If your couch, buffalo or kikuyu feels spongy under foot, or there's lots of brown dead matter in the profile, it has a thatch build up and now's the time to remove this layer consisting of rotting stems, leaves and clippings. This slows the infiltration of moisture into the soil and can also be a starting point for fungal disease. There are several methods to dethatch, some better suited to different lawn varieties.
- Bring in a vertimower, which cuts vertically down into the thatch and throws it up onto the surface for removal. Suitable for a big build up of thatch or a large area to cover.
- Scalp the lawn by cutting the lawn down to the lowest setting and going over the grass two or three times. It's important to remove the clippings. Lower the mower for each cut across the entire area until all signs of green growth are removed and the lawn is brown. Be careful not to go too low using this method on varieties such as soft leaf buffalo which rely on above ground runners to recover from.
- The third method involves the most energy and is only practical for smaller areas. Rake over the lawn with a fine tyne metal lawn rake with the idea of scratching out that material.