Working outdoors can be both frustrating and very refreshing. For many people, there is something therapeutic about working in the dirt, coaxing plants to life, and even making their grass green, particularly doing all of this without the aid of professionals and chemicals.

One of the more frustrating things to deal with is a finicky lawn that insists on having brown patches. If you’ve exhausted all of the options you know of to deal with those patches by seeding, watering, fertilizing and maybe even treating for fungus, it’s possible you simply need to dethatch. In fact, most lawns need dethatching every couple of years.

So the next question is: When should you dethatch your lawn? The simple, one-word answer: Spring.

This is why.

Spring is the growing season. Moisture is more prevalent during this time as well, meaning you won’t have to water as diligently as otherwise. Also, when you have finished dealing with your thatch patches, you will often need to re-seed. Re-seeded grass needs to stay wet in order to germinate and grow. So Spring is best. But how do you do it? Read on.

The first thing to do is grab your rakes and work gloves. You will need a fan rake and a garden rake.

Upon arriving at your first thatch patch, set your fan rake out of the way, put your work gloves on and use the metal-tined garden rake to scrape that thatch up. You will be loosening the soil at the same time as you work the thatch up and out. Once finished with your first thatch patch, move on to the next and get all of them scraped and loose.

Next, using the lightweight fan rake, you can gather all of that loosened brown grass into a pile. Add this pile to your compost or you can just bag it and leave it for the city’s Spring Clean-Up crew to collect it.

But you are not finished yet. Often, if left for too long, thatch can kill the grass it was smothering. So re-seeding the ground is a good idea. You have already loosened the soil, so now you want to moisten the patches you will re-seed. When moist, spread some seed evenly and then water it. Try and be sure that the seed you spread is the same species as your lawn. Some people like to step gently on the seeded area to try and keep the seeds there.

Then feel satisfied that you have dethatched at the right time and in the right way.