Back in the 1980's, we used to renovate lawns using a dethatcher and
aerator as our two main lawn renovation machines. Most of the time those
problem lawns were experiencing a thick build-up of thatch, often over
1-inch thick (up to 1/2-inch is alright). The problem with lawns with
thick thatch is that grass roots into the thatch layer instead of
deeper down into the soil. With heavily thatched lawns it is
difficult to ever remove enough thatch with a dethatcher to make a difference.
are Problem Lawns!
At some point we realized that these heavily thatched lawns needed one
machine to correct the condition -- our sodcutter! This 1-step
process accomplished the "dethatching" in one swoop, whereas before, we
would have to repeat the dethatching and aeration three or more times
over several years,
and overall improvement of the lawn would be delayed.
We recently encountered just such a lawn in bad need of complete
renovation. In addition to thick thatch, the lawn also had some areas of
warm-season southern grasses that created a patchwork effect every year
during the dormant season, when some patches of lawn were straw brown
longer than the rest of the cool season varieties of turf. This gave us
a second reason to cut the sod thicker than usual -- we wanted to get
all the roots so there wouldn't be any regrowth of these weedy grasses.
The 10 renovation photos and video below will walk you through the process we use
to do a total lawn renovation with a sod cutter. Note: Annual core
aerations (once or twice a year) can help prevent this sort of problem
from developing. If only aerating once a year, fall is the best.