De-thatching St. Augustine grass - is it a no-no?
I live in a 5 year old house in far northwest Houston, Texas. I have very thick St. Augustine grass in my backyard. In the spring, when the weather has not gotten disgustingly hot yet, I have beautiful, lush green lawn. By the end of the summer, I am beginning to notice that there is a lot of thatch building up. I know some people have ruined their lawns by using a de-thatcher. I do not want to do that. I am already having to re-sod my front lawn due to not being able to keep it watered enough this summer. My back lawn made it through. For this type of grass in this region of the country, is de-thatching a good idea? Or is there something else I should try? If so, what time of year? I have already tried manual raking. I get about 6 square feet done and I am exhausted. I get a lot of dead stuff out, but as large as my lawn is, it will take me forever to get through it all. I know if you use a de-thatcher, you have to manually rake up the thatch. But digging it out of the lawn on your own is really a lot of work! I do pick up my lawn clippings when I mow. Every third mowing, I do not pick up the clippings but instead, let my mower mulch them back into the lawn. My grass is so thick that if I mulched the clippings every time, I think I would have a far bigger problem with thatch build up than I have now.
Thanks for any input.