MAINTENANCE OF NATURAL GRASS (PART 5) – Dethatching and Top Dressing

In order to maintain a healthy green lawn all year round you need to action the following operations at least once or twice a year. Following these steps, this will contribute greatly to a healthy green lawn all year round and help prevent against pest and diseases.

 1) Dethatching

2) Aeration

3) Verti-cutting

4) Top dressing

 We recommend that you do these at least twice a year, with the most appropriate time being April and September. This is when the grass in the Middle East is the most active and will give you the quickest results. Try to do all of these items in one or two days and incorporate your monthly fertilizer program into the operations.


  • Dethatching is a process where you remove the build-up of dead grass. This process is essential to a healthy green lawn, as the excess thatch will prevent the water, fertilizers and pesticides to properly penetrate into the soil. In addition to this, the lawn will be more susceptible to pests and diseases, in particular fungal disease.
  • A process called scarifying is done to remove the thatch. There are specialized scarifying machines that you can use to do this and should be carried out twice yearly or as and when required. If you or your gardener doesn’t have a scarifying machine, then the thatch can be removed using a strong rake. Rake the grass firmly by hand when the soil is moist.


  • Due to the sandy soil and heavy water requirements in the region, the sub-base can get very hard and compacted. Therefore, you need to regularly aerate the soil, allowing the grass to breath and the soil to be free draining. This will also help the water and fertilizer reach the grass roots.
  • Aeration can be done with a machine that cores small holes in the soil. Again if you or your garden does not have this machine, then a hand fork can be used to spike the soil.


  • Another process to help reduce the thatch is verti-cutting. Whilst this process will help remove a small amount of thatch, it is in fact a process that vertically cuts the grass.
  • Warm weather grasses, which are used in this region, also have lateral stems that grow across the surface. Verti-cutting will cut the lateral stems by using a specialized machine. The blades on the machine can be set to the required height, we recommend that the cutting blades penetrate the surface by approximately 10mm. Verti-cutting should be carried out twice a year and we recommend the months of April and September. This is when the grass is most active in the Middle East due to the weather conditions and encourages growth for a dense healthy lawn.
  • After verti-cutting you should mow and aerate the lawn and then apply the monthly fertilizer application, prior to top dressing.


  • Top dressing is applying a thin layer of sweet soil over the grass. The soil needs to be worked into the grass, trying not to smother it. Ideally you want the soil to fall in between the grass blades. This process should be done to the entire lawn area and any low or uneven spots should be filled accordingly to ensure a level lawn.
  • For a garden lawn we recommend to mix compost with the sweet soil prior to spreading it on to the lawn. The top dressing mix should be 80% sweet soil and 20% compost. Make sure the mix is dry so it can be easily applied and worked into the ground.
  • Once applied, use a drag mat to go over the lawn in different directions. Do this when it is still dry, prior to irrigating. If you do not have a drag mat, then a soft brush can also be used. This will help work the top dressing mix into the grass, then water immediately after.

 Follow our blog to learn more about maintaining your natural grass, as we go into further detail of the following topics;

  • Mowing, Trimming and Edging – for a more beautiful garden
  • Fertilizing & Watering – for a healthier and greener lawn
  • Common Lawn Diseases & Pests – how to prevent
  • Verti-cutting (dethatching) and Top Dressing – how your grass will always be greener on the other side

We hate to see natural grass go to waste, especially if you are not getting the full potential from your lawn. If you do decide that artificial grass would be more suitable for your requirements, then we would love to provide you with our EVAGRASS range and believe that it is the easier option for this region.

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