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lawn renovation

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tramahor, Mar 17, 2003.

  1. tramahor

    tramahor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 82

    OK guys quick question, I have 3 lawn renovations this weekend. What would you recommend for a top dress? I am going to dethatch, aerate, over-seed and a stater fertilizer.

    Thanks in advance for your advice


    Stone Creek Landscaping
  2. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    How heavy is it?
    I really find thatching to be a total waste of time, effort and $$.
    If it's thick enough to be a problem (over 1/2") then you can't rip up enough to do anything without tearing up all the turf.
    What is effective is core areating spring and fall and top dressing. Punching holes in the thick cover and allowing oxygen, water and nutrients to pass through to the root zone is a very good thing. Besides tearing it up physically the bacteria that can survive now will help decompose it.
    IF you are combatting heavy thatch then I'd try to use composted horse/cow manure. The more active bacteria you get chewing up that thatch the better.
    What are you seeding with? If you're just broadcasting, the plug holes will get a disproportionate amount of the seed and be clumpy. And if it is heavy thatch then not much seed is going to touch soil! Why not just rent a slit seeder and be done with it?
  3. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    When a question is posted like this and you expect a decent and approprate answer I highly suggest providing some information about what's in question.

    What type grass, what are the CEC's, what type soil, .....

    I also think thatching is a waste-o-time, I've never found a lawn with an 1/2" of thatch. If it's a warm season grass slit seed it, if it's a cool season I do them depending on current ground cover. Mike covered it very good.
  4. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    I've seen it up to 3" thick (up north here). Was like walking on super plush carpeting.
  5. Lombardi

    Lombardi LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 538

    In my area I de-thatch every yard that I am hired to renovate. An average size yard of 12000 sq.ft. will produce enough thatch to fill half of my 18' trailer to a depth of about 4 feet.
  6. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    Yea yea, we all know how impressive it LOOKS. But how much does all that loose stuff you rake up actually "chop off" the existing thatch?? NOT VERY MUCH at all. Cause you really have to chew up the lawn to do any good, and the customer NEVER understands that.
    The ONLY way it is advantagous is if you break through it and expose soil. How often does that happen? So you kinda, sorta, beat it up a little. Get these great piles. Looks impressive, does very little.

    Put it this way, how long do you think it would take you to eliminate 2" of thatch by dethatching? You couldn't do it in 5 years I'd wager, without tearing up every bit of grass. More like 10 years i'd think. I know folks that have their lawn dethatched every year, and there is still always some the next year.
    On the other hand if you core areate twice a year and topdress with a beneficial bacteria providing fertilizer or manure, I've seen that 2" down below 1/2" in 3 seasons.
  7. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    If I thatched a 12,000 lawn that needed it. i would expect to fill that WHOLE trailer up completely, with packed down to make it fit, loose stuff.
  8. Bruceslc

    Bruceslc LawnSite Member
    from 6
    Messages: 7

    I agree the only way to take care of the thatch is to tear up thr whole yard or do a good aeration job. I've de-thatched before but it only removes the top loose grass the has added up. Not the thatch which is a build up of some clippings but mostly old grass roots or runners.:blush:
  9. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    That's great Dave but how thich was the thatch when you started?

    I have seen thatch and some (up to 1/2") is good, I could probably get 1/2 trailer from my 11k lawn but why?

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