How to Dethatch Bermuda Grass
Thatch is the dead grass that builds up on the soil's surface over time. A small amount of thatch is actually healthy for Bermuda grass. But if thatch buildup reaches more than ½ inch tall, it can cause significant problems. It interferes with the soil’s ability to absorb air, water and fertilizer and restricts its root growth, making Bermuda grass more susceptible to drought and cold damage. The best time to dethatch Bermuda grass is in midsummer when the grass is growing most rapidly.
Cut a wedge out of the soil and turf from several areas of the lawn. If the thatch in those wedges is thicker than 1/2 inch, it is time to dethatch.
- Thatch is the dead grass that builds up on the soil's surface over time.
- If the thatch in those wedges is thicker than 1/2 inch, it is time to dethatch.
Water the lawn the night before you plan to dethatch it.
Rake the lawn with your power rake. Use even, chipping strokes to bring the thatch to the surface. Go in one direction first, then go over the lawn again at a 90-degree angle to the first direction.
Rake up the thatch immediately with a flexible tine rake. You may have to make a few passes or even pick some up by hand, but gather up and bag as much of the thatch as you can.
Water the grass. Use a light spray so that you don't wash away any newly-exposed soil. Water the lawn more frequently than usual for the next few weeks.
- Water the lawn the night before you plan to dethatch it.
- Rake the lawn with your power rake.
Destroy Bermuda Grass
Growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10, Bermuda grass must have full sun to grow vigorously, along with ample water. Water the yard and spread clear plastic across it. Although lack of water and sun destroys most of your Bermuda grass above ground, you need to cultivate the soil to bring up any remaining rhizomes, or underground stems. These rapidly growing stems easily rejuvenate the grass if you leave them in the ground. Remove any rhizomes you find in the tilled soil. Avoid watering your grass frequently with a light watering.
Power rakes can be rented from garden supply centers or lawn care companies.
- University of Arizona: Turfgrass Dethatching
- Walter Reeves: Bermuda Grass Dethatching
- Sunset: How To Lose Your Bermuda Grass
- Mississippi State University Extension Service: The Right Grass: Warm-Season
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Cynodon Dactylon "Sundevil"
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Bermudagrass Control
- Power rakes can be rented from garden supply centers or lawn care companies.
Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.