Dethatching Your Lawn

Now that Spring is finally starting to creep its head out, leaving Winter behind for good, it’s time we all take a look at our lawn and really examine what the damage is.

For many of us, the problem will simply be that the lawn looks dead. Simple, right? Just water and feed, as normal, and let nature do the rest of the work. But for those of you that tried to keep your lawn looking fresh and healthy over the Winter months, you may have an entirely new set of problems. Image

Thatch is a thin layer of organic debris that posts up between the leaf blades and roots of the turf grass. This layer prevents water from penetrating the soil down to the roots, so if you’re watering but notice that the water is just rolling off the blades, it might be time to dethatch. Dethatching is something that needs to be done when there is an accumulation this debris, which is usually in 1″ layers above the soil line.

What causes thatch? There are a few different answers, but the main ones are overwatering, overfertilizing, and mowing too high. You can also get down and dirty and buy a mulching lawnmower to help out with thatch.

There are good times to dethatch a lawn, but it is determinant of what kind of lawn you have. If you’ve got a cool-season lawn, the best time to dive into a dethatching project is early fall or early spring. If you’ve got a warm-season lawn, the best time to dethatch is early summer.

So now is the perfect time to dethatch if you’ve got a cool-season lawn. Let’s get to it!

If you’ve got a small yard or small area to dethatch, you can use a thatching rake, which is a sharp rake that rips that thatch out of the ground. Leaf and hard rakes can also work for smaller areas, but because you’ll need to really get down under the first layer of grass, these types of rakes might not be able to do the trick.

If you’ve got a large yard, I’d recommend getting a power dethatcher and going over the lawn just once. If you’re using a power dethatcher, you’ll want to flag all your irrigation hubs and other hidden objects so that you don’t destroy them in the dethatching process. Be sure to follow the operating manual steps for procedure. If you do, your lawn will look terrible once you’ve finished. Don’t worry, though — it’s supposed to look like that.

If you decide to rent a power dethatcher, be sure to bring along a few friends and a big truck, as these things can be bulky and awkward.

Once you’ve finished with the yard, rake up the debris (using a regular rake) and dispose of the debris as you would any other lawn waste. This is also a great time to overseed and overwater your yard. Because they’ve been neglected, the roots and soil will be ready to take in whatever you have to offer. It’ll take up to three to four weeks to get the lawn to start showing progress, but it is definitely worth it.


A Little Guide to Toilet Maintenance

We here at DIY Mother welcome another guest post! This time Tyler from has given us a great article on toilet maintenance. Enjoy!

Over last hundred years relatively little has changed on how toilets function. The process is simple and works great. But, this does not mean toilets are without maintenance. On top of regular cleaning a full inspection and maintenance routine should be carried out every couple months.

Water Supply Inspection

Most water damage problems around the toilet stem from the supply hose. The life span of a plastic hose is 3-5 years before the material can become brittle and crack. The braided stainless steel versions last about twice as long. Plus, if a leak does occur, the metal is good at preventing a complete burst.Image

Visually inspect the hose for any small cracks. Close and open the shut-off valve to make sure it isn’t ceased up. Replace the hose or valve if there are any problems. The parts are cheap so it worth replacing to avoid major problems.

Water Tank Leaks

A running toilet is a very common problem that usually stems from one of three places: the water tank mounts, the downspout tube, or the flappImageer valve. Start by visually inspecting the two bolts between the tank and base. Sometimes the seal around the bolt will develop a slow leak or a crack develops from over tightening the bolts. Replace any suspect parts.

The next spot to check is the downspout tube. If the floating ballcock is set too high, water will continually run through this tube to the bowl. Simple adjust the float down until the water level is below the tube.

A flapper valve leak is very tough to detect until it becomes worse. Luckily there is a simple test to check for a leak here. Put several drops of food coloring in the water before going to bed. In the morning look in the bowl for the coloring. If any coloring is present, then there is a leak and the flapper valve should be replaced.

Siphon Jet Cleaning

Have a toilet that seems to get dirty very quickly after a cleaning? It is most likely because the area between the water tank and the siphon jets is dirty. It is tough to clean because direct access is not possible. Instead, household vinegar is needed to do the cleaning.

Start by locating the siphon jets on the underside of the rim. It helps to have a small hand mirror. Clean off these smalls holes with a nylon brush. Use a clothes hanger to push through gunk that may be lodged in the orifice. To clean the inside of the rim you will need to use vinegar and duct tape.

Close the shut-off valve for the water supply. Flush the toilet to drain all water from the tank. Close off the siphon jets under the bowl’s rim with duct tape. Dump about a gallon of vinegar into the tank and pull the flush handle. The vinegar will run down into the rim and become trapped by the tape. It is best to do this at the end of the day and let it set overnight when nobody will need to use the toilet. In the morning remove the tape and brush away any debris in the siphon jets with a nylon brush.


Tyler is a writer for, an easy to use online tool for managing maintenance, projects, paint colors, resources, and other information from around the home.

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