Spring is right around the corner, and we’re all ready for it to arrive with its warm weather and sunny days. But is your lawn ready?
After the long cold winter months, your lawn builds a layer of dead grass and debris referred to as thatch.
Dealing thatch is your first step this spring to getting your green grass.
What is thatch in your lawn?
Thatch is a layer of dead and living grass stems and roots that naturally occurs in lawns. Thatch accumulates when your grass grows faster than the surface layer can decompose.
If there is too much thatch will lower the health of a lawn. A thin layer of thatch (1/2 inch) is actually beneficial for your lawn. It provides an insulating and cooling effect for the grass and root system.
Major damage will occur if the thatch layer gets too thick, by preventing nutrients from getting into the soil. Thatch robs your lawn of water and nutrients, by creating a barrier to the soil. If left to accumulate the thatch layer will eventually become a home for insects and lawn diseases.
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How to tell if you lawn needs dethatching?
If you physically feel your turf layer and it feels spongy, bouncy or springy then it probably has a thick thatch layer.
If you examine your lawn closely, the soil should be visible between turf crowns. If it isn’t, you’re likely looking at a thatch layer. If you cannot pass your finger through the thatch layer, it definitely needs to be thinned.
You can also measure your thatch by removing a lawn sample. Remove a small wedge or piece of soil about inches thick. Look for the layer of that will be lying directly on top of the soil layer. Measure the thickness and if the thatch layer is 3 1/4 of an inch or more, then it’s time to dethatch.
How to help eliminate thatch?
Thatch build up can be decreased by bagging your grass clippings, either every time you mow, or every other time you mow. Also make sure to keep leaves rakes as well.
Another great way is to make you sure your lawn is properly watered. If you water to heavily, thatch will become soggy and a pain to get rid of. If you don’t water enough, then your grass is not getting the proper nutrients it needs to survive.
Use a thatch rake in the spring to clean thatch out of your turf. When you use the thatch rake in a push-pull motion, it will pull out thatch and dig into the soil. This loosening of the soil will get it ready for overseeding and fertilization
Aeration is a process recommended every year to eliminate thatch. The core aeration pulls up tiny plugs that help break that thatch barrier, allowing water and nutrients to get done to the root system of your grass. Overseeding after an aeration helps to the thick grass, that you’ve always wanted.