I am pretty sure that I have utterly confused a lot of people about just how to verticut your lawn, and why I only suggest dethatching or power raking every few years. I put together a little video talking about the basics of verticutting and showing how and what machine to use for this process.

Verticutting is the process of removing dead material and thatch in your lawn while at the same time opening up the dense grass plant for mow growing points. Since bermudagrass and paspalum grow mostly horizontally it is important that nothing impedes its penetration in the lawn, so by lightly verticutting you will give the grass additional growing points. Now you may be saying to yourself that you still don’t understand the difference between a verticut and a dethatcher. The primary difference is that the verticut is just going to lightly tickle the soil down below, while dethatching will aggressively dig into the root system and pull out thatch. If you have an excessive amount of thatch then using a power rake is okay, but if you are just doing yearly maintenance I don’t recommend it.

Take a look at the short video here:

Look for these major points:

1. Verticut when your grass is actively growing or to help aid in the assistance of transition from ryegrass to bermudagrass or paspalum.

2. Set the height of the verticutter higher than normal to initially start and try to find the right height so you are not digging into the soil surface.

3. If your grass feels like a sponge, it needs to be verticut. If you have lots of dead ryegrass between your warm season grass blades you need to verticut to eliminate the competition.

4. After you verticut, mow the grass to your normal height and then proceed to verticut in a second direction.

5. Repeat step 4 if you still have lots of dead material between the grass blades after going two directions.

6. Water your lawn daily for the next week for at least 15 minutes to regain moisture in the grass plant.

7. Fertilize with Soil Burst 7-7-7 and/or 4-0-6 to get good nutrient balance and help your grass during stress periods (http://www.westernsod.com/soilburst.php).

8. Resume your normal watering schedule after 1-1.5 weeks.

And now for those that are interested in my running addiction…….

Quest to run 100 miles

My 100 mile race in the Black Hills of South Dakota is right around the corner, so I am really trying to increase my heat and distance training as August 27th draws closer. I try to remind myself how many people have run 100 mile races and that I can do this.
For those of you who are new to my blog or just reading this today I thought you may be interested in reading what I have deemed a good training schedule for the last year. As of this morning I have now run 456 consecutive days with a minimum of 4 miles per day and I am not sure what that means except maybe I am a little OCD.

Is it necessary to run 7 days a week for a year and a half to complete a 100 mile race? I can tell you that every Ultra runner would just say that’s just plain crazy and probably not very good for the body to not take a day off. The problem I am having as I sit here today is that I feel great, don’t desire a day off, and I just want to improve my time for Lean Horse 100 without thinking about the streak. People often ask me what is more important, the streak or completing a 100 mile run? I have no idea. I really did not think the streak was that important, but maybe it is.

My wife bought me a Garmin GPS watch last year for Father’s Day so I could keep track of my miles and not my weight but maybe the watch has made me crazy in a whole new way. Those of you who have one know just what I am talking about. Have you ever finished a run only to look down at your watch and see you only ran 10.92 miles and circled the parking lot twice just so the watch could read 11. It is tough to tell someone like me that no one cares if you ran 10.92 or 11 but it would play mental games with me all day if I stopped short.

As Father’s Day approaches this weekend I have my first years recorded results and they look more like video game numbers, not running numbers. Not sure how to put these numbers into perspective or what exactly they mean besides maybe I am a little nuts. What do you think????

*Total Miles June 19th 2010-June 15th 2011 – 3,586 miles. This is the equivalent of running from Detroit, Michigan to Los Angeles and back in the same year.

*Total Calories Burned: 457,568. Now I realize this number is just an equation figured by the watch, but really? It takes 3500 calories to burn one pound of fat so I burned 130.73 pounds or the equivalent of one supermodel.

*Total feet of gain (ascent): 341,529 feet. This can be summed up by saying it is the same as climbing Mt. Everest 14.5 times in the same year. Maybe just a touch easier (okay a lot easier).

Hours run: 604:20:32. This may be the scariest number as it is ¼ of the average persons hours worked in a year.

I’m not sure how to put these numbers into perspective or what exactly they mean besides maybe I am a little nuts. I definitely like what I see and there is no better feeling than being down 100 pounds in the last year and a half from running. I guess this will just be the next chapter in my book. My upcoming race is July 31st in Utah. I am running the Speed Goat 50K which consists of 11,800 feet of elevation gain over 31 miles, runs through a course that starts at 7600 feet of elevation and tops out at 11,600 feet (no oxygen), and word today was that the mountains still have 78 inches of packed snow.

This was one great Father’s Day gift from my wife and daughter, so the streak must continue and now it is time to start training in the mountains of Flagstaff on the weekends to get ready.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.