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unthatch your lawn
Lawn, Maintenance

When Should You Dethatch Your Lawn?

unthatch your lawn

Should you dethatch your lawn?

When should you dethatch your lawn? Most likely these questions arise 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.

When can you dethatch your lawn?

Yes, it’s spring, and it’s also time to dethatch 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.

Dethatching 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 lawn care. Using simple rakes, or power rakes pulls up the dead material, giving your lawn room to breathe. There are even attachments so you can dethatch your lawn with a lawn mower.

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.

Gardener pruning trees with pruning shears on nature background.

Pruning Trees, Shrubs, and Bushes

Early spring is the best time for pruning trees, shrubs, and bushes. This timing provides plants with the whole summer to heal their wounds. When plants are still dormant, it is easier to see the shape and form of the plant you are pruning.

“If a person cannot love a plant after he has pruned it, then he has either done a poor job or is devoid of emotion.” Liberty Hyde Bailey

Spring flowering shrubs, such as chokeberry, lilac and serviceberry should be pruned after flowering and before they set buds for the following season. The summer blooming bushes, potentilla, and spirea can be pruned back to 6-12 inches above the ground in the early spring.

Pruning can be the rejuvenation of an old, unruly shrub that has poor structure due to snow load.

When setting out to prune, spoil yourself with good, sharp tools. Make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle. The dead and broken limbs need cut first. Then, any crossing or rubbing branches need to removed. Then you can follow up by cutting to control shape and size. Don’t use pruning sealers, as they inhibit the plants natural healing process.


Fertilizing Your Yard

Fertilizing your yard is essential in maintaining healthy lawns and gardens and increasing plant growth rates. However, proper fertilization cannot adequately compensate for poor soil preparation and plant selection. Vigorous, healthy plants are better able to withstand insects and disease as well as harsh climatic conditions typical at this altitude.

“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.” Henry Van Dyke, Fisherman’s Luck 1899

We recommend fertilizing everything in the spring.

Some people prefer fall fertilization while others prefer to feed in every season. Please fertilize when you can. However, we feel it may not be beneficial to promote new leafy growth in the fall when plants should be concentrating on storing energy in their roots. Fertilizer leaching over the winter may also be a concern.

The following are our general recommendations for fertilization.

  1. Top dress established trees, shrubs and flower beds with a time release granular fertilizer such as 14-14-14 Apex.
  2. For lawns, we recommend a high nitrogen fertilizer in the early spring for quick greening.
  3. Use a weed and feed application, and then a winterizer in the fall on your lawn.
  4. For flower containers, hanging baskets and window boxes, use Miracle Grow or Super Bloom once weekly.

 It may be preferable to use organic fertilizers when possible.

It is always a good idea to mulch with compost. Apply single ingredient organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, bat guano and bone, blood, and kelp meal as needed. Also, we have a complete organic turf fertilizer called Bio Turf for vegetable gardens.,

Iron deficiency is widespread in our area due to the high pH of our soils. The symptoms typically appear on the new growth first and are characterized by yellowing between the leaf veins or overall yellowing in evergreens, Overataring can intensify the efficiency. Pelletized Ironite or liquid Iron Chelate can be used to combat the problem.