SPRING CLEANING YOUR LAWN
Spring is the season of new life and new growth. While there are a multitude of benefits of the growth season on your lawn, you may be seeing a buildup of thatch. Thatch is a layer of living and dead plant matter that accumulates on your lawn around the base of the grass. Thatch buildup can make your lawn thick and spongy. While a small layer of thatch may provide some benefits to your lawn, excessive thatch can lead to root problems and lawn mowing issues. If you’re finding a buildup of thatch in your lawn, then spring is the ideal time to try a variety of dethatching methods. Here are a few ways you can tackle that thatch and spring clean your lawn!
For smaller lawns (or for those of you who crave a workout), simply using a metal rake may remove a satisfactory amount of the thatch layer. You can buy specialised thatching rakes, but any sturdy metal rake will work fine.
Be sure to dig in with the rake, getting the teeth well into the turf to pull up enough thatch. This method is best for thinner layers of thatch as removing thatch by hand can only do so much. For thicker thatch layers, you may need another solution.
It’s not as spooky as it sounds! Scarifying grass is a method similar to the raking method mentioned above, in which thatch is removed by cutting into the subsurface of the turf with a specialized scarifying machine (also called a dethatcher).
Scarifying a lawn will remove both the thatch and most of your grass leaves, leaving it looking brown and bare immediately after scarification. While this may look disastrous, it is extremely beneficial to your lawn as the thatch layer has been removed, allowing the grass to grow deeper roots into the actual soil. After a few weeks’ recovery, your lawn will be looking healthier and more luscious than ever.
Ensuring your root system is deep, strong and healthy is the key to your lawn thriving in the harsh Aussie summer.
Often times, getting your hands on a scarifying machine may be a little too complicated. If this is the case, your rotary mower may be able to help you, however it will take a little more time. Ensuring your blades are sharpened, mow your lawn multiple times, gradually lowering the mower’s height to bring up unwanted thatch.
This method is essentially a form of intentional “scalping” so be sure to give your lawn extra care immediately after dethatching. Make sure you have a catcher attached to your mower, otherwise your job may be never-ending!
Getting the Timing Right
Such invasive methods of lawn care must be timed perfectly to ensure maximum benefit to your lawn and a full recovery. Spring is the ideal time to dethatch your lawn as temperatures are warm (but not too warm!) and the chance of frost is minimal. Spring is also the season where your grass grows fastest, cutting down the recovery time of dethatched or scarified grass, especially with the help of proper watering and fertilization.