Lawn Coring and De-thatching.
Lawn Coring and De-Thatching or Aerating and Vert i-mowing are two very significant methods which will assist you in having the best lawn in the street. Over time most lawns including Buffalo and Kikuyu increase their thatch levels. Thatch is dead grass clippings which over time create a layer on the surface of your lawn. This layer can become compacted resulting in poor quality lawn, bare patches and gradual infestation of weeds. Thatch can also prevent moisture and nutrient penetration down to your lawns roots. Lawn Coring and De-thatching will combat these problems resulting in much healthier lawn, greener lawn and less weeds and disease.
What is Coring (Aerating )
Coring or aerating can be done in two ways either a spike corer or a plug corer. In both cases it is simply a machine that either pokes holes in your lawn or a machine that takes out round plugs from your lawn. You are then left with small holes and soil plugs everywhere on the lawn surface which you may choose to rake up or mow. The benefit is to allow water, nutrients and air (nitrogen) into your soil making for a healthier grass. These methods also reduce compaction, a common problem in most lawns. You can also obtain rake like spike aerators that can be used by hand or pulled or pushed by mowers.
What Is De-thatching (Verti-mowing )
Thatch is simply the build-up of grass that accumulates over time. Buffalo and Kikuyu grass runners will grow over the top of each other, eventually smothering the runners and leaf underneath. The smothered runners and leaf eventually die off and the dead thatch underneath becomes problematic. Left for many years a thick layer develops which causes a number of problems. Whilst thatch may have moisture retention benefits thatch also prevents necessary nutrients and water from getting to the grass roots and over time will choke your lawn.
Buffalo & Kikuyu Difference
Both grasses are warm weather creeping grasses that self-repair, grow best above 15 degrees are drought tolerant and usually are dormant over the winter months. Keep in mind that Buffalo runners or stolons grow above ground and Kikuyu runners or rhizomes will grow under and across the ground. So basically you can be a little more severe with Kikuyu lawns but with buffalo lawns you need to keep a layer of runners on the surface.
On a quality lawn coring and de-thatching should be carried out every two years. This is a relatively simple task of running a de-thatching machine, similar to a lawn mower over your lawn. You then collect the thatch with a mower or simply raking it up. On smaller lawns you may wish to use a de-thatching rake. Your Jims Mowing gardener can advise you on what is best and give you a free quote and or advice.
Alternative Mower Method.
An alternative method of lawn coring and de-thatching your Buffalo or Kikuyu lawn is to drop your mower to a very low setting. This will give your lawn a very close shave or scalp as we call it. Many of our customers do this in early spring to take advantage of the spring growth and rains. Make sure there are still lots of runners crisscrossing the ground though. After scalping fertilise the lawn with slow release fertilizer and water well for the next 2 to 3 weeks. An even better method is to fertilize your lawn with slow release 4 weeks prior to scalping, this will get the lawn actively growing and make it re-shoot quicker after scalping.
If you have a weedy lawn, it is recommended to use a turf treatment prior to lawn coring and de-thatching to remove the broad leaf weeds. Spearhead is a popular brand that you can use on most lawns and again consult your Jim’s Mowing Gardener for advice and a free quote.
What do I do if it is an older lawn and the thatch is really bad?
If you have not mown the lawn short for many years, and the thatch level is really high it is recommended that you mow first and then use a plug aerator prior to de-thatching. This will assist the stolons and rhizomes growing down into the soil and prepare your lawn for the de-thatching process in say six weeks’ time.
Using a De-thatching machine.
As Buffalo does not have underground runners (rhizomes) this method is not as critical for Buffalo as it would be for Couch or Kikuyu. A mower works almost as well, but de-thatching machines are still suitable for Buffalo turf provided you do not de-thatch to soil level. If you go too low and remove all the above ground runners you may lose your lawn. So when using one of these machines, make sure you can still see some runners crisscrossing the ground. The same rules apply for the first method. Remove the de-thatched grass and take it away.
Using a Coring machine
This method is great for any lawn. The machine is very similar to a self-propelled lawn mower and leaves small holes in the ground and plugs of soil on the surface. After coring simply mulch mow, fertilize with a slow release fertilizer and water well. Top dressing with a thin layer of sandy loam after coring is also beneficial. Your Jim’s Mowing gardener will be happy to give you advice or a free quote on either of these services.
This is particularly good for lawns after Lawn coring and dethatching. Buy a good quality lawn soil usually a sandy loam top dressing mix from your local supplier. Simply spread the mix over the top of the lawn. The height depends on the thatch level, but a good rule of thumb is to spread the mix over the lawn with a shovel, then rake it out so some of the lawn is still showing. Soil pH levels of 6.5 is best and again leave some grass leaf showing. If no leaves are showing you may have applied too much soil and you can smother the lawn. Prior to topdressing apply slow release fertiliser to assist the lawn rejuvenate. Top Dressing is also great at fixing holes, undulations and uneven parts of the lawn.
Jim’s Mowing are Lawn specialists and can help you with your lawn coring and de-thatching and give free quotes and advice.