all you need to understand what thatch is - and from your question you don't.
    Thatch is a layer of undecomposed organic matter below the soil surface in the root zone.
    Not to be confused with the layer of undecomposed organic matter at the soil surface adjacent to the crown of the turfgrass plant.
    The spring tine rakes only address the layer of undecomposed organic matter above the soil as penetration of at least 1/2" is necessary to begin to remove the layer below the soil surface.
    Hence the difference between a power rake and a spring rake.
    Now to address your question:
    1. First St. Augustine will markedly benefit from an aggressive power raking - in fact all C4 turfgrass (actually C3 as well) will.
    2. Once you have successfully completed this then a spring tine rake can be used to address repeated raking needed to keep the above ground layer from accumulating.
    3. A benefit to an aggressive power raking is now you can maintain a minimal layer of thatch by hollow core aerification followed by a spring tine raking to bust up the cores.
    Couple this with a bagging mower and now you are starting to address a needed cultural program.
    For what it's worth, I have been doing this for years and it works quite well.
    Better yet this operation equals very good money, one employee aerifying, raking and collecting the debris from a 5,000 square foot turf site in three hours = a minimum of $350.00 to me.
  3. Jason'sLawnCare

    Jason'sLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    Thanks for your knowledge. No I guess I didn't know what thatch was I thought it was the dead grass blades and leaves that were above the soil. Thanks for clearing that up.

    I don't know about how cold of a winter texas had but here in North Florida ours was colder than in years past and it seems that our yards have more dead grass(not dormant) than other years. Will the tines remove much of this dead grass?

    So now exactly what thatch really is, has anybody used the Walker attachment to remove the above surface stuff? If so how well does it do the job, or do you suggest the JRCO?


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