Dethatching Or Trimming Grass First? - Landscaping & Lawn Care - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
Advertisement


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Landscaping & Lawn Care

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Like Tree8Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes
Old 06-18-2019, 11:54 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: New Jersey, United States
Posts: 32
Rewards Points: 34
Default

Dethatching or trimming grass first?


I purchased my home a month and a half ago and have yet to mow my lawn. Even when I visited the home while it was under contract, I noticed the lawn was quite squishy. My realtor says it needs to be dethatched. Now that it's June, the grass has grown very high and it looks like a jungle back there. The lawn is still squishy, at least in some parts, but not as bad as it was.

I don't have a garage nor a shed to keep a lawn mower in, so I'll need to hire a service for the time being. I'm just not sure whether it would suffice to find someone to simply mow the lawn to get rid of that long grass before worrying about dethatching, or if it would be pointless to mow the lawn only to dethatch it. If I did have to have the grass trimmed first, I also hope that the squishy earth wouldn't damage the lawn mower.

Here's a photo of how it looks now:


Last edited by lelechim; 06-18-2019 at 11:58 AM.
lelechim is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-18-2019, 12:10 PM   #2
Member
 
DoomsDave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Coastal Southern California
Posts: 3,468
Rewards Points: 6,668
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


@lelechim , welcome to the forums!

Hmm. Looks like you don't have a lawn, but a bunch of weeds, not meant to be offensive . . .

I'd trim and rake first, and see what's under there, then take a picture, and we can help from there.

You do appear to have some grass, I wouldn't let it get that tall in the future before cutting it. The general rule is to cut to about 3" (7.5 cm) more or less, though that can vary depending on the kind of grass and the season.

If you're new at this, no shame, we're here to help.

Also, where are you located? Lawns are seasonal things and seasons vary a lot from Miami to Manitoba.
DoomsDave is online now   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to DoomsDave For This Useful Post:
lelechim (06-18-2019)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-18-2019, 12:17 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: New Jersey, United States
Posts: 32
Rewards Points: 34
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DoomsDave View Post
@lelechim , welcome to the forums!

Hmm. Looks like you don't have a lawn, but a bunch of weeds, not meant to be offensive . . .

I'd trim and rake first, and see what's under there, then take a picture, and we can help from there.

You do appear to have some grass, I wouldn't let it get that tall in the future before cutting it. The general rule is to cut to about 3" (7.5 cm) more or less, though that can vary depending on the kind of grass and the season.

If you're new at this, no shame, we're here to help.

Also, where are you located? Lawns are seasonal things and seasons vary a lot from Miami to Manitoba.
I'm in New Jersey. What do you mean by raking? Like how people rake leaves?

Sent from my FRD-L14 using Tapatalk
lelechim is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-18-2019, 12:19 PM   #4
Member
 
DoomsDave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Coastal Southern California
Posts: 3,468
Rewards Points: 6,668
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


Quote:
Originally Posted by lelechim View Post
I'm in New Jersey. What do you mean by raking? Like how people rake leaves?

Sent from my FRD-L14 using Tapatalk
Yes, like raking leaves. The reason is that you'll have a LOT of junk to toss out when you mow. You might want to get a sickle or something like that, though I suspect a service might have a suitable mower.
DoomsDave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 12:22 PM   #5
Member
 
Dave Sal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Posts: 2,256
Rewards Points: 1,394
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


That yard looked like mine when I bought my house, except mine had no grass, just weeds. I rented a tiller, tilled it up, and raked out the dead weeds after a day or two. Then added some topsoil, smoothed it out, spread grass seed and starter fertilizer and covered it with peatmoss. A few weeks later, after daily watering, I had a lawn.
Nik333 and Mystriss like this.
Dave Sal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 12:34 PM   #6
Member
 
DoomsDave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Coastal Southern California
Posts: 3,468
Rewards Points: 6,668
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


@lelechim , @Dave Sal might have a better idea.

I'm in California now, but I used to be in Ohio, which is a lot like New Jersey in many ways.

I'll toss in another two cents': what's fast and cheap might not be good, but it might suffice for now. What's good rarely comes cheap, but is often worth the trouble.

I lob that to see if you have a sword of Damocles house warming party (for example) to make ready for. If not, I recommend taking time.
DoomsDave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 03:33 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Upper mid-west
Posts: 2,890
Rewards Points: 4,266
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


Most grasses, including all cool season grasses (which I'm assuming you would have in NJ) do not develop thatch problems unless hit very heavily with a lot of quick release nitrogen fertilizer. In other words, you should never have to de-thatch. So, quit using your realtor for lawn advice; he clearly is not qualified to give it.

