Thatch is the packed layer of dead roots, living shoots, dead grass, and other partially decayed objects that get stuck in the mess. It is found between the existing grass and the soil, and greatly hinders your lawns ability to be healthy and flourish. It prevents water, air, and nutrients from getting through to the soil and the grass’ roots. It also prevents grass from breaking through to the surface and expanding its coverage.
Dethatching is one of those processes that takes a good amount of time and energy when you don’t have the right equipment (The Mednick Landscape Company has commercial quality machinery that can take care of your dethatching needs effectively and safely). There are a lot of low-cost gimmicks out there for people who are aware of the importance of de-thatching and want to do it, but don’t know that these products will either not work, waste time/money, or ruin your lawn. Some of the products that you attach to your lawn mower can also put a lot of stress on your lawn mower as it is not intended for this type of use.
You want to make sure that you don’t try and remove the entire layer of thatch in just one treatment…doing it all at once is not only a long process for yourself, but it will also stress out your lawn. Avoid dethatching when the soil is wet as well (this is why fall/winter/early-spring is ideal). And only de-thatch when it’s needed…it doesn’t need to be something that is done too often (every other year or so).
(HINT: Keeping a little thatch is actually a good thing because it helps to control the temperature between the grass and the soil. You don’t want to have more than ½ inch, however. You can remove a plug from your lawn to see how deep the thatch layer is).