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To de-thatch ..or not to de-thatch[ that is the question!]?

84 m2 lawn .Loads of thatch[heavily rooted all over the lawn!!]..grass not growing generally speaking at the bottom of the lawn.The sun hits the lawn at the top circa 8 am in summer..and 4pm at the bottom[where grass is not growing as it should..although generally all over too !]
Lawn as loads of weeds[now some bare patches where I've de-thatched!]!

Got a 'lawn maintenance company' in [that company who bothered to turn up!!].
Thatch must have been on the lawn for circa 3 years
I have raked for many days from all ways but yet its still here[ It looks appalling !!] I have of course raked up a lot of dead matter, over and again.Should I also get that THATCH off which is visible?

I've only ever added 'EVERGREEN COMPLETE 4 in 1' 'Evergreen AUTUMN CARE'. This apart from watering by sprinkler.and and only cutting the lawn say circa every 2-3 weeks[ spring/summer]. I've added a good brand weed killer in the past.

Anyway the chap who looked at my lawn contrary to what I think states that the lawn doesn't need de-thatching[ as in his 'professional' opinion I've done a good job']

What do I use..dolomite lime[magnesium]..or do I need calcium carbonate[what type?]..the soil is all acidic [the PH level is RIGHT OFF the richter scale!]
Ive recently added 'WESTLAND AFTERCUT LAWN THICKENER FEED AND SEED'
I have MIRACLE GRO LAWN FOOD AND 'ALL PURPOSE PLANT FOOD' [not used yet!]..which all have varying degrees of Nitrogen [top of their list!] . Frankly I dont know if I do add these ' fertilizers' ,will they do more harm than good[ that's if they get down to the roots..due to THATCH!!]..If I can add it..how many weeks after using the ' AFTERCUT' and in what quantities is best? Can I use a combination? What is best to purchase to do the job...to enrich the soil so as it fertilizers and good quality grass grows?
I have aerated with a 5 pronged manual aerator and left residues of soil from such over the lawn[ I infrequently water the lawn, say every 3 days or so..more over given the lawn as had to fend for itself generally over the past 3 plus years!]
Ive not added any 'top dressing' to date per see[ what 'top dressing..fertiliser/ compost'?].
The lawn is only walked on when attending to it..generally at no other times!
I don't know how deep the top soil layer is..but it looks very low to me!

If using calcium carbonate ..what calcium carbonate, [ Links please ..to rise the Ph level?] do I use exactly?
Should I ensure that the top layer of white thatch [which is visible]is all removed..or do I remove the lower layer[ and hope that whatever I apply to the lawn will remove that thatch on top[ which is visible and deeply rooted into the lawn]?
What type of top dressing might I use for texture ..and what is NPK ?

THANK YOU 'LJ Driftwood' ...
What I need to purchase and what do I need to do more exactly please?

Thanks, in anticipation.....

2 Answers from MyBuilder Landscape Gardeners

Best Answer

HI,
Judging by your description I have got the picture of your problem, although to make precise answer to this dilema, we would actually have to see the site, collect ALL necessary factors that can contribute to the problem. Finally find solution.

But based on what you have said, the company that proposed to ''sort out the soil'', which was there first handed may be right.However what did they mean by sorting the soil, is subject to individual interpretation, as we don't know what did they tell you.

As we don't know how regularly the lawn has been top dressed,with what content, as different lawns may need different top dressing ingredient proportions, depending of its purpose.How deep is thatch, how heavily is it in daily use, in what frequency lawn has been mown/cut, if often too low this will restrict the vigour of it! Especially during the periods of prolonged drought spells. How deep is the top soil layer, that would tell us something about drainage, and moisture retention.What other essential lawn maintenance practices has been applied, in what regularity. All we know is 'soil is all acid', ok then.

First of all, if the soil is 'acidic' so below 7 Ph in general terms, and if it fells below 5,5ph which is the maximal acceptable acidity level for most sports and utility grass mixes , then I would apply lawn lime composed from calcium carbonate, to rise the Ph level , but I would make sure that the the to use the RIGHT type of lime such as the one designated to use on lawns specifically ;ground lime, or special lawn lime, at about 2,2 oz per sq meter, as other types of lime may do more harm indeed!
Prior to that though, I would check the thatch thickness, if is too thick, scaryfying will be needed first, as otherwise it will take more time for lime to penetrate the surface. Also it is important that at the time of applying lime, soil is moist and conditions dry, then keep the lawn moist for about two weeks for best results. Aeration may also be desired if soil is to compacted, and than about two weeks after use right type of top dress, depending of soil, but probable without any NPK content at this time, just texture improving one.

Would try that first , and see what progress is made.

All the best LJ Driftwood Team

2019-08-06T18:30:02+01:00

Answered 6th Aug 2019

Personally I would continue with detaching. Use a scarifier in peak growing season. Re-seed and support and protect new grass. If all the thatch has been removed and reseeded then look at the soil ph route and fine-tune the fertiliser. Scarifying always makes the law look awful at first but allows the grass so much better conditions to grow that I suspect that that is the main part of the solution to this dilemma. All the best.

2019-08-16T20:00:02+01:00

Answered 16th Aug 2019

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