Before we talk about power raking and aeration we need to talk about the thatch layer and the process of dethatching. The thatch layer is the layer of decomposed, organic material that lies between the top of the soil and the bottom of the grass blade. It is ok for your lawn to have about ½” of thatch, but if it has more, then it’s a good idea to dethatch your lawn. Thatch build-up is one of the most common lawn problems. It can cause waterlogging, reduce air circulation, and choke out grass plants. In severe cases, it can even lead to fungus diseases. The purpose behind power raking and aerating is to remove some of the thatch layer (this is where the term ‘dethatching’ comes from). Both are lawn dethatching methods but there are some key differences between power raking and aerating. We have them described below:
A small tractor, lawnmower or similar machine will rotate large, powerful metal tines through the ground a few inches deep. This is a very invasive process and can damage the lawn because it’s ripping through the grass at powerful speeds. Thus not only removing the unwanted thatch but removing and/or damaging healthy grass in the process. We do not recommend power raking unless there is at least a 2” or greater layer of thatch in the lawn and your lawn has been established for many years.
By removing soil cores, aeration allows your lawn to breathe and provides a channel for moisture and vital nutrients to get down to the roots of your lawn. It also decreases water runoff. It reduces thatch build-up and allows fertilizer, water and air direct access to the root system to encourage deeper root growth. The plugs then decompose naturally in a couple of weeks, also adding nutrients to the soil.
Your lawn will be stimulated to grow new, more vigorous root systems, which will help prepare it for the inevitable stresses that come with the changing climate. Aerations are performed during the spring and fall when the temperatures are cool or begin to moderate.