Aeration vs. Dethatching: What Is the Difference?

April 6, 2023
Meagan Duffy

Aeration vs. Dethatching: What Is the Difference?

Taking care of your yard requires a lot of attention to the water and nutrients your plants get every year. A big part of this care focuses on the ground, as it needs proper care for your plants to thrive. Aeration and dethatching are the two most popular forms of caring for your soil and ultimately your lawn. We’ll cover the differences and similarities between the two.

The Similarities

These processes make your yard healthier by targeting the soil and enabling it to feed your grass. The ground compacts over time, which makes it difficult to deliver water, oxygen, and fertilizer to your plants. Both processes break up the ground so these key resources can reach plants’ roots.

What Aeration Accomplishes

Aeration breaks up the soil to let the nutrients flow into the ground. This looks like poking small holes into the ground at regular intervals. Aeration can leave little dirt piles around your yard that disappear naturally with rain or watering. You’ll want to hire a professional lawn aeration team to do this, as it takes specific equipment and proper knowledge to do it without hurting your yard.

What Dethatching Accomplishes

While aeration is very useful for breaking up stiff ground that won’t let in water or other nutrients, dethatching is great for cleaning off the top layers of soil and grass. Organic matter will clutter up the ground and prevent plant roots from accessing nutrients. This is normal in winter when dead organic material sits atop the lawn after the snow melts. Dethatching requires you to rake through the top layers to make the ground accessible for the nutrients.

Power raking used to be a common practice to dethatch lawns. Like everything else, lawn care has evolved and dethatching with a power rake is no longer recommended. It is very aggressive and causes more harm than good to the lawn. A great alternative to power raking is topdressing with compost.

Understanding the difference between aeration and dethatching can help you know who to call for your yard. If you notice your ground is hard and compact, it needs aeration. If you see a lot of debris on your lawn, then you need to dethatch your yard. These services are small but important parts of yard care that countless properties need.

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