unthatch your lawn
Lawn, Maintenance

When should you unthatch your lawn?

unthatch your lawn

When should you unthatch your lawn? Most likely it is a question because we just want our lawn to wake up and look nice without any effort other than turning on the sprinklers. Perhaps we think “The thatch and decay in the lawn will provide some nourishment to the lawn. Kind of like compost. Yeah, that thatch is like compost. We can leave it and the lawn is healthier for it”. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Removing the old dead grass and other detritus helps the grass to breathe and grow. Yes, it’s spring, and it’s also time to de-thatch your lawn. Think of it as a gentle facial, if you’ve ever had one, that is. Think how much your yard will appreciate the cleaning and massaging of your rakes. All these actions help the grass to grow healthy and active. Removing the thatch from winter improves the growth and overall health of your lovely yard. Depending on where you live, you may have voles that wreak havoc through the winter months. The little devils using the snow depth as insulation and terrorizing your lawn underneath the protection of pristine white snow all winter long.

De-thatching and removing all this dead and decaying material is key to a beautiful green lawn this spring.

Once the snow finally melts from your yard, you can go about de-thatching the lawn. Using simple rakes, or power rakes pulls up the dead material, giving your lawn room to breathe.

Now that your lawn is dethatched, you can add seed and fertilizer. You also need to keep your lawn well watered to help the lawn heal. Dethatching also makes room for fertilizer and other lawn treatments to reach the lawn. Otherwise, those fertilizers and food for your grass might go wasted away on the dead material choking your yard.

Grass seeds in the hand

Seeding Your Lawn

When seeding your lawn, we suggest using a mixture of grass seed because different species will thrive under different conditions.

For a typical yard, we recommend Tri-Mix Lawn seed. This mix contains:

  • Kentucky Bluegrass a sun-loving grass and the typical sod species in our area.
  • Perennial Ryegrass, which withstands high traffic and is insect and disease resistant
  • Creeping Red Fescue, a low maintenance shade and drought tolerant grass. We also have mixed available for low maintenance lawns and native grasses.

For best results, the soil should be tilled to a depth of 3″ and raked to remove clumps and rocks.

Smoothe and level the ground with any slopes directed away from the house. Then roll with a weighted roller. Use a seed spreader to spread the seeds and sow in two directions, one at 90 degrees to the other to ensure proper coverage. Rake gently and roll again. Mulch with fine, weed-free straw or compost. There is no need to water if you are seeding in the late fall before the snow flies.

When seeding in the spring, water frequently to keep the seeds moist but not saturated.

Cut back watering to once a day after the grass has grown to about an inch tall. Mow the lawn after it reaches 3 inches. You can go to a regular watering schedule of one inch per week after the third mixing. Once the grass is well established, you can apply a wee and feed. This will fertile the grass and kill any unwanted weeds.

When seeding wildflowers, select a site with good drainage that is free of weeds and choking grasses.

The soil should be tilled to a depth of 3″ and raked to remove clumps and rocks. Mix the seed with dry sand to help distribute the seed evenly and hold it in place. Do not seed thicker than the recommended application rate. You will get too many annuals the first year, and they will shade the perennials underneath with need sunlight to emerge and develop.

You can broadcast seeds by hand or use a seed spreader for larger areas. Rake lightly, covering seeds 1/8 inch. Mulch with weed-free straw or compost and water once gently.

When seeding in the spring, you will need to keep the seedbed moist until the plants emerge. After that, you may need to water up to one-half inch per week in order to keep the flowers at their best. Be sure not to overwater.