Thatch is the layer of decomposing grass, roots, and other organic debris that accumulates on the soil surface. A thin layer of thatch can benefit a lawn but a layer of more than 1/2 inch can impede the movement of air and water and become a haven for insects. De-thatching in the spring when the layer is greater than 1/2 inch will greatly improve the appearance and health of the lawn.
Aerating is the process of removing small cores of soil to the depth of 2 to 3 inches. Lawns that are used a great deal for recreation will invariably become compacted and need to be aerated. Aeration opens up the soil to allow air, water and fertilizer easier access to the root zone and will also help thatch decompose faster thereby reducing build-up. After coring, remove the plugs left behind by raking. These plugs can be crumbled up and returned to your lawn as a top dressing.
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