The Dakota Lawn Care owner says most yards should be thatched every year or cleaned with a good heavy raking with a leaf rake.
John Doehler says spring mold can cause problems with lawns and it’s important to thatch them. Some molds aren’t bad, but others can be more aggressive, he said. Dakota Lawn Care handles 100 to 150 cases a year for clients and notes that other companies handle them as well.
Whoever deals with it, it is important to do so, he said.
“You have to break this mold open for it to breathe and deteriorate,” Doehler said. “If you don’t, you can stunt your garden’s growth, make it look…bad, or even kill it in a worst-case scenario.”
Doehler said they were seeing a lot of mold in the lawns on the north and east side of the houses. What happens on one side of the lawn may not happen on another due to conditions, he noted.
People can determine if they have mold in their lawn, Doehler said. Look for where the grass is matted and has turned a white, gray or bluish gray color. If you find it and plan to deal with it, it’s important to rake it up and “scrape” it well, he said, then pick up the diseased material and remove it. Grass should be removed and not used as mulch, he said. If there is a lot of mould, rake and stubble cultivator.
If the thatch gets too heavy, it starts to get a lot of insects, like ants, Doehler said.
“We’re starting to get a lot of lawn bugs and they’ll go under the grass and eat it just above the root and then your grass will look dead,” he said.
Dakota Lawn Care provides general lawn care, Doehler said. He said a lot of people don’t realize that care can be thatch, power raking and dethatching. Everyone is different.
“Thatching is like raking your garden with a leaf rake,” he said. “It’s just a little more aggressive than that and strips the top layer of thatch.”
Stubble is the least aggressive, power raking is more aggressive and dethatching is the most aggressive, he said. Mechanical raking is more familiar to people and can remove 50-60% of thatch, he said.
“We do a lot of what’s called a stubble rake,” Doehler said. “It’s for the real bad cases in the yards and we do a lot of that every year.”
Doehler said if people have a problem with weeds, they should consider thatch.
“The weed seeds will settle in the grass,” he said. “Weed seeds can stay in grass for six years before they germinate.”
If the thatch is not removed, the weeds can get worse.
Doehler says Dakota Lawn Care has customers who have their gardens dethatched to knock down the ridges created by night owls in the lawn. The yard will be smoother with this work, he said, and sometimes it’s done three times a season.
Doehler said that in the spring, people should put granular lime on their lawns, which helps keep the grass healthy in the spring. It helps the lawn heal from winter wounds and acts against mold in the soil.
“We put a lot of it every year,” he said.
Doehler says keeping the grass height longer helps during drought.
“You have to remember that the hotter it is, the longer the grass (which is recommended),” he said. “Typically we mow it (up to) 3 ½ inches.”
Doehler said when people mow their lawns less than an inch and a half in length, the grass will most likely burn and be damaged by the heat. And if people want a green lawn, they should make sure the yard is always moist, by watering two to three times a week, he said. The watering time depends on the sprinkler used and the amount of moisture it gives off, he said. He recommended people use a rain gauge when watering to more accurately know how much water is put on the lawn.
Doehler noted that later in the season, in the fall, the longer the cold, damp moisture stays on the ground, the more likely spring mold will be. If it warms up during the winter and the ground temperature warms up, it gets worse, he said. A wet snow right away during the fall/winter season creates more problems, he said.
Dakota Lawn Care provides a number of services including mowing, power raking, dethatching, bagging, year-round cleaning, grass feeding, lawn work, landscaping , size of shrubs and trees (less than 20 feet) and spray trees against needle plaster and Rhizosphaera insects.