The Q&A Archives: Dethatch or Aerate?

Question: Our lawn is terrible in spite of 4 step fertilization. Lots of thatch. Is it better to aerate (plug) the lawn or thatch the lawn? We are desperate. Please Help!!!

Answer: Thatching removes the dead stolons, rhizomes, stems and old grass blades. All turfgrasses have thatch but a thatch layer that is too thick can keep water from penetrating down to the roots and can keep fertilizers from reaching the soil. If your turf has excessive thatch, more than one inch of thatch, then you should dethatch your lawn, then overseed this spring.

Aerating helps if your soil is compacted, which can happen by itself over the years, or by lots of foot traffic. By removing plugs of grass and soil, then spreading a thin layer of sand or compost over the lawn and watering it in, the sand or compost will work its way into the holes and help loosen the soil.

If you are not sure which to do, you can do both. Dethatch and overseed this spring, then aerate in the fall, leaving the plugs on the lawn. They will dissolve with the rain.

Hope this information helps you make the right decision with your lawn!

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