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Question about dethatching

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by onestar, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. onestar

    onestar LawnSite Member
    from 6
    Messages: 20

    I'm new to all of this yard work. Just planted new tall fescue last fall and it came up good, nice stand of grass. My question is about the straw I can still see covering the ground under the grass. Should I dethatch this so the grass can breathe? Will it hurt the new grass? What time of year if any is best to dethatch? Thanks..
  2. scout_pete

    scout_pete LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    The straw will decompose. You can just let it be. It's presence actually helps prevent weed germination. You will not likely ever have true "thatch" problems with tall fescue. Thatch is more than grass clippings (or straw) on the soil. It's a mat of grass baldes, many still attached to the plant, that build up and prevent air, water and nutrients from reaching the root zone. I don't know what the pros will say, but I would,'t give the weed seeds a chance to germinate in your young lawn this srping. You can "dethatch" any excess material in the fall.
  3. yamxtc600

    yamxtc600 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I have somewhat of the same issue. I contacted the contractor that installed my SOD(12,000 sq. ft.) last year and he advised me to wait until early fall (SE Michigan). Then use a dethatcher, then pick-up the dead debris and re-seed.

    Should I use a hand garden rake or de-thatching rake now?

    Is it too late in early fall(late aug or sept) to seed and expect it to take the winter well?

    Thanks to all for your help.
  4. zgman

    zgman LawnSite Member
    from va
    Messages: 55

    I de-thatched my yard 2 years ago and was surprised to see a lot of straw come up to the surface. The yard had been hydo-seeded 2 years prior with straw layed on top. I'm actually planning on de-thatching again this weekend since I'll be putting fert down soon. This will allow it to better reach the soil.

    Fall is generally when you want to seed especially if you use a pre-emergent in the spring.
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    If the sod was installed last year, there shouldn't be any reason to dethatch. A good rakeover at most. If a lawn IS in need of dethatching, the advantage of doing it in the fall is that the grass is well rooted and stable. This way, you are not pulling out as many good rhyzomes and grass plants that are just weakened from dormancy (much more comes up in spring than in fall).
  6. yamxtc600

    yamxtc600 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Being from Flint really makes me value your opinion. Thanks for the help. I have determined to let it ride for this year and possibly aerate later this summer. Then re-evaluate next spring. Now that we have had a few warm days, it has really begun to take off and green-up nicely.

    Brighton, MI
  7. Tscape

    Tscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,370

    Runner is right. Thatch is rarely a problem in SE Michigan unless you over-fertilize. Bluegrass is the last turf to turn in the spring. Call me at 734-320-4700 if you are interested in fertilization and weed control.
    Mike McDade

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