Dethatching Your Lawn or Aerating? Know What’s Best


In an instance, where you find your lawn yelling out for your attention by showing detrimental signs including green grass turning yellowish-brown, missing patches that indicate the slow demise or the healthiest plants becoming dead in a row, comprehend that it’s time for comprehensive lawn care.

While you go frustrated that you can’t pinpoint the exact issue, the apparent potential problem could be “thatch” which typically appears like this. 

Thatch: A Biggest Nuisance to Healthy Lawns

Thatch is a layer that builds up between the grass and the soil made up of interwoven, dead and alive grass shoots, stems, crowns, and roots. It acts as a barrier between the soil and the lush green grass- your source of great pride. About a half-inch layer of thatch is considered healthy as it plays an active role in maintaining the steady soil moisture and temperature. However, when it widens than that, the threat rapidly grows too.

You might leave your seat here and make a call straight to one of the renowned lawn dethatching services as well as lawn aeration services that operate well in your area and this is where you can get stuck to your neck. Making sure about the best choice for your lawn won’t be so easy but remember as the need is imperative, so should be the solution too. Dethatching gives you kind of a violent impression, as the name sounds, but if you really care for a healthy lawn environment in the long-term, then the idea of the prompt thatch removal chips in.

Before you start showing concern for the later step, first and foremost seek our expert guidance regarding aeration vs dethatching and the one which suits best for your lawn. Upon learning the facts, you will be allowed to make a wise decision. Henceforth, understand the explained meaning of two terms and their primary purposes in repairing your lawn.

Here’s everything else essential about thatch and detach. 

Don Callahan with the Yamhill County Extension in Oregon, says, “it’s something most homeowners can tackle on their own.” While a vibrant green lawn looks beautiful in appearance, you must keep an eye on underground activity. That’s because an excessive thatch buildup can drive several problems:

  • It welcomes many fungi-oriented diseases and attracts insects.
  • It accumulates humidity, which causes further diseases.
  • It disrupts root growth and the diverse activities of air, water, and nutrients in the soil.

Common Causes of Thatch

Thatch easily develops from a few triggers. 

  1. The premiere one is a significant lack of earthworms in the lawn’s soil. It’s beyond your domestic lawn science, but when worms burrow, they allow the oxygen in the soil and enable the breakdown of organic material.
  2. Too much of everything is terrible. Similarly, according to the University of Kentucky Extension Service, too much acidity or soil pH production other than the normal pH range, which is in between 6.0 and 8.0 can be diligently toxic to plants. You can treat this problem by an organic add-on of lime to your soil.
  3. Again, the high amount of salts resulted from over-fertilization cannot only make your plants die too early but can lead to overgrowth of plants, which may damage or eventually kill the grass.
  4. Poor soil aeration called as oxygen deficiency is a conspicuous culprit behind limiting seedling establishment. Especially plants that show good tolerance to low soil aeration are highly likely to embrace morphological and anatomical features in roots that ensure oxygen utilization and plant survival of low oxygen stress.
  5. Kentucky bluegrass is often the last potential cause. It grows underground stems and takes longer to diminish. 

Note that excessive presence of thatch can dramatically cut down on fertilizer or pesticide effectiveness and moreover can draw various insects or diseases. Your grass, on the other hand, can also disperse its roots, not holding anymore water well, making the grass vulnerable to cold, heat and surface favorable conditions of drought stress- multidimensional stress that causes changes in the physiological, morphological, biochemical, and molecular traits in plants.

Top 5 Warning Signs Your Lawn Needs Dethatching

Once your lawn reveals a dense layer of thatch, the only solution would be revitalization. Indeed, you can’t dig down and rip off the stubborn layer yourself, it, therefore, requires stable manpower to dig out several patches. Hiring a group of qualified gardeners can only determine the necessity for dethatching.

Despite that, if you want to figure out yourself that your adorable lawn needs dethatching or not. Look around for these symptoms:

Signs of excessive thatch may include:

  • Dry spots.
  • Increased disease.
  • Footprinting.
  • Increased insect problems.
  • Decreased hardiness; shows greater distress in heat or cold.

When to Dethatch

The best time to dethatch merely depends on whether your lawn has cool-season grasses or warm-season grasses. Both grasses have different growth patterns and so dethatch them when they’re in their active growth period.

  • For cool-season grasses, also known as Kentucky bluegrass, late summer spring and early fall, are the most-active growth seasons.
  • For warm-season grasses like Zoysia, Bermuda and St. Augustinegrass, summer is the peak season of their proactive growth.

Aerating vs Dethatching

In case of dethatching lawn service, a piece of specialized equipment called a dethatcher is run through the grass and rip apart the thatch layer out of the lawn. This process is met in order to allow more oxygen, water, and nutrients into the depth of soil. By contrast, during a lawn aeration service, the high-performance equipment, called a core aerator, is dedicated to removing small cores of soil (½” wide x 2-3” deep) throughout the lawn which, in turn, helps loosen the soil and boost better oxygen to penetrate down into the root zone.

Practically speaking, both services preserves the same goal, but a lawn aeration service holds fewer negatives for your lawn over a dethatching lawn service. This is one of the many reasons; dethatching has fallen out of favor a long time back as a recommended lawn care practice.

Additional Benefits of Aeration

Apart from tearing the thatch layer, aeration provides numerous advantages to your lawn

  • Promote better soil structure 
  • Increased and healthy root growth.
  • Improves seed-to-soil contact, giving those seedlings the freedom to survive and thrive.

How To Make The Right Choice For a Healthy Lawn

Some companies currently give dethatching service, but now that you know aeration is the right choice for your lawn, you should find online the leading “aeration service near me” instead of “dethatching service near me”. Plus, choosing a reputable professional service will yield the best possible results.  

At C & L Lawncare and Landscaping, we help transform your lawn into its original shape. We are associated with all the necessary lawn services such as landscaping, weekly lawn care, aeration, fertilization, and seeding and always work with new possibilities to make your lawn get rid of thick thatch.

If you’d like to know more about us for a paid-off lawn aeration service, either give us a call at (219) 238-6906 or visit our full site at

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