How To Know When To Dethatch Kikuyu Grass

How To Know When To Dethatch Kikuyu Grass

Grass, it’s green, most of the time, it’s beautiful underfoot and makes the yard look great… if we look after it. Kikuyu is one of the varieties of grass that can develop a thick thatch layer if you’re unsure about how to care for it properly. It’s getting close to summer and you may need some tips to ensure your lawn is green and lush for the entire summer.

Thatch is the layer of organic matter between the root system below and the aboveground shoot. Some thatch is natural and good for a lawn, too much can bring problems with it. Continue reading if you want to know how to tell when to dethatch Kikuyu grass.

Thatch contains leaves, stems and roots, some living and some dead. It forms as a natural part of the turf’s growing process. It covers the soil and is a tightly woven layer beneath the grass blades.

As long as it doesn’t get thicker than 12mm you will have no problem. Any thicker and it will be time to start de-thatching!

when to dethatch Kikuyu grass

Here are the good things about thatch:

  • Thatch helps to mulch the soil and slow water loss.
  • Summer will mean warmer temperatures so preventing water loss can help to keep your lawn hydrated and mean less watering.
  • It helps to cushion the soil and decreases compaction.
  • Your soil will remain more aerated encouraging lawn growth.
  • Thatch can also help to insulate the grass crowns from soil temperature swings and improves your turfs tolerance to foot and mower traffic.

Here are the problems of a thatch layer that is too thick:

When the thatch in your lawn gets too thick it can form a resistant layer that prevents water, fertiliser and insect or disease controls from reaching the soil. It will block sunlight from reaching lower grass blades and it can hold too much moisture against grass blades that can foster disease in your lawn. It can also block access to the soil causing the roots to grow into the thatch, which naturally lacks nutrients leading to a shallow-rooted lawn. Too much thatch can also lead to an uneven lawn resulting in uneven mowing and scalping.

A little bit of thatch won’t hurt your lawn, but anything more than 12mm of growth and its time to get dethatching!

when to dethatch Kikuyu grass

Here’s how to prevent extra thatch build-up:

  • Avoid over fertilising with too much nitrogen
  • Be sure not to overwater – a deep watering twice a week is usually sufficient
  • Try not to mow too high consistently – habitually mow once a week in the warm growing season
  • Heavy clay soil can contribute to over thatching – be aware of your soil type
  • If you use a mulching mower, leave the grass clippings on the lawn – this will not lead to thatch build up if you mow regularly

when to dethatch Kikuyu grass

3 easy ways to know when to dethatch Kikuyu grass:

1. Feel the lawn. If your lawn feels spongy or bouncy underfoot or if it’s springy it often has a thick thatch layer.

2. Inspect the lawn. Is soil visible between the crowns of the grass? Can you shove your finger through the visible thatch layer? If you can’t push your finger through, it needs dethatching.

3. Measure the thatch. Use a trowel or spade to remove a wedge-shaped layer of grass and soil about 7 ½ centimetres thick, or just pry up a small section of turf. Look for the thatch layer directly on top of the soil. Measure the thickness. If you’ve got thatch thicker than 12mm it’s time to dethatch.

For more information on dethatching your Kikuyu grass or anything else regarding the health of your lawn, contact us at Rivers Edge Turf.


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