Why Dethatching and Aerating Your Lawn is a Good IdeaIt's natural to think that in order to dethatch there must be thatch somewhere. Thatch is simply the built up layer of dead grass clippings that accumulates in your lawn just above the soil. Thatch is actually good for your lawn because it helps provide a barrier to prevent disease and other harmful things that might kill the grass. Thatch also allows the soil to retain moisture by not letting water evaporate too quickly.
Dethatching is something that is normally done in the Spring and often coincides with the aeration process. Just like lawn aeration, dethatching is done in to allow nutrients, air, and water to have better access to the root system. Areas of the country consisting of tall fescue and perennial ryegrass do not have to worry as much about a heavy thatch layer build up, but unfortunately Reno consists of mainly Kentucky blue grass, which does tend to have a quicker build up of thatch growth. A small layer of around 1/2" thatch growth can actually be beneficial for your lawn because it can help protect the turf from the hot summer sun, help prevent weed germination, as well as reduce water evaporation. Although there are some great benefits to dethatching, it is important to make sure that if you hire someone to "power rake" the lawn it is not done right after the lawn has been watered. Unlike lawn aeration, which normally gets better core penetration just after a good soak, dethatching a wet lawn can leave you with damaged and ripped up sections of turf. Another important factor after power raking is to make sure that the loose thatch is properly raked up instead of left on the grass or mowed over. Some companies attempt to just mow over the loose thatch, but this will mulch up the dead stems and roots and put them right back into the lawn. The other day, we took a minute to shoot a quick video to show you just how much thatch is pulled up after dethatching a single 30 foot strip. From a distance this lawn does not look like it has a thick thatch layer, but once the power rake gets rolling you can see just how much dead stuff has been removed. Check out the video to get an better idea of what dethatching is and whether or not your turf might need it done. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3eLWyVjoDI[/youtube]
As we approach closer and closer to the time of activating our waters and thinking about mowing the grass it is very important in Reno to aerate your lawn at least once a year, if not more. Reno is known for it hard compact soil which can cause very thinned out grass over time if you do not aerate. Lawn aeration removes cores of soil from your turf which then allows more oxygen, nutrients, and water to penetrate to the roots of your grass. The soften soil allows the roots to grow more rapidly which results in a much more think healthier lawn.
When Should I Aerate in Reno?
Since Reno is actually known as a cooler climate, hence our dormant winters, lawn aeration should be done before the major growth seasons. This would primarily include aerating your lawn in the spring before the major lawn growth occurs and after the summer growth towards early fall. Although lawn aeration is extremely helpful for your lawn, it is also stressful on the turf so try to avoid aerating during summer.
Whats the best way to go about aerating my lawn?
There are a couple of options for this, and if you are not the do it yourself type of person than just call one of your local lawn professionals and they can take care of it with probably a minimum charge of $40-$60 for lawns with less than 2,500 square feet. If you like to do it yourself, I would recommend asking your neighbors if they would like their lawn aerated and see if they would be interested in chipping in some money to rent an aerator which normally run about $75.00 a day. This is a great way to serve your neighbors and get some major kudos. There are also hand core aeration tools that are significantly cheaper, but also comes with the price tag with some back breaking labor, so I don't even recommend that.
A few Suggestions
Whether your are going to aerate yourself or pay someone to do it, make sure you water your lawn thoroughly the night before to allow the soil to soften up. This will allow the aerators to do their job properly and remove cores 1"-2" instead of just bouncing along the dry soil and hardly remove anything. Mark your sprinklers with flags or just put large rocks over them for protection while aerating, to prevent breaking any sprinkler heads. Finally, make sure the highly traffic areas get a little extra attention from the aeration because theses areas are probably really compacted.
If you have any other questions on lawn aeration in Reno, even if you don't plan on using our service, feel free to send me an email and I would be more than happy to answer questions you might have.
I had some people ask me about what the benefits of dethatching you lawn are. I found a great WEBSITE that will help with some tips of how to prevent thatch, what it does, and when you should have it done. If you are interested in this service for your lawn in Reno, I would be more that willing to assist.