Bermudagrass – Removing Thatch

Q: We have a bermudagrass lawn. The thatch is terribly thick. My husband doesn’t use a bag with the lawn mower, so the thatch has built up. Could a professional company dethatch our lawn?

A: Thatch is a layer of undecomposed stems that lies between your bermudagrass plants and the soil. It is harmful if it is thicker than one-half inch. Thatch is more likely to be the result of mowing too infrequently that from not using a bag on the lawnmower. Regularly mowed grass clippings decompose quickly and do not form thatch.

A motorized dethatcher (vertical mower) is used to remove thatch. Set the blades two inches apart and high enough to barely scratch the soil surface. Another option a company may suggest is regular aerating or perhaps topdressing with rich topsoil. Spreading soil on thatch hastens its decomposition and avoids the physical harm of mechanical dethatching.

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