Blog | NarrowLeaf Landscapes

When NOT to Power Rake or De-thatch Your Lawn

I believe many people will do things for their lawns (with good intentions) because they see their neighbors doing things to their own lawns. Then they think that because their neighbor is doing it, that they should do it too.

Power raking and/or de-thatching your lawn is, in many cases, not needed for you lawn. In this post, we'll discuss when and when not to power rake or de-thatch your lawn.

What is De-thatching/Power Raking?

This term is used loosely, but refers to the machines that spin metal tines vertically to cut through deeper layers of thatch on a lawn. Some thatch is okay and even good for a lawn. But more than 1/2" thick can start becoming a problem to grass because it becomes a barrier and stops water, and nutrients from getting into the soil. It can also become a problem because insects can burry themselves in it and can cause problems for your lawn.

When should it be performed?

Deciding when to power rake or de-thatch your lawn will be determined by the thatch layer, which you can check by cutting out a piece of soil and measuring its depth. Or if your lawn visually has a large amount of thatch on top of the grass, like the picture provided below.

Thatch

Another way of timing and deciding when to power rake should not be any later than early Spring. This is because the lawn begins to grow and it will put a lot of stress on the grass and can do more damage then good to the lawn. While the lawn is still dormant or mostly dormant is the best timing. In Utah, this can be from March to early April, depending on the year and conditions we are having.

It's best to not power rake in the Fall time because the thatch in the Fall can help protect the lawn from the winter snow and protect it (It also doesn't look the greatest if it's done in the Autumn time).

To help prepare your lawn for Winter, and to help prevent against thatch build up in the Spring, cut your lawn before winter, and ensure you pick up leaves so they don't create the thatch layer. Cut your lawn slightly shorter (but not too short!) so grass isn't laying over from being smashed and wet from the winter snow. 

For a FREE quote to see if your lawn needs to be de-thatched, please call us at (801) 710-6062

When & How to Aerate your Lawn

In this post, we'll discuss when and how to aerate your lawn, to ensure only the best practices are made for Utah lawns.

When Should I aerate?

Aerating is when you remove plugs of soil from your lawn. Especially if your lawn is hard and compact. This is done so better oxygen, h20, and other nutrients gain more easily gain access to the soil and help the grass stay healthy. In Utah, we typically have cool season grass for our lawns, and so the absolute best time to aerate a lawn is in the Fall time period. But aerating in the Spring is okay too, as long as grass is still growing, can fill in, and heal itself after aerating, this should be done early Spring.

If you're unsure about your grass type or if you have questions about if your lawn is considered as a "cool season grass" here's a list:

  • Creeping bentgrass
  • Fescue (chewings, hard, red, tall)
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Rough bluegrass
  • Ryegrass (annual, perennial)

Here are some more accurate timing tips for the autumn time aeration:

  • When you know you’re going to aerate, do so just prior to fertilizing or reseeding your lawn. Aeration creates openings for nutrients and seed to penetrate soil.
  • Control weeds prior to aerating, because the process of aerating can spread weed seeds or portions of weedy roots.
  • Wait for at least a year to aerate newly planted lawns, so that grass is well established.
  • Aerate when soil is moist, but not saturated. The tines of a lawn aerator penetrate moist soil more deeply; soil that’s too wet clogs tines. To achieve the correct moisture balance, your lawn should absorb 1 inch of water – delivered through rainfall or irrigation – prior to aerating. This may mean you’ll water for one hour one day prior to aerating or, if your soil is hard, for shorter times on several days prior to aerating.
  • Avoid aerating during drought or high heat. If you aerate in these conditions, you’ll stress the lawn by allowing heat to dry soil.

How Do I Aerate my Lawn?

You can either hire out a lawn care company, such as NarrowLeaf Landscapes to come do all the work necessary for your aeration needs. Or you can also rent an aerator from your local hardware store for approximately $60+ for the first four hours. Typically, you can get a better deal through a lawn or landscaping company to do the work for you because they either own or rent themselves but can charge less because they're doing multiple lawns at once.

For more information about aerating a lawn in Ogden, Utah call us at (801) 710-6062.