Should I Aerate or Dethatch My Lawn First

Without doubt, a properly maintained lawn will always be a beautiful lawn to look at. However, this is only possible if you maintain your lawn on a regular basis throughout the year.

Aerating and dethatching are one of the most important tasks when it comes to proper lawn maintenance.  This is because it enhances great flow of water and air in the soil of your lawn enabling your grass to receive all the nutrients from the soil. For sure, these nutrients will allow the grass on your lawn to grow in a heathy manner which will always leave your lawn looking very tidy.

Should you aerate or dethatch your lawn first?

It is also advisable that you dethatch your lawn first before aerating it.  This is because you will be able to remove all the unwanted substances from your lawn which includes dead organic matter and debris. You can easily dethatch your lawn by using a dethatching tool for small lawns or a power rake if you own a very large lawn. Once you loosen up the surface by dethatching, you can now aerate the soil by creating tiny holes on the soil of your lawn. This process will most definitely prevent any form of soil compaction which will enable your lawn to have better water and air flow. You should aerate your lawn using a lawn aerator tool.

It is also important to note that you’ll be required to aerate your lawn only once per season if your lawn consists of sandy soil. However, you’ll need to aerate it twice every season if you are growing your grass on clay soil. A number of gardeners usually ask whether you could use a Dethatching tool as an aerator tool and vice versa. Well, to be honest they do serve purposes that are closely related however, they do come with a few differences.

Dethatch vs Aerate ?


Dethatching tool


It works by removing thatch that consists of dead organic substances which allows the soil on your lawn to breathe properly.

This one creates tiny holes on the soil of your lawn which diminishes soil compaction.

It works great if you are intending to loosen the top soil for over seeding.

This tool will not be required when you want to over seed your lawn because aeration is not a requirement before over seeding.

This tool is suitable for you if your lawn has a lot of dead grass which makes the lawn feel soft.

It is best suited for lawns that have a thick layer of thatch on their core.

Although you should also be aware that some lawn machines come with a combination of both a dethatcher and aerator. Without doubt, such lawn machines are good value for your buck as they will really come in handy every time you want to dethatch and aerate your lawn.

What to consider before aerating or dethatching your lawn

  • Condition of the ground 

Most gardeners prefer their lawns looking neat and tidy throughout. However, this doesn’t mean that you should dethatch your lawn every now and then.  The first thing you should do in order to know whether your lawn is ready for dethatching is literally pressing the grass on your lawn. If your lawn feels spongy then it is a definite sign that you need to dethatch your lawn. This is because the spongy feel is a clear indication that there is a thick layer of thatch. The thick layer usually prevents the grass shoots from emerging from the soil which affects healthy growth. When you dethatch your lawn, you will basically remove that thick layer which consists of dead organic matter. By doing this, the thatch will become less which will allow the shoots to emerge easily. It will also pave way for you to easily aerate the soil which helps in better water and air flow in your lawn.

  • Time of the year

There are specific times of the year that it is advised for you to dethatch and aerate our lawn. This is because different seasons comes with different temperatures and climate. The best time to dethatch your lawn is usually during spring.

You’ll agree with me that there is no better time of the year to carry out your activities better than spring time. Not only maintaining your lawn, but even doing other various day to day activities. This is also before the season that you will need to over seed your lawn which makes it an ideal time for dethatching and aerating your lawn.

One major reason as to why you should do this before over seeding is because, when you dethatch you usually remove a lot of mass from your lawn. Now, if you do this after you over seed your lawn you will end up digging out all the nutrients that were supposed to settle in the soil. Therefore, you should ensure that you dethatch and aerate your lawn as a way of preparation before you finally over seed it. You are guaranteed a healthy lawn if you follow this steps carefully.

  • Amount of thatch on your lawn

We are all aware that our lawns usually thatch differently. You’ll find that one section is really thatched and another is in good condition. Therefore what you are supposed to take a walk on your lawn and see the parts of your lawn that are in bad condition.

After you have identified the parts of your lawn that need repair is when you can now grab your dethatching and aerating tool. You are required to do this because your lawn will not be properly levelled when you remove all the thatch on your lawn regardless of how little it may be on a particular section.

Therefore, you should always inspect on the areas that will need more attention as compared to the areas that don’t have much thatch. It is also important that you call a professional who can do the inspection for you if you find it difficult to do it on your own. Once you do this you will be able to dethatch the surface of your lawn effectively and aerate the soil enabling your lawn to grow in a levelled manner.



As you can see, aerating and dethatching your lawn is very important especially if you wish your lawn to grow in a healthy manner. When you dethatch you will be able to dig out all the dead organic substances that will slow down the growth of your grass. Once you do this, you then aerate which will enhance great water and air flow allowing your grass to grow healthily and be thick.


How do I identify thatch on my lawn?

There are a number of signs that shows there is thatch on your lawn. This includes when you spot brown grass on your lawn. Another sign that your lawn contains thatch is if it has a spongy feel.

Am I supposed to dethatch my lawn when it is wet or when it is dry?

It is recommended that you dethatch your lawn when the soil is a bit moist. However, you should be careful not to do this after it has heavily rained as your lawn will be too wet.



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