Helpful Tips For Achieving a Thick and Healthy Lawn

We all want a lush, thick, green lawn, however, is power raking the dead grass and thatch from our lawns a sound practice? Maybe you’ve been hearing about power-raking as a good way to revitalize your lawn, loosening excess thatch. Thatch, you may know, is the darkbrown material found at the base of the grass plant near the soil, made of slowtodecompose plant material. If thatch gets to be ¾” or more, it browns the lawn and makes lawn care more difficult-water doesn’t penetrate the soil, etc.

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Proponents urge power-raking as a way to remove this thatch layer. Kind of like a nice little exfoliating microdermabrasion for your yard, right? Not necessarily. Here’s why I do not recommend powerraking and a few tips for how to reduce thatch more gently.

  1. Guess what? A little bit of thatch is not such a big deal! In fact, ½” or less can help protect your lawn and the soil layer.
  2. Even if thatch is over ¾” inch, powerraking is extremely harsh and most lawns do not require this kind of assault.
  3. One step forward, two steps back. Yes, powerraking removes thatch, but it also can damage the crown of the grass plant which is the center of growth for turf. Powerraking removes thatch and dead grass buildup and a lot of healthy plant material as well, leaving the turf thin and vulnerable for weeds to move in.
  4. Leave grass clippings on the lawn. They decompose quickly and help beneficial microorganisms (the kind that digest thatch) to grow.
  5. Avoid using pesticides, especially fungicides which destroy those beneficial microorganisms I mentioned in #4.
  6. Core aerate at least once a year or more if thatch is a problem. I know you like a clean lawn, but please resist clearing those little “plugs.” Leave them where they fall on the lawn at least until it has rained or you have watered a few times. Nutrient-rich water and oxygen now have their own little expressway to the grass roots, bolstering the health of your lawn.

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