Turf Tips: Dethatching

This week’s turf tip looks at dethatching, the only time it is okay to scalp your lawn. This is an annual maintenance tip that for when the lawn is dry and before the weather gets too hot.

What is thatch?

When many people think of thatch, the first thing that comes to mind is thatch huts or old English homes with thatch a thatch roof. Lawn thatch is a build-up of organic material between your grass and your soil. Thatch is a normal part of a healthy lawn and helps protect your lawn from heavy traffic. It only becomes a problem when the layer of thatch becomes too thick, then you need to de-thatch.

How Does It Affect My Lawn

When the thatch builds up past 25mm it will impede the ability of your lawn to receive the correct amount of nutrients it needs. Water, air and nutrients will all be restricted from reaching your lawns roots. As a result, your lawn will be susceptible to drought and the dry thatch layer will create a barrier that restricts the benefits of irrigation. A think thatch layer also harbors fungi and the additional stress also makes your lawn susceptible to pest damage.

Simple dethatching method: mower

The simplest dethatching method only requires a mower with a catcher, with the blades set very low. This is essentially a controlled scalping of your lawn. It is vital that you ensure all clipping are going to the catcher.

After scalping your lawn, apply a slow-release fertiliser and water well for the following 2-3 weeks. It is best to perform this method in spring when your lawn will recover the quickest. For buffalo lawns like Sir Walter with no underground runners, this is really, the only type of dethatching required

Professional dethatching method: lawn dethatcher

Specialist equipment for dethatching is available from your local equipment hire shop. Simply ask for a lawn dethatcher or veritmower, they are available for as little as $50 a day.

A professional lawn dethatcher is great for couch varieties with underground runners, as it allows you to break up a deeper thatch layer. If using a professional lawn dethatcher on a buffalo lawn don’t go too low and remove all of the above ground runners.

The same rules apply as the simple method, clippings must be removed and dethatching should be followed by fertilising and generous watering.

To get more advice lawn care or to order your new lawn call our sales team on (07) 3114 8230. You can also to pop in and order in person at our sales office on 1/243 Bradman Street, Acacia Ridge. The office opens Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7am to 12pm.

For more great turf, tips keep an eye on our website and all our social media channels.


  1. Ideally How thick should Sir Walter be kept at?Can you successfully dethatch Sir Walter using a normal motor mower no matter how thick the lawn is?If ok,would you cut it at different heights until you reached the desired thickness?

    1. Shane Bridges

      The only way to dethatch Sir Walter is with a normal mower, as a dethatching machine will just rip out the runners.

      So yes you would drop the blades as low as possible to scalp it back and then raise the blades till you find the height you like.

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