A question about dethatching

I recently received a good question about dethatching in my email.

“Is dethatching a lawn necessary or even advisable with sandy well drained soil?”

Only if you have extreme thatch. We consider it an emergency service for lawns that are being starved of moisture and air because of the build-up.

Normally extreme thatch occurs because of infrequent mowing and long clippings left on the lawn.  All lawns require some thatch (less than ½ inch) in order to protect sensitive roots and keep moisture in the soil.

We rarely see thatch bad enough to harm a lawn, but I do sometimes find really serious problems, like the thick, spongy layer of thatch I found on top of the soil in this customer’s lawn. 

Kyle Tobin peeling back a lawn to reveal heavy thatch

I found this thick, matted mass on a client's lawn. The grass' roots were not even reaching the soil!

You can reduce your chances of building up thatch by mowing every 5-7 days, and making sure you are never removing more than 1/3 of the blade of grass.
Thatch build up can also be caused by shallow watering that forces roots to stay near the surface of the soil thatch interface.

Overfertilizing with high nitrogen fertilizer and high pH levels will also get you fast-growing grass that is slow to break down when cut. 

Heavy soils too, can lead to this condition. When the soil is waterlogged and badly compacted, roots simply can’t push their way deep into the ground, and end up growing sideways into a tangled mess.
It is a problem because it creates a favourable environment for insects and disease to thrive.
It is caused because the plant matter does not break down as quickly as it is added to.

Take a look at this close up! It’s like the grass is trying to grow on a block of foam.

The roots of this grass were over an inch away from actual soil.

If dethatching you are pulling and ripping at roots, so be sure to overseed afterward.
Regular Aeration is the number one thing to help to prevent it from occurring.

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  • Coping with Covid Update: (updated 06/01/20)

    Hi Everyone, 

    I’m happy to share some good news during these crazy times. LawnSavers is servicing lawns in all areas as lawn care and pest control services that provide for lawn health are officially on the Provincial list of essential services due to the fact we can provide this service safely and with no personal contact!

    We do not expect any delay in our regular timing of applications (except from the brief wintry weather in May).  We put together an easy to read lawn care service timeline that you can use to know when to expect us for each scheduled service in your package. 

    I want to reassure you that in every decision we make around COVID-19, our number one priority remains the health and safety of our employees and customers.  Safety and honesty are our two most important core values.  We will continue to follow strict safety guidelines that ensure “zero touch”.  We will not let our guard down on exercising our safety protocols!

    Our office is open but with less staff in order to maintain safety protocols like social distancing.   Please note our phones are experiencing a high volume of calls and we know how much everyone hates being left on hold, so please leave us a message or email us at  and we will get back to you in less than 24 hours.
    Please be patient with us, we will get back to you as fast as possible.
    You can also sign up for services on our website by clicking here.

    Thank you all for your understanding and patience during these challenging times. Our team works hard, so if you are met with our exceptional service from our technicians or office team members- please give them a thumbs up to make them smile or let me know through a quick email to

    We thank you for supporting our local, family-owned business of 30 years.
     genuinely appreciate each and every one of you and promise that we will do our part to ensure our mutual safety and be on your lawn as soon as possible.  

    Thank you in advance,
    Kyle Tobin
    Chief Environmental Officer