This is a collection of posts that have to do with dethatching and caring for a lawn. The posts were scattered through this website, so I decided they’d be better merged together. They’re in no particular order.
This is a project that I have been waiting all year to do. It’s called, “Overseeding the lawn” (the correct time of year).
Every time I have put down grass seed, it was during the hottest, driest time of year. The seed didn’t do much because there was nothing much to do. Eventually, I think it actually grew, but that was months later when things cooled off and the rain returned.
They say to overseed your lawn in early September. This is because, like I said above, the Summertime drought is most likely over and rain falls more frequently. Unfortunately for me, the ten day forecast shows ten perfectly orange pictures of sunshine. Only me.
The reason I did the whole lawn dethatch, aerate and overseed the day I did was because of the rain we got the previous two days. In order to properly aerate, you need moist soil. If the soil is too dry, the aerator can’t get down into the dirt deep enough and you won’t pull a substantial plug. I got plugs that were about one and a half to two inches long. I would offer a picture, but it’s been about a week since I did this job and the plugs are all dried up and not very attractive.
I thought I would breeze through this particular project. In actuality, it took longer than expected. First, I dethatched the grass. I did this by towing the dethatcher I bought at Home Depot around the yard. Since grass and thatch kept clumping up in the tines, I had to stop frequently to clean it out. After that was done, I put the bagger back on the mower and mowed the grass at a height of three inches. I know the general advice is to mow at one inch or less when over seeding, but I just didn’t have the heart to scrape the dirt when I had no guarantee of rain in the future. I am not about to water 11,000 square feet of grass either. Mother Nature is going to have to take care of this one.
After I dethatched and mowed, I pulled out the tow behind plug aerator and did my thing. I did a few passes over the lawn to make sure I roughed up the dirt enough. I did a good job, but I still think I should have done more. It’s just that while doing this kind of thing, you want to get it done. Driving around in circles isn’t all that entertaining.
Okay, so once the aerating was finished, I filled the seed spreader up with my custom mixture of Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass. I chose these two types of grass because the Kentucky Bluegrass is just awesome looking and it is supposed to spread to fill in bare spots. The thing is, it takes forever to germinate. The Perennial Ryegrass is a good looking durable grass that germinates much faster and will fill things in while waiting for the Bluegrass.
As I said above, it’s been about a week with no rain and there isn’t much action out there. I have been watering certain areas with my sprinkler because I have no illusions that a huge thunderstorm isn’t going to come and wash all the seed off the front hillside. I want to get that grass sort of anchored in there before that happens. Otherwise, I will have to let nature take its course and wait for the grass to grow on it’s own. I also have some seed left over to spread out if need be.
Here are some pictures for you.
Oh yeah, I also bought two bags of Scotts starter fertilizer. Each bag is supposed to cover 5,000 square feet. I haven’t applied this yet because the directions say to water in immediately after application. Since I can’t water the entire lawn, I am going to wait for right before the next rainfall to spread this stuff around.
Dethatching A Lawn
I know I am probably beating a dead horse here, but I wanted to post a few photos of today’s lawn dethatching.
Yesterday, I showed you some photos of dethatching the front lawn. Today, I am going to show you some photos of the back yard getting dethatched. I know, very exciting.
Actually, I dethatched the entire front area along the road as well as behind the house. That took a lot to do. This dethatcher works wonders. I pulled up so much dead grass, I couldn’t believe it. I am slowly learning about all the goodies the real guys use to make lawns look good. When I was riding the tractor, towing the dethatcher, the lawn looked like it was being rototilled because there was so much of a mess behind me. Believe it or not, this dethatcher really doesn’t mess with the good grass. That grass is really rooted in there. It just pulls up all the dead weeds and everything else that shouldn’t be there.
Here are some photos of dethatching the back yard.
Sorry, I forgot to get the before shots.
If you look closely, you can see all the dead material on top of the grass. One time around the back yard basically filled up both rear bags on the mower. It’s crazy how much stuff came up. Take a look at the last photo. That area was totally covered with dead crabgrass, not it’s all cleaned up and ready for this season.
Come September, I am going to dethatch the lawn once more and then I’m going to aerate the heck out of it. After that, I am going to put down seed where it’s needed. Boy, they weren’t kidding when they said it takes a few years to get a nice lawn.
Brinly 40 Inch Tow-Behind Dethatcher
I have been beating myself up over this one for a few days.
I have gone back and forth, looking on the internet, trying to determine if I need to have the lawn dethatched. I know, I know…as my father would say, “Just mow the lawn and get on with your life.” Well, unfortunately, I am someone who has been sucked into the art of lawn care and really seem to enjoy it.
Some websites that I browsed said that dethatching really isn’t necessary because the thatch layer should naturally break down if the lawn is in good health. Another website said that dethatching is good, but only in the autumn because you don’t want to disturb the newly sprouting grass. The last website said that you should dethatch in the spring, autumn and everything in between. Go you.
I had a few things to do today, one of them being to start tackling the “after winter” lawn. There are ugly patches all over the place from chopped up leaves and dead crabgrass. There are also twigs like you wouldn’t believe.
This morning, I grabbed a rake from the garage and walked out to the front lawn and started raking. I did an area about fifty feet long by ten feet wide and raked up a good amount of dead grass. Then, I ran my hand through my hair, sniffled a little bit and took a look around at the rest of the lawn. I quickly said, “H*ll no. I ain’t doing all that.” Please pardon me. That’s the street talk in me. I decided that getting an inexpensive dethatcher is the way to go. After all, I do have a nice new John Deere ride-on mower with a rear bagger. I should really use it.
A dethatcher is really only a big rake. I mean, you could dethatch your whole lawn with a hand rake if you wanted to. That’s actually what people used to do in the old days, like ten years ago. Remember when you were a kid and one of your parents yelled at you to get outside and rake the lawn? Yeah, they meant with a rake, not a 40 inch tow behind dethatcher. After a few years of some kid raking the yard by hand, he or she got the bright idea of inventing a better tool.
I picked up a “Brinly 40 Inch Tow-Behind Dethatcher” from Home Depot in Glastonbury this afternoon. It was the cheapest one that had. I would have preferred buying the John Deere front mounted dethatcher because I could d-thatch and bag at the same time, but that unit and mount cost about $400. This old man isn’t paying $400 to rake the lawn. I’ll get the $79 jobber.
I put the dethatcher together when we got back. It took about 45 minutes to finish it up…just enough time to give it a dry run around the front lawn. For this little trial, I didn’t put a weight on the unit; I simply towed it around to see how it worked.
I have to say, it did a pretty good job. The dethatcher scraped along the ground and loosened up all the layered thatch (of which there is more than you realize). While towing it around, I was able to easily see the areas I already covered. When I was finished dethatching, I re-installed the rear bagger and sucked up all the dead grass clippings, dead crab grass and twigs and dumped all that waste into the woods. I got almost four full bags. Not bad for one simple dry run around the front lawn.
Here, take a look at the photos.