Why Dethatching and Aerating Your Lawn is a Good Idea

It’s natural to think that in order to dethatch there must be thatch somewhere. Thatch is simply the built up layer of dead grass clippings that accumulates in your lawn just above the soil. Thatch is actually good for your lawn because it helps provide a barrier to prevent disease and other harmful things that might kill the grass.Thatch also allows the soil to retain moisture by not letting water evaporate too quickly.

The problem starts when thatch becomes excessive and it suffocates the yard. Having a big buildup of thatch will block necessary nutrients from feeding the grass. The process of dethatching pulls the layer of thatch up from your lawn so it can breathe and remain healthy. You will need to collect and dispose the thatch afterwards. If you have never dethatched your lawn you may be surprised just how much thatch you’ll pull up the first time.

Dethatching Tools

There are a number of different tools out there for dethatching your lawn. The simplest tool is the dethatching rake. The rake is designed with special blades that pull up thatch without damaging the live grass. Dethatching with a rake can be physically demanding and take a long time. It’s ideal for small lawns and small areas.

There are also power dethatches that make the dethatching process much easier. If you have a riding mower there are a lot of different types of dethatching attachments you can buy to pull behind you. Using most attachments is as simple as hooking it up to your riding mower and letting it do the work.

Aerating Your Lawn

Lawn aeration is the process of poking small holes in your lawn. Lawn aerators come in two varieties: spike aerators and plug aerators. Spike aerators poke holes with small metal spikes. The plug aerators remove small soil plugs from the lawn. Spike aerators typically create a lot of small holes while plug aerators create fewer holes that are much larger and deeper.

Similar to dethatching there are several types of tools used for aerating the lawn. Because aerators have to poke many holes through hard dirt, most machine aerators operate with the assistance of something heavy to help penetrate the soil.There are also manual aerators where you can place a cinder block on top to weigh it down as you push it across the lawn. Most aerators are either power stand-alone units or attachments for riding lawn mowers.

Aerating your lawn offers two primary benefits. First, it loosens up the soil. Second, by making lots of physical holes in your lawn, nutrients and fertilizer can get to your grass roots quicker and easier. Over time your soil gets compact and this makes it difficult for grass roots to grow. The creation of holes simply allows your yard to breathe. In the end aerating will lead to a healthier, thicker and greener lawn.