Thatch is a very common of layer of decomposed plant material that shows up in turf grass such as Augustine grass. The thatch can restrict root development and create an attractive environment for insects and other pests. A 1-inch layer of thatch can restrict the movement of air, fertilizer and water that is in the soil. When removing thatch from Augustine grass you must be careful to not upset the growth of the grass. Thatch is also so common that many nurseries sales specific dethatching equipment, like a power rake. It is also important to fertilize your soil once you get rid of the thatch in order to prevent it from returning.
Remove some of the soil from the lawn around the thatch by using a shovel or trowel so that you can measure the depth of the thatch. You will be able to remove the thatch with a rake if the thatch is only 1/2 inch deep. Thatch that is deeper may require a power rake to be eradicated.
Wait to remove the thatch just before your Augustine grass begins to grow in the early spring. You may have more trouble trying to eradicate the thatch if remove it during the dormant season.
Mow your lawn before you begin to remove the thatch and mow your grass down lower than you normally do. Also, water your lawn with a sprinkler hose to slightly moisten all of the soil in your lawn.
Use a rake or special thatch rake and run it through all of your grass to remove the thatch. Pull the blades of the thatching rake through your lawn so that you cut through all of the thatch. Continue raking through the lawn until you remove all debris of the thatch.
Use a vertical mower or power rake for any extreme cases of thatch. Adjust the cutters so that they will slice through the layer of thatch. Rake up any debris once all of the thatch is removed.
Water your lawn and apply 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer to your lawn immediately after removing all thatch. You may need to test the pH balance of your soil by purchasing a pH testing kit to make sure that your soil receives the correct nutrients for further growth of Augustine grass.