One aspect of a routine lawn-care regimen entails searching for and addressing problematic buildup of thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead and living stems, roots and other plant components between the soil surface and the bottom of the green portion of grass blades. Utilizing a thatching rake may adequately tackle a thatch layer in small grass areas, but utilizing a vertical mower, also called a verticutter or dethatcher, is warranted for larger websites. Properly operating a vertical mower and also caring to the turf region well ensures that the machine’s effectiveness and also minimizes the dependence on vertical mowing later on.
Realizing its Need
A thatch layer that is too thick can keep air and moisture from reaching grassroots and leaves lawn exposed to scalping and stress damage. When a turf place feels spongy underfoot, has dry stains, appears sheared after mowing and suffers from increased disease or pest activity, suspect it’s a thick thatch layer. Digging up a small wedge of dirt and turf is the perfect way to identify whether grass needs dethatching. In case the brownish thatch layer between the ground surface and the green grass blades is over 1/2-inch thick, subsequently dethatching, or vertical mowing, is warranted.
The ideal time to use vertical mowing for lawn maintenance is when the grass is actively growing and able to recover fast from the disruptive procedure. Both warm- and also cool-season grasses may defy mid- to late-spring vertical mowing. Cool-season grass species also recover well from vertical mowing in early fall. Generally, attempt to period vertical mowing for when at least 45 more days of positive grass-growing weather are anticipated. If vertical mowing is performed in conjunction with other annual maintenance tasks, such as aerating or herbicide program, then the vertical mowing should occur first to optimize the benefits of each task.
Operating the Machine
Prior to vertical mowing, turfgrass is mowed slightly lower than normal, and the soil surface is moistened gently. If the grass species has a creeping habit, place the vertical mower blades so they are approximately 1 inch apart and will cut 1 inch to the ground; if the lawn has bunching grasses, you may place the blades higher and further apart. Run the vertical mower over the entire lawn in 1 direction then again in a direction perpendicular to the initial direction. The last job is to rake the loosened thatch and debris away from the lawn.
Minimizing its Need
Good lawn maintenance can decrease the need for vertical mowing. Excessive fertilizer program, improper pesticide use, shallow and frequent irrigation, and compacted soil conditions may lead to excessive thatch buildup. Mowing the lawn in order that no greater than one-third of each grass blade is removed in a single cutting and spreading grass clippings evenly or removing clumps of grass clippings can limit thatch. Grass species plays a role in the demand for vertical mowing. Creeping grasses such as bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass have a tendency to require annual dethatching, and bunch grasses such as tall fescue may require vertical mowing only once every few decades.