Second, a good rule of thumb is if the lawn is more than 50% weeds and undesired grasses, it's best to kill it all and start over. Seems like that might be the case here. Regardless, my first step, other than maybe mowing for aesthetics, would be a soil test.
stick\shift is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 04:49 PM   #8
RRH
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 673
Rewards Points: 1,346
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


1. Cut it of course. Good chance not thatch problem. Rake a small area to remove and see.
You may need top soil instead of dethatching. Would really have to be very heavy
thatch to feel it walking on it. If it needs it wait until just before you seed.

2. Now not the time to seed. Wait until September. Two weeks before. Spray with original roundup. You want to kill all the junk weeds you have, Which looks like most of it.
RRH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 06:22 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: New Jersey, United States
Posts: 32
Rewards Points: 34
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


Quote:
Originally Posted by stick\shift View Post
Most grasses, including all cool season grasses (which I'm assuming you would have in NJ) do not develop thatch problems unless hit very heavily with a lot of quick release nitrogen fertilizer. In other words, you should never have to de-thatch. So, quit using your realtor for lawn advice; he clearly is not qualified to give it.

Second, a good rule of thumb is if the lawn is more than 50% weeds and undesired grasses, it's best to kill it all and start over. Seems like that might be the case here. Regardless, my first step, other than maybe mowing for aesthetics, would be a soil test.
What happened was that the property was vacant for years (owned by an LLC, not the bank) and since they ran out of money to work on the house, I guess they neglected the lawn for a while. Supposedly, dead grass builds up on the surface and creates thatch... right?

Sent from my FRD-L14 using Tapatalk
lelechim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 06:24 PM   #10
Member
 
Mystriss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Alaska
Posts: 1,742
Rewards Points: 3,480
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


I'm stuck on the yard being squishy. We had "squishy" spots in our yard because of a high water table. For the first three or so years we attempted to grow grass, but it was so "swampy" only the weeds survived. Ultimately (we have probably half an acre of lawn here) we ended up bringing in like 4 dump trucks worth of gravel and idk probably 6-8 trucks of top soil. The improvement was massive and well worth the money IMO. It's been over 15 years now, we're probably going to have to bring in some more top soil to freshen her up, but there's not a swampy spot anywhere on the lawn and the gravel bed drainage is working great.
__________________

(I'm not a professional, just a homeowner who dabbles in a bit of everything DIY)
Mystriss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 07:48 PM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Upper mid-west
Posts: 2,890
Rewards Points: 4,266
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


Quote:
Supposedly, dead grass builds up on the surface and creates thatch... right?
No, that's not what thatch is. Quit worrying about thatch, you don't have it.
stick\shift is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 08:05 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: California
Posts: 11,206
Rewards Points: 5,400
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


That main weed looks familiar. Horseweed? Try the "New Jersey Weed Gallery" & Roundup resistant weeds. Horseweed is one. Sorry I can't do a link on this cell.

Someone wanting a quick fix may have spread glyphosate frequently over the yard. Those are the result.

Just dig up some ground, even if you only have a spare fork & look at what is causing the springiness. You can see dead thatch, moist ground, holes, groundcover weeds, etc.

There are different kinds of rakes. I'd buy a metal one. The frame goes to R&L and the tines are all in a line. The bamboo triangular one is more for leaves.

It's great exercize to rake. It may take a few days to build up the muscles, but it can be fun.

Most populated areas won't let you let the weeds go.

I love growing lawns! They will help you here.

Last edited by Nik333; 06-18-2019 at 08:10 PM.
Nik333 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2019, 10:11 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: California
Posts: 11,206
Rewards Points: 5,400
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


The reason I've seen what I think is the Roundup (Glyphosate) Resistant weeds is because I lived in a farmhouse in an almond orchard. This is farm country.
Roundup was sprayed frequently. What grew afterwards were these weeds.

Having someone roto-till is a great idea. You just have to decide how much you want to DIY.
Looking closely at the dirt will help you even if you hire someone.
Nik333 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2019, 01:09 AM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Upper mid-west
Posts: 2,890
Rewards Points: 4,266
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


Sorry, put this in the wrong thread a couple hours ago....
Some information on thatch:
https://extension.illinois.edu/lawnt...home_lawns.cfm
stick\shift is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2019, 02:02 AM   #15
Member
 
Mystriss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Alaska
Posts: 1,742
Rewards Points: 3,480
Default

Re: Dethatching or trimming grass first?


Don't forget to wear good work gloves for raking. I didn't wear them when I started doing my yard and I thought I was going to have blisters for the rest of my life heh
__________________

(I'm not a professional, just a homeowner who dabbles in a bit of everything DIY)
Mystriss is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts