St. Augustine Grass – Dethatching

Q: When I moved into my home three years ago in Norco, California, it had a front lawn of nothing but weeds and crab grass. I planted some St. Augustine plugs I took from my dads house and it took off. For the last three years I have had the greenest best looking lawn in the neighborhood. I take more care of my front lawn than my wife, according to her. I use a front thrower to get the carpet look. My problem is that this year it did not get as green as usual, the layers keep overlapping and now I have a very soft, squishy lawn that is about 6 to 10 inches thick. Can this keep my grass from getting all the nutrients out of the soil those resulting in the grass not turning as green? Should I dethatch it?

A: It does sound like you need to dethatch – your grass plants should be growing on top of true soil – not on top of decomposed stems and leaves that have formed a soft layer. You can rent a dethatcher at a rental yard. If you have a lot of thatch you may need to do it in two steps: light the first time, let the grass recover for a month, then do it deeper the second time.

Remember to mow St Augustine grass at 2 – 3 inches.

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