Repairing thatchy lawn is a task that any home gardener should at least have a basic understanding in. Unlike what many people would prefer to believe, repairing a thatched lawn isn't particularly difficult. However, if you find yourself needing to repair a lawn that has gone to thatch, then prepare to spend about $100, and putting in a full day's worth of work on your lawn.
- Is it needed? The first thing that you need to do is decide whether or not it is even necessary to do any thatch repair work. One of the easiest ways to tell whether you need to do this type of work is to water the lawn and take a look at what happens. If the water simply begins to rinse off without it sinking through the grass at all, then you may just need to dethatch the lawn. Take a closer look at the lawn and make a note of what you see. Thatch is typically a thin mat-like layer that typically looks old, grayish brown and made up of a bunch of grass stems that have grown together. If this layer is about an inch thick, begin dethatching right away.
- Choose your method. There are a few methods that you can use to dethatch your lawn. The first is ideal for smaller areas, and that is to use a tool called a thatching rake. This tool is simply a sharp-tined rake (which can be purchased at most home improvement stores) that is designed to rip the thatch out of your lawn as you do your raking. For larger areas you can rent or purchase a power tool that will do the same thing, the tool is called a power dethatcher. The most expensive, but easiest, method for dethatching a lawn is to simply hire someone else to do it for you.
- Begin dethatching your lawn. Once you have your method chosen, get to work. Keep in mind that if you use a power dethatcher, that you work it over your lawn carefully. In fact, the best way to do it this is by running it in a pattern that is designed to only cover each section of your lawn once. This may require that you do a little planning before getting to work, but can help prevent any damage to your lawn.
- Clean up the mess. Once you have worked the thatched area over with your chosen method, it is time to do a little clean up and preparation work. Use a regular lawn rake to gather up all the dethached grass, and then dispose of it properly. One really good option to do with this left over material is put it on a compost pile if you have one. After you have done that, take the time to seed your lawn with some fresh grass seed (this is called overseeding) and fertilize the lawn. This will help get it ready to re-grow any sections that had been too damaged by the thatch in the lawn.