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Aerifying & Dethatching Your Lawn

You may have heard about aerifying and dethatching lawns. But what do those terms mean and is it something your lawn needs? Aerifying reduces soil compaction so critical water and oxygen can reach plant roots. Dethatching removes dead grass plants so new ones can grow in their place.

Compact soils like clay have few spaces between soil particles for water and oxygen, which are essential for plants to live. Even roots have a difficult time growing through compacted soil. The fix for this problem is aerifying.

A special aerifying machine pulls plugs of sod out of your lawn at regular intervals, providing “wiggle room” for the spaces between soil particles to expand and make room for nutrients and oxygen-laden moisture to reach the roots.

Aerifying machines can be rented at rental stores for the do-it-yourselfer but most property owners prefer to call us than to spend a hot, sweaty Saturday wrestling with this cumbersome machine. A couple of tips for the would-be d-i-yer: If you decide to do your own aerifying, leave the plugs right where they are discharged. They will fall apart and the grass will decompose in a couple of days and return organic matter to the soil. Also, don’t succumb to the old wive’s tale that you can aerify by mowing your lawn in golf shoes. The spikes on the shoes don’t go deep enough and they won’t pull plugs out like the hollow tines on an aerifying machine.

Dethatching is often mentioned in conjunction with aerifying. However, few lawns actually need dethatching. Many people believe thatch is mower clippings that fall to the ground and get tangled up in the grass leaves. Thatch is actually dead grass plants. Grass clippings will decompose rather quickly. Dead grass plants won’t decompose nearly as fast.

If your lawn does need dethatching, consider having it done professionally rather than doing it yourself. Our lawn care professionals will check your lawn to be sure it really needs dethatching, and they’ll look closely to determine the cause of the problem and recommend the best way to repair it.

Summer is a good time for both aerifying and dethatching if your lawn needs it. Give us a call to schedule a complete landscape inspection to determine if your lawn needs help.

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