Thatch is a layer of organic mater that accumulates between the soil and the runners of St Augustine grass. Thatch accumulation is a common problem on any creeping type grass, especially St. Augustine, and results in a spongy feel to the grass, increasing disease and insect problems, watering difficulties, as well as increased susceptibility to winter kill of grass. Thatch accumulation and verticutting is sometimes referred to as “dethatching”.

Verticutting is the process used to remove thatch that has accumulated between the soil and runners of the grass. The process involves cutting the grass with a machine that cuts through the grass to the soil line vertically. The blades on a verticutting machine should be set 3” apart for St. Augustine grass. Verticutting is a process that should only be attempted between March 1st and May 15th in our area as the grass can be permanently damaged if it is verticut during periods of high temperatures. Verticut the grass in one direction only. After the grass has been verticut, the thatch material will be left behind on the surface of the grass. This material must be picked up and disposed of. You may find a yard vacuum the easiest way to pick up this material. After verticutting be especially careful to not allow the soil to get dry.