Raking Means More Than Neatness:
Its The Key To A Healthy Lawn
Too often people look at raking as a way of having a tidy yard. It is far more than that—it is fundamental to the health of your yard! This is your chance to get up close and personal with your grass and see each section and what it needs. The main goal is to remove the debris and thatch, but there is far more than meets the eye when doing this essential task.
Timing: Raking during the fall is obvious with all the falling leaves. If left alone, the fallen leaves will deprive your grass of sunlight and trap moisture on the surface, causing mold. This is more than "looks"—this is survival for your yard. Spring is equally important. Once you see the lawn greening up, get out there and start raking. Your real mission in both seasons is to get rid of thatch, that layer of dead matter on the surface that will choke the life out of your grass.
The Right Way: Your goal here is to get rid of thatch, so don't just pet the grass with the tines. On the other hand, ripping out healthy growth isn't the way to go either. Work in different directions, giving the lawn a good lift after its winter sleep. Don't leave the clumps of debris on your yard as again, that will strangle the plants and deprive them of sunlight. Use a mower or a blower to clean up afterward, ensuring air and sun can get through.
An Ounce of Prevention: All this will go a long way to preventing mold and moss from getting a foothold. Both love conditions of trapped moisture, poor air circulation, and hiding from the sun. Save yourself from having to buy mold and moss treatments by raking thoroughly.
Keeping an Eye Out For Trouble: By getting this close to your yard you will see trouble spots before they get out of control, and then you'll know what's needed. Is the ground hard and is the thatch layer still too thick (more than a half inch is too much)? You'll know it's time for aerating then. Are there bare patches or overall thinning? Consider overseeding to help fill in and revitalize your lawn. If there are signs of grub damage, you'll see it now before it becomes an obvious problem. Remember, raking gives you the best look at your lawn and gives you a chance to catch trouble early. Waiting until problems are obvious from a distance will mean a more difficult problem to fix.
None of this is about having the "cleanest" yard on the block with not a leaf or twig in sight. This is all about the health of your yard. Taking the time twice a year to remove thatch and leaves gives your grass the air and sun it needs to be free of mold and moss. Getting close enough to see problems, while they are still small and easy to deal with, is an added benefit.