Lawn thatch is nothing but dead grass which forms a layer between the soil and new growth. It can comprise of roots, debris which when it becomes excessive can actually strangle and retard the growth of new grass. Since thatch cannot hold moisture, the soil becomes dry and unfertile. Thatch becomes a store house for insects and diseases. Thatch growth is also promoted by excessive Nitrogen from fertilizers (read article on `Fertilizers’).
The presence of lawn thatch gives turf an uneven look, and once the new grass starts growing, it is very difficult to de-thatch. Secondly, the thatch prevents fresh grass from getting adequate water supply as it forms a water proof layer choking the stem of the grass plant and preventing it from getting water from its roots. With lack of adequate water supply, grass can turn an unhealthy shade of yellow and its sickly appearance will be compounded by all those pests which love to attack sick plants.
Hence, a good understanding of thatching and de-thatching will ensure that your lawn looks great.
How do you recognize thatch?
That spongy looking messy tangle of dead leaves, grass, stems and roots is thatch. But often it is difficult to tell the difference between thatch and weed. To ensure that it is thatch, check the soil and try to push your fingers into it. If you feel a push back or it is really tough to penetrate the soil, it is likely that it is thatch.
When to de-thatch?
The best season to de-thatch is autumn, as it is during autumn that plants are naturally shedding their leaves. At this time, grass may soon recover and grow back. However, in spring, the roots are firm and the grass is in a growth mode, and de-thatching becomes an impediment to its natural growth.
How to de-thatch?
If it is early stages, then using a rake will help. But if the thatch has really penetrated the soil and it is tough to wedge it out, then you will need to use a `de-thatcher’, which is a power rake.
The thatch hand rake is an easy option in the early stages. With its knifelike teeth, it can drag out the thatch easily.
Another alternative is `coring’ which is done by using machines called coring machines. Coring machines create cores or holes in the ground as they drill out thatch. The open holes allow moisture to enter; this helps in preventing further decomposition of any thatch that might still be buried underground.
Once de-thatching is completed, it is wise to apply a soft layer of soil, which will help enable microorganisms to penetrate the ground and destroy any remaining hidden thatch.
Thatching Lawn – In the Spring
Over time, our lawns have buildup from a number of different things. Layers of different types of plant life, dead and alive, all mixed together. The thatch is located between the soil and the grass itself; think of it as the padding under your carpet but above the subflooring. Thatching Lawn In The Spring can help give your yard a facelift to be healthy and green again.
Most of us who tend to our own lawns, forget about thatching. Probably because it’s not easily seen. Thatching is a buildup done over time of different plant life that has settled between the soil and the grass. Thatch can be good as it can act as a mulch and helps to cushion the grass from foot traffic and to conserve moisture that the grass can use if watering not done appropriately.
If you can’t see the soil in your yard below at the base of the grass, then you probably have a thatch problem and needs to be addressed. The thatch can stop air flow through the grass to the soil which in turn can harm the soil therefore harming your lawn. Earthworms are great in helping aeriate your lawn but if the thatch is too thick they are unable to keep up.
Some other ways to determine if you need to be Thatching Lawn is if the lawn is spongy or leaves your imprint when stepped on or grass dries easily in hot weather even with ample watering. Another great indication of thatch is to take a sample of all the layers from the grass to the soil – at least 3 inches to get a good reading. This will visibly show you all the layers and how thick the thatch is.
When to to thatch your lawn varies where you live and what type of grass you have. Usually Thatching Lawn should be done every 3 – 5 years. Before beginning to remove the thatch, or de-Thatch, if the ground is very dry, water the lawn the day before to soften the thatch.
The basic concept on de-Thatching is you want to get the debris that is caught between the soil and your grass. If you begin to see dirt, you may want to adjust the machine or the pressure you are applying. Thatching Lawn In he Spring is a good time for the process as this will keep your grass from dying in the heat.