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Lawn care issues

Hi all,

I think I have a bit of an issue with my lawn. The lawn is about a year old now and this is the second cut of the year. First was very light as recommended. Following the second cut (just finished) my lawn looks to be full of thatch and very spongy under foot. After the first cut I did notice thatch. I've put up a few pictures to try to show the issue. I can run my fingers through the grass and with no issue bring up a fair chunk of thatch with no great difficulty.

It looks like the amount of fresh grass growing is restricted by this and I wonder if it's worth getting either a thatching rake or just a regular rake and begin to go over the lawn to try to reduce the amount to some extent, orshould I just leave it?

Advice welcome!




  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    There is no harm in doing that. Sometime, these jobs need doing in spring rather than autumn. A light rake first as the soil might be quite damp underneath. If it doesn't improve in 2-3 weeks, then you will need to possibly spike the lawn as it may be compacted soil rather than thatch build up.
  • peteski2011peteski2011 Posts: 67
    edited April 2019
    Thanks for your reply. I’m reluctant to use a thatching rake on it because they seem a little too brutal for a small still developing lawn. Would a regular metal pronged rake do the job with light to medium pressure? Then as you say if there’s no improvement give the lawn a spike. I’ll post a better pic ASAP 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    A metal rake will do fine. Don't push too hard into it, as you mention it is spongy, which leads me to think it's a bit damp underneath and possibly water held under the thatch but not draining away fast enough, possibly due to compacted soil underneath.
  • Just had another look and you are right the soil is very compacted as well so possibly two issues going on here. Bottom pic is just what I can easily brush out with a couple of fingers.  Not as damp as I thought it might be though but it has been very warm here all day. So regular metal rake light pressure and see how it looks mid May(ish)
  • I have a very similar thatching/matting problem on an old lawn and am at a loss how to deal with it.  Raking it out seems quite brutal as the thatch comes out quite easily and leaves bare patches with compacted soil exposed. My lawn expert who comes 4 times a year to spread lawn treatment tells me that I need to spring tine rake the areas and also to make sure I alternate direction of cut.   My mower is a rotary type with a heavy cylinder at the back and I suspect that it may be compacting the grass layer, not allowing enough aeration.   I have also been cutting the grass a little longer to prevent it drying out in the dry summer months, which may have exacerbated the problem.  My recent attempt was to cut the grass a little shorter but the mower ripped out chunks of the matted grass and in some areas completely jammed on these chunks.   But I could be wrong and the cause is somewhere else.  Has anyone else experienced a similar problem and found a way to restore the lawn back to normal condition?
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,670
    Have you checked that the mower blades are sharp? They should cut through the grass blades even on a short cut, unless the ground is bumpy in which case they'd cut through the roots on the high spots. 
    The usual treatment for a thatchy lawn is scarify to remove the thatch, spike to relieve compaction, top-dress and sow fresh seed on bald/thin areas.
  • UpNorthUpNorth South Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Posts: 376
    @z.cerny  electric rake i think is the answer here.   usually having both rake and 'aerating' attachment.....£80 from screwfix probably adequate.  you might need a long extension cord.

    that last photo...i don't know if it's jpg artefacts, or if i can see a lot of moss.

    it's a back breaking job constantly raking and bagging the moss/ might be better off getting your 'lawn expert' to extend their workload!

    i think you probably already appreciate, now is the right time to do this and yes your lawn will look more brown than green for a month or two, depending on weather and how hard it is done.
  • @z.cerny it sounds like your "lawn expert" needs to step up to the realms of professional and not just palm off issues and suggest YOU sort them out! I can't comprehend a lawn care firm that DOESN'T carry out scarification, aeration, etc!! I guess it's easy for him to drive from lawn to lawn just flinging out granules without actually working on a tailored plan of improvement! 
  • Having a lawn expert coming over next Monday - the first time ever. How do I know he is a good one? What questions do I ask to see if I can trust him with my lawn? 
  • Having a lawn expert coming over next Monday - the first time ever. How do I know he is a good one? What questions do I ask to see if I can trust him with my lawn? 

    How did you get their details? Word of mouth? Please say it's a local independant firm, not a national franchise...
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