I know this is about gardens, but seems to be the closest usenet group
where I may find some expertise about lawns. Specifically:
(1) What is the best way to "dethatch" and "aerate" a small lawn
(2) When is the best time to apply organic weed-preventers like Corn
Gluten Meal? Before or after dethatching/aerating?
(3) Simialry, do I overseed a few weeks before or after applying Corn
This is in Chicago. Thanks for any advice.
: Scarify with a spring tine rake, aerate with a garden fork.
Thanks! A little extra clarification -
1. I thought a rake is to *collect* things like leaves that are already
loose. Will a rake, even metal one, actually *cut* the thatch, which is
what I think will be needed?
2. In aerating with fork, do I just punch holes in the ground, or do I
have to actually turn the soil over?
Just trying to be careful and not do more harm than good.
A heavy duty garden rake only has heavy tines about 3" long. (You are
probably thinking of a leaf rake, which has light tines a foot or more
in length.) The heavy rake is used to move soil and mulch around,
dethatch, etc. There are probably a dozen tines on the thing, so it
is long and low. Dethatching is a fairly easy chore with a heavy
The fork, which can be used to aerate, would be used by just punching
holes about 1" into the ground. This job would be long and
exhausting. I have about 1/4 acre and will only aerate if I can rent
the machine - heavy clay soil is a pure *itch to aerate manually.
Easy... sheesh, you've never dethatched manually or you are built like
the Hulk. For a small lawn a thatch rake will work but so will you.
A regular garden rake or leaf rake is useless for thatch.
A 1/4 acre is too much area to dethatch manually too.
But you can try it, happy aches and pains, and blisters:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
I had one of those hanging in my garage for 30 years, after using it
once never again... rent a machine or a migrant worker.
Anyway where to begin with the OP's lawn depends on many factors such
as soil condition and how poor a condition overall... I strongly
suspect it might be more advantageous in all respects to till and
begin from scratch.... by the time someone asks about their fercockta
lawn at a newsgroup it means their lawn is a disaster and they've
exhausted all other sources because those recommendations cost money
and the poster is actually looking for a miracal that's economically
free, labor free, and results in world class golf course turf.
An aerator actually pulls plugs of soil out of the ground. The lawn
fork, or pitchfork will poke holes, which will actually compact the
soil. This would be bad in a clay type soil, maybe OK in a sandy
soil, which probably would not need aerating anyway. When I lived in
the city, my neighbors and I would get together and rent the machine
for a day. It was pretty easy to do 4-6 lawns in a day, and splitting
the costs made it economical.
Dethatching is to break up the roots of the grass that are matted on
the surface, not the grass clipping stuff your mulching mower leaves
behind. Not normally needed on relatively new lawns.
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