Renovate Your Lawn by Aerating and Dethatching

May 10, 2011 | 11:05 am

I like to walk barefoot through the yard; lush green grass feels great on my toes. Since spring has sprung, we have not been able to work in the yard and give it the TLC it deserves. Large sections of the lawn are brown and I know that the grass is not receiving the nutrients it needs. Thankfully, we got a break in our schedule and devoted the entire day to sprucing up our fescue lawn.

Our neighbor rented a verti-cutter and aerator for the weekend. We were able to share the equipment with four other neighbors, which allowed us to split the rental cost (cheers!). The verti-cutter helped us remove the thatch that had accumulated. A thatch layer, any thicker than one-half inch, will interfere with water and fertilizer absorption in the soil and ultimately the grass roots. It will also attract more insects and disease. The verti-cutter brought the thatch up to the top of the lawn. We (well, truth be told, I didn’t break a sweat during this lawn rejuvenation project. I was just consulted on a few issues) raked up all of the thatch and added it to the compost pile. Our turf had significantly more than a half inch of thatch, so I know our grass roots are breathing a sigh of relief.

After de-thatching with the verti-cutter, my husband started up the aerator. I could tell this was a physical task as I watched his shoulders and arms bounce with the machine as it pulled soil plugs up out of the soil (maybe I should have felt guilty as I sat in the lawn chair sipping iced tea). Removing plugs of soil relieves soil compaction and allows oxygen, water, and nutrients to reach the grass root zone. The soil plugs can be left on the lawn. With water, they eventually break down. My kids like to pick them up and play with them; however, we must be careful because they can easily be confused with dog poop – gross!

The last two steps for my dear husband were to overseed the lawn and then feed it with fertilizer. I was quick to remind him to follow label directions on the fertilizer. Over fertilizing is not beneficial and is a waste of our hard earned money.

Investing in our yard will result in a healthy green lawn, with fewer weeds, and more drought tolerance. I look forward to slipping off my shoes and walking through the grass but I know it’s highly likely I will be chasing one of my three girls instead.