Taking Care of What’s Under Your Lawn

Thatch buildup can be harmful to your lawn!

The thatch layer is a normal part of any lawn. It consists of both living and dead organic materials, including the surface roots, stems and crowns of dead grass plants. Located on top of the soil and underneath your grass plants, thatch can become a problem if too much is allowed to accumulate.

When the thatch layer gets to be more than ½” thick, it can prevent air, water and nutrients from reaching you lawn’s root system. Plus, it can become a home for various types of insects and fungus diseases that can damage and even kill your turf.

Taking Control of Thatch

One of the bet ways to prevent excessive thatch buildup is to have your lawn aerated. During aeration, plugs of soil and thatch are pulled up from your lawn and left behind to dissolve through rainfall or sprinkling. As the plugs dissolve, they help to speed up the natural decomposition of the thatch layer. Aeration also opens up pathways that help air, water and nutrients travel more easily to the roots. Performed annually, aeration will help to keep thatch within acceptable limits while strengthening the root system.

When Aeration Isn’t Enough

If a lawn is very damaged or has an excessively thick layer of thatch, one remedy is to slice seed. With this process, a slice-seeding machine cuts open the thatch, mixes soil with it and plants seed directly into the soil beneath. Another solution is to have the lawn

Slice Seeding

dethatched with a power dethatcher. This equipment uses angled blades to pull thatch up out of the lawn. After dethatching, the loosened thatch must be raked up and removed.

Remember, in moderation, thatch is a normal and healthy part of any growing lawn. Annual core aeration, along with slice seeding or dethatching if necessary, will go a long way towards keeping thatch under control.

 

Revitalize That Tired-Looking Lawn

Aeration, Overseeding and Slice Seeding can work wonders

 The cool, crisp weather of fall makes it easy to forget how overbearing summer can be. Unfortunately, our lawns have a little more trouble putting summer’s heat and dryness behind them.

If your turf is looking a little worse for wear this fall, you’re not alone. Lots of lawns are showing the effects of another scorching summer. You may be noticing:

  • Dead or very thin sections of turf.
  • Grass that feels especially soft or spongy when walking across it.
  • An abundance of broadleaf or grassy weeds in the lawn.
  • A failure to improve in appearance despite regular watering and fertilization.

Renovating now will encourage beautiful turf later

Fall is a great time for lawn renovations. Not only is the weather milder, but also new grass seed will have much less competition from weed seeds trying to grow.

Core aeration is one of the best things that can be done for your lawn. An aerating machine removes plugs (or cores) of thatch and soil from your turf, and the holes left behind make it easier for air, water and fertilization to reach the root system. The result is a stronger, more extensive root system and greener, healthier, more robust turf.

You might also want to reseed your lawn, which can be done in one of two ways. Overseeding after aeration is a good way to thicken up thin turf. Seed is spread evenly over any thin or bare areas, soon after aeration is completed. Some of the seed lodges in the holes made by the aerator, and the increased seed-to-soil contact improves germination. If aeration hasn’t been done, slice seeding is another option. A slice seeding machine creates vertical “slices” in the soil, and then deposits seed directly into them. Again, germination rates are improved due to the seed coming into direct contact with the soil.

Each of these renovation methods can help to get your summer-stressed lawn back in shape again. Just remember, regardless of the method you choose, the sooner it’s preformed the better!

Resurrecting a Lifeless Lawn: What To Do To Make Turf Look Like New

A Lifeless Lawn

At this point in the growing season, you may notice thinning turf or bare spots in your lawn and wonder what could be causing the trouble. There are plenty of possible reasons for problems like these, including:

 

Compact Soil and Excessive thatch

Insect or Disease damage and Hot, dry weather

 

The good news is that your turf can be brought back to life again. Aside from sticking to proper mowing, fertilizer and watering practices, the following steps can make a world of difference.

Aeration

Compacted soil and excessive thatch can starve turf roots of the air, water and nutrients they need to grow deep and strong. Aeration can help. With this process, a machine known as a core aerator punches through turf and pulls out plugs of soil and thatch, which are left behind to dissolve during rainfall or sprinkling. As the plugs dissolve, decomposition of thatch layers is promoted. Plus, the holes created during aeration make it easier for air, water and nutrients to reach the roots.

Over-seeding (with aeration)

This is a great way to thicken up thin turf areas, and it’s done by broadcasting seed evenly over any spots that need to be filled in. over-seeding always works better when there’s good seed-to-soil contact. If your lawn is aerated before over-seeding, the seed will have some soil to lodge in and germination rates will improve.

Slice Seeding

This is the most efficient way to seed a very thin or badly damaged lawn. A slice seeder (or slit seeder) makes vertical slits in the turf and deposits grass seeds directly into the soil, all in one pass. This encourages high germination rates and thicker growth.

Late summer and fall are great times for renovation practices like these, since temperatures are milder and more conducive to new growth. In addition, new grass doesn’t have as much weed competition once the growing season starts winding down.

If your lawn looks like it’s struggling this summer, consider these steps to help get it back on track again!