Page 14 - Hawaii Renovation - Mar 20, 2022
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General Contractor Hawaii & Home Remodeling 2018-2021
   A dethatching guide
Now that spring is just around the corner, many island home-
owners have begun thinking about prepping their lawns for warm weather.
“Over the winter, the grass on some lawns gets thick and spongy,” says Sean Fong, owner of Hawaiian Turfgrass. “With warm weather on the horizon, it’s important to get it back into shape for summer- time. A lot of yards are going to need some dethatching.”
Thatch is a layer of dead and decomposing plant mat- ter that forms above the soil.
“When it’s just a thin layer, it can actually protect plant crowns and reduce compac- tion,” Fong says. “But when that layer gets too thick, nu- trients and air can’t penetrate to the soil and roots.”
Thatch often occurs on heavily fertilized turf, explains Fong, or on lawns that haven’t been mowed regularly.
“We see it all the time in
yards with poor drainage, or that have compacted, acidic soil,” he adds.
Dethatching a lawn takes a little time and effort, and should be done when the weather is consistently sunny. Here, Fong shares his tips for this important chore.
“The dethatching process actually involves three steps: scalping, dethatching and sanding,” says Fong. “For the
first step — scalping — you should mow your lawn thor- oughly several times, lowering the blade height each time.”
After scalping, it’s time to use a dethatcher (also known as a scarifier), a landscaping tool that cuts through soil.
“A hand rake may work for very small areas, although it’s less effective at remov- ing thatch, and it’s also very time-consuming,” Fong says.
Dethatcher blades should be set at an appropriate height, he cautions.
“It’s better to set them too high than too low. They can cause damage to the roots of your grass if set to an im- proper height.”
The scalping process cuts everything down, and dethatching removes dead roots and leaves. After the grass is mown almost to bare dirt, the next step is topdressing the turf with clean sand.
“That sandy layer creates
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