Removing Lawn Thatch Virginia Beach VA

Thatch, the buildup of dead grass between living grass and the soil, causes trouble for your lawn when it exceeds 1/2 inch thick. Excessive thatch prevents air, water, and nutrients from reaching plant roots. Cutting through and removing thatch improves your lawn's health in Virginia Beach.

Bennet's Creek
(757) 426-7000
Virginia Beach, VA
 
Greenbrier Farms VA
(757) 421-2141
Chesapeake, VA
 
Lawn Perfect Inc
(757) 435-7968
1533 Harpers Road
Virginia Beach, VA
 
Cutting Edge Landscaping
(757) 639-4481
2589 Quality Court, Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach, VA
Services
Landscaping, lawn care, lawn maintenance, walkway and patio installation, grading and stabilizing, landscape design, gardening

Serenity Landscaping & Tree
(757) 549-1341
904 Anna Joy Court
Chesapeake, VA

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TruGreen
(888) 615-8157
5828 Ward Court
Virginia Beach, VA
Description
Get 10% off our Lawn Care Package that includes: A Healthy Lawn Analysis customizing a plan to your lawn’s needs, Proactive services provided at key stages throughout the year, Fertilization, Weed Control, & Lawn insect control. For new residential customers only. Not to be combined with or used in conjunction with any other offer or discount including prepayment discount. Additional restrictions may apply. Offer not valid with TruNatural program.
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MON - FRI 9:00AM - 10:00PM; SAT - SUN 9:00AM - 9:00PM

Lilly Farms and Nursery
(757) 484-3448
Chesapeake, VA
 
Dreamlawns
(757) 631-9773
301 Westwood Cir
Virginia Beach, VA

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Southern Roots Landscaping
(757) 426-6444
2341 Scotchtown Drive
Virginia Beach, VA
 
Renaissance Outdoor Contracting
P.O. Box 2684
Chesapeake, VA

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Removing Lawn Thatch

Thatch, the buildup of dead grass between living grass and the soil, causes trouble for your lawn when it exceeds 1/2 inch thick. Excessive thatch prevents air, water, and nutrients from reaching plant roots. Cutting through and removing thatch improves your lawn's health.

Tools and Materials

  • Trowel or shovel
  • Tape measure
  • Stiff lawn rake
  • Thatch rake, or power rake or vertical mower
  • Sprinkler
  • Lawn fertilizer
  • Grass seed (optional)

Determine depth of thatch. Remove a core of soil from the lawn with a trowel or shovel and measure the depth of the thatch, which is the layer of dead grass above the soil line. A layer that's 1/2 to 1 inch thick can be removed with a stiff lawn rake. Deeper layers may require a power rake.

Determine the best season to remove thatch. The best time to dethatch is just before the grass begins a period of active growth, which is spring for warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and zoysia. Cool-season kinds such as Kentucky bluegrass are best dethatched just before their period of most active growth, in very early spring or early autumn.

Choose method. For shallow thatch on small areas, use a stiff lawn rake. For small lawns with more than an inch of thatch, use a special thatch rake. Large areas and thick layers call for power rakes or vertical mowers, which are available from rental agencies.

Prepare lawn. Mow a little lower than usual. If needed, water the lawn to moisten the soil.

Use a thatching rake. Pull the blade-like tines across the lawn, cutting through the thatch. Work in small sections, and then remove the debris with a rake.

Use a power rake or vertical mower. Adjust the cutters to slice just through the thatch layer. Check cutter depth after first few feet. Run the machine in parallel rows over the lawn and then again at 90? to the first pass. Remove debris with a lawn rake.

Aftercare. Water and fertilize the lawn to help it recover from dethatching. To prevent thatch buildup from recurring, adjust the soil pH and alter your lawn care habits if needed (excessive use of water, fertilizer, or pesticides are common causes). Overseed with a good-quality grass seed to improve the lawn's health, vigor, and appearance.

Tips

Thatch is caused by several factors, including grass type, excessive watering, soil compaction, high or low soil pH, or overuse of fertilizer and pesticides.

Lawns with a thick layer of thatch are more vulnerable to drought, as well as to insect and disease damage. Lawns with thick thatch may feel springy underfoot.

Photography by Suzanne DeJohn/National Gardening Association.

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