Dethatching and Aeration

So I’ve been looking into dethatching and aeration and has some questions that I couldn’t find straightforward answers for during my searches. Figured I’d see if anyone had any thoughts on here. My lawn has never been dethatched or aerated, it’s about 2 years old now so it is overdue for at least one these. My questions are whether I should do both in the same season? Or should I space out the two? It seems it would be best to space them out since both do damage the lawn initially. Also, if they do need to be spaced out which would be best to do first? Thanks!


Great question to raise. It’s a tough one to answer because there doesn’t appear to be a definitive answer. There is not a lot of evidence pointing to whether they should be done together, separately, or if that even matters.

Instead, it’s best to focus on the type of grass you have, e.g. cool season or warm season grass. This way you can make sure if you go with one or the other, or both you are doing it at the right time of the year. Whichever you decide, doing it at the right time of the season will prevent damage to your yard and lead to a healthy looking lawn.

This is just a suggestion but I would start with aerating because the process will break up the thatch.

I hope this helps.

I’ve been wondering the same thing… I have zoysia grass in FL. Most articles I’ve read says the thatch layer should remain manageable under normal circumstances. The older thatch decomposes into the soil as fast as the newer clippings are added. If you over fertilize and under-mow. this might not be the case.

This article makes a good argument for aeration over thatching, as the plugs will help manage/decompose the thatch layer. Happy Reading!

If your core aerate I would not flail dethatch, it’s a lot to put on the stolons. I would buy a thatching rake and hit the problem spots and aerate or vice versa.

I have done both of those in the same season on a few occasions right after each other.

A flail dethatch we will beat the hell out of your yard and stresses it big time

I personally core every other year and verticut every year. Verticutting thickens the grass most impressively. If you can’t find a verticutter to rent, search for a slit seeder.

OK yeah I think I’ve settled on core aerating this weekend and de thatching next year. Thanks

Just curious, how did you get your hands on a verticutter? I see those all the time on the golf course but not so much in residential. Will have to look into it more. Not sure if they make a push version but my lawn has all kinds of curves and tight spot so a tractor pulled version would miss a bunch. Will have the same problem with an aerator…

Good suggestions tho… thx.

Look for a slit seeder. For residential purposes it’s the same thing

Blue bird makes a real pos that bought for 300

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ha, so don’t buy the blue bird?? Looking to see if Home Depot or John Deere has rentals…

I don’t regret buying it but it is what it is

Is an over-seeder the same thing as a slit seeder? Home Depot has a Classen TS-20 turf overseeder for rent.

i think that will do, but set it deep,

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Hi Johnny,
Zoysiagrass is famous for developing a thick layer of thatch, which becomes a breeding grounder for turf diseases. Check out turf management publications from the University of Florida. Now would be a great time for core aeration in Florida. But I don’t want to guess on the month to detach your turf. Maybe January? I attended the Oklahoma turf conference last December and a professor from Arkansas showed a photograph of Zoysiagrass with 7 inches of thatch!

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Jesus, at that point, kill it with fire!


Thanks for the info @robertkc. My zoysia was just installed a year ago with new construction so I don’t think I’ve built up a 7 inch thatch later just yet :wink:

Looking into an aerator now because one side of the lawn was heavily compacted when they dug out the pool. The grass there is only about 0.5-1 in high and the roots aren’t that deep… <2 inches, which is pretty much still just the sod. Hoping some aeration gives it room to breathe

Sounds good. Do you have a Flatwoods soil - Sandy on top with a clay pan beneath?

Didn’t know that was the term for it but that’s exactly what I have. I’m told it’s a combination of non-naive topsoil and clay dug out from man made lakes they used to build up the development.

That is it exactly.