More in Outdoors
Materials and Tools:
de-thatching rake or stiff-tined rake
Craftsman mower with de-thatching mower attachment or de-thatching machine
When turf feels spongy and water runs off surface, it's time to check thatch.
Lawn thatch is the thick mat of clipping, cuttings, and stems that builds up between green blades and soil, blocking air, water and light. It starves grass of water and nutrients.
To measure depth of thatch, part grass with hands. When thatch builds up to at least one inch, it's time to get rid of it.
Start by forcefully raking grass with stiff-tined or de-thatching rake.
Pull out as much thatch as you can without disturbing grass roots.
Attach de-thatching blade to mower or rent de-thatcher from garden or landscape shop. Never de-thatch when lawn is wet or in very hot weather.
Tip: Practice de-thatching at farthest point from house until you learn to control machine; blades should be low enough to cut through thatch without scraping soil.
Run machine over each area of lawn only once.
Use leaf rake to remove piles of thatch.
Tip: Thatch can be composted.
Aerate lawn regularly and reseed to slow buildup of thatch.