DIY Network

Thatch and Aerating

Learn how to properly thatch and aerate a lawn for healthy grass.

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thatch prevents nutrients from getting to roots

Thatch is a layer of dead grass and stems that sits between the grass and the soil. It’s caused by over-fertilizing, shallow watering and infrequent mowing. It prevents nutrients from getting to the roots. Dethatchers rip out all the debris. All you have to do is rake it up.

Aerating is a process of putting holes in the grass to allow oxygen, nutrients and moisture to get to the roots. Some signs you need to aerate are: bare spots due to foot traffic, water logged areas after heavy rain and brown spots when weather is dry.

Aerators can be rented at home centers or tool rental places. They are heavy, bulky and somewhat awkward to operate. Go back and forth over the turf. If you have a core aerator, it will pull up plugs of soil. You can either rake up the plugs or you can let them dry out and mow over them.

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