Dethatching or Aeration: Which Does Your Chicago Lawn Need?

Dethatching or Aeration: Which Does Your Chicago Lawn Need?

Core aeration is probably one of those lawn care techniques you’ve heard of but may have never done to your lawn. Dethatching may be a bit more mysterious. Is that a practice from Game of Thrones or what? It turns out that dethatching and core aerating are both techniques employed by lawn care services in Chicago  in order to stimulate lawn health, but they are also different practices that address different lawn issues. What is the difference between the two? Read on to find out!

Dethatching: The Basics

Your lawn is like an onion – it has several layers. It starts with the roots living below the soil, the part of the lawn you see in the form of green grass and finally the thatch layer between the roots and the grass. The thatch layer is made from roots, stems, and leaves, and while it’s completely natural and a necessary part of a healthy lawn, too much of it can keep your grass from getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

How do you know if your thatch layer is too thick? Well, a lawn that is in dire need of dethatching will feel bouncy and spongy to the touch. If you look closely you may even be able to see the thatch layer. Poke at it and see if you can easily pierce it with your finger or if it’s too tough and dense to get through. If it’s the latter, you may need a good dethatching for your lawn! The general rule of thumb is a thatch layer thicker than three-quarters of an inch needs to be dealt with.

Dethatching is a practice that is done only when needed and can be more expensive than aerating because the process requires the thatch to be first raked manually in order for the lawn to be treated.

Lawn Aeration: The Basics

Lawn aeration is pretty straight-forward. Little plugs of soil and grass are removed in order to allow the water, nutrients and air above the soil to get good penetration to the roots. A machine is used to remove the plugs which are then left on top to be reabsorbed by your lawn.

The point of aeration is to keep your lawn from becoming compacted, meaning that the proper nutrients can’t reach the roots of your grass due to the density of your soil. A lawn that needs to be aerated will fail the “screwdriver test.” This is where you take a screwdriver and push it into the soil. If you can do it easily then your lawn is healthy and shouldn’t need to be aerated, but if it’s difficult to do you may have an issue with compacting of the soil.

A lawn should be aerated once a year, either in the fall or in the spring. Which season you decide to do it is really up to you.

Dethatching and Aerating: Which is Right for Your Lawn?

You have to remember that your lawn adds a lot of value to your home, so it needs to be cared for properly. A healthy lawn will be a jewel in the crown of your home and a place you are happy to come home to. If you perform the simple tests above your lawn will easily reveal to you what needs to be done.

If you are unsure about dethatching or aerating your lawn, feel free to give Lawn Love a call today so we can help you to figure it out!

Sara Butler

Sara Butler has written scores of articles for Lawn Love -- everything from how to revive your dead lawn to how to start to lawn care tools every homeowner should have.