Tips on dethatching your lawn

Have you ever wondered why your lawn can sometimes look a bit sorry for itself? The culprit could be thatch, which if left, could cause problems and encourage the onset of lawn disease. Find out how to identify thatch and how to remove it with Paynes Turfs’ tips on dethatching your lawn.

What is thatch?

Thatch is a layer of organic material, comprising of intermingled dead and living stems, leaves, and roots, which builds up over time. The thatch reduces the amount of light and air that can reach the grass, ultimately leaving your lawn looking dry, brown, and unkempt.

A small amount of thatch is actually good for your lawn as it provides a constant supply of essential nutrients, and helps to protect the grass against extremes in temperature.

Thatch problems occur when turf produces this organic material faster than it can be broken down.

How to spot thatch

Thatch is visible between the grass leaves and the surface of the soil. If your lawn is affected by the presence of thatch, you’ll notice that it will feel soft and spongy to walk on, and is difficult to pull a rake through.

Dethatching your lawn

To dethatch a lawn you’ll need a spring-tined rake. Simply pull the rake backwards and forwards through the grass, firmly yet carefully, removing all of the dead plant material from the lawn. It will take some time to go over the surface of the lawn, and the lawn may look patchy afterwards, however it will soon regenerate now that air and light can reach the surface of the lawn.

Place the removed material on the compost heap to take advantage of its excellent nutritional benefits.

When to dethatch?

It is possible to dethatch a lawn during the spring, however as the lawn may take several weeks to recover from the process, it is advisable to only give it a light raking. The best time to dethatch a lawn is during the autumn months when the lawn has time to recover fully over the winter months.