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Dethatching

Posted by Hamster1 none (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 15:02

Hi,

Admittedly I'm a complete newbie to lawn care. My husband and I just bought a house and the lawn definitely needs some tlc...some weeds, some deadspots and random patches of sod that are raised above everything else.

I'm curious about dethatching though. Can a lawn sweeper be used to keep thatch in check? I asked because I was sweeping up gum balls the other day (stupid spikey balls lol) and ended up collecting a ton of dead grass too.

I'm curious if I just run the sweeper around before thatch gets thick/strongly woven if that could prevent ultimately having to use a special dethatching tool.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dethatching

It will help, but you have to use it regularly.

Thatch is a combination of clippings and dead blades attached to grass plants - the sweeper will prevent the clippings from collecting as thickly, but the dead blades will still happen and eventually need removal.

The only tool you really need is a dethatching rake.

I did 1200 square feet of Buffalo/Bermuda mix lawn last week with one, spreading the work out over a period of several days.


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RE: Dethatching

Ah ok, that makes sense. Thanks for pointing out the thatching rake! I'm going to attempt to rehab the front portion of our lawn first (so I don't spend a ton of effort doing the whole yard and end up not getting any results) so I could manually rake it if need be.


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RE: Dethatching

Wait! What is a lawn sweeper? Name and model number?

You don't need to dethatch. I can almost guarantee it. Dethatching is something invented by the lawn care industry so they can make their boat payments through the fall. You might have dead grass but not thatch. Having said that the only way you might have thatch is if you have Kentucky bluegrass, it was watered every day for 10 minutes, and it was fertilized lightly twice per month all last year. Under these terrible care conditions, you can generate thatch.

If you simply start watering twice per month (until temps get into the 90s), mulch mow at the mower's highest setting, and fertilize with a real fertilizer 3x per year, then anything that looks like thatch will go away by itself. If use an organic fertilizer like alfalfa pellets (rabbit chow), the issue will go away faster.

What what about that lawn sweeper??? I'm thinking of another sweeping application.


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RE: Dethatching

Holy cow.
Grass clippings provide next to nothing to thatch and are a source of turf nutrition so sweeping the lawn is counter-productive and does nothing for thatch. A properly maintained lawn shouldn't produce thatch. That means proper mowing, watering and fertilization.
HOWEVER, if you DO have more than one half inch of thatch, it should be addressed or the lawn will suffer. The only sure way to determine a thatch problem is to cut out a wedge of turf and take it to a county extension office or compare it to google images of thatch.
Sure, anything organic will eventually decompose, but long after your lawn is dead. if you really do have thatch, the only cure is by mechanical means, like a vertical rake.


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RE: Dethatching

I used a tow behind sweeper on a lawn tractor at our church, but that was only in the fall to pick up leaves. Swept great but a pain to empty every pass of the field LOL Only reference to lawn sweeper I know.

And I 100% agree with all of the above. Since only mulch mowing my lawn is way healthier. Noticably better than my neighbors who all bag. No thatch problem here ;-)


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