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Lawn aeration and dethatching are 2 very important lawn care services.

Spokane’s Finest Lawns has been providing lawn aeration and dethatching services in Spokane, Spokane Valley, and Liberty Lake for many years now.

Let’s explain the difference between aerating and dethatching, learn when one service would benefit your lawn more than the other, and what time of the year to perform these services to maximize the benefits.

If you are searching for a local lawn care company in Spokane to perform a lawn aeration or dethatching service on your lawns, please request your free estimate today online or by phone.

Core Lawn Aeration Service

Lawn Aeration vs Lawn Dethatching

What’s the difference between lawn aeration and dethatching?

They are actually very different but offer similar end results.  Both aerating and dethatching your lawn will help reduce thatch buildup.  Thatch is dead grass and other organic matter that builds upon the soil surface of lawns over time.  A thin thatch layer is healthy as it helps keep moisture in the soil.  Once the thatch layer becomes too thick it can begin to impede water’s ability to penetrate into the soil.

Aerating will break up the thatch layer.  A lawn aerating machine pokes holes into the soil and in the process will poke holes in the thatch layer.

Dethatching is also referred to as ‘power raking.’  A dethatching machine will scrap the soil surface and completely lift the thatch so it can be collected and removed.  A lawn dethatching machine using tines that scratch the soil surface instead of penetrating it.

Dethatching is recommended over aerating if your thatch layer thickness is impeding water from reaching the soil beneath it.


Core Aerating Your Lawn Is The Single Most Beneficial Thing You Can Do To Care For Your Lawn

It is important to note the word ‘core’ in front of aerating.  Another type of aeration is a ‘spike’ aerator.  Core aeration is the type of aeration you want to be performed on your lawn!  Core aerators pull plugs from the soil.  These plugs are about 1″ in diameter and hopefully go 3+ inches into the soil.  Spike aerators simply press spikes into the soil also creating holes in your lawn.  The problem with spike aerators is that since they don’t remove any soil in the process of creating the hole, they compact the soil around the holes to create them.  This is less than ideal, to say the least, and counterproductive!

Core lawn aeration is so beneficial because it breaks up the thatch layer and makes it easier for water and nutrients to reach the root zone of the lawn.  Obviously, it is easy for water and nutrients to travel deeper into the soil right after the holes are poked.  If a core aeration was performed instead of a spike aeration, the surrounding soil will also become less compacted over the following weeks as the soil spreads to fill in the holes naturally.  It’s also easier for roots to expand when the soil is less compacted.

And no, there is no need to pick up the soil cores laying on top of your lawn after a lawn aeration is performed!  They will break down naturally over the next couple of weeks and disappear.

Lawn aeration is so beneficial because it helps with thatch buildup and also allows water and nutrients to travel deeper into the soil while making it easier for the roots to retrieve the water and nutrients.

Should I aerate and dethatch at the same time?

You certainly can if needed.  If you feel your thatch layer needs to be removed before aerating, we highly recommend you dethatch the lawn and collect and remove the thatch before performing the lawn aeration.  If you fail to do so, the cores created from the aeration will make collecting and removing the thatch a lot harder than it needs to be!

When should I aerate or dethatch my lawn?

Like most lawn care services, the spring and fall are the best times to perform either service.  With that said, you can really do either at any point during the year with the exception of when the growth is dormant over the winter months.

We caution you to dethatch your lawn during the summer if your lawn is experiencing drought or temperature-related stress issues.

Consider aerating your lawn in the summer before the summer heat and potential dry conditions set in as this will maximize the benefits of the limited amount of water your lawn receives.

Grass seed being sprinkled on the bare spots in a lawn

Will a lawn aeration or dethatching service fill in thin or bare spots in my lawn?

Either service by itself will not fill in bare spots, but it does create a perfect environment to overseed your lawn!  Overseeding is a term used to describe planting grass seed in thin or bare spots of an existing lawn.

Since the core aerator machine pokes holes into the soil and the dethatching machine scratches the soil surface, it creates perfect conditions to sow grass seed.  An important part of a successful overseeding service is to make sure the grass seed makes contact with the soil on at least 3 sides, it’s okay if the top of the grass seed is not completely covered with soil.

Lawn aeration and dethatching are great complements to a proper turf health program.  If you love your lawn, we highly recommend you have your lawn core aerated each fall and dethatch your lawn as needed which could potentially be never.  A healthy lawn rarely has a thatch build-up problem and this is created by aerating each fall, watering properly, mowing properly, and treating your lawn with an appropriate fertilizer and weed control program.

If you’d like a free estimate for lawn aeration or dethatching in or near Spokane, WA, please contact us today.