Thatch represents the tangled assortment of dead roots, grass, leaves, and other lawn matter that accumulates over a few months. The lawn nuisance especially poses problems for homeowners during mid and late fall, when grass dies and leaves fall from the trees. If you notice thatch beginning to accumulate on your lawn, rest assured you’re not alone, as thatch is a common lawn care problem for homeowners.
If you don’t respond to the overgrowth of thatch, the matted mass of dead grass, roots, and plants can suck the oxygen out of your lawn and deprive it of much needed moisture. Hence, thatch can slowly choke your lawn to an untimely death.
Thatch accumulates, whenever the cycle of decomposition slows or completely shuts down. Excessive thatch not only kills grass, it also can damage the soil, and new growth fails to unfold. You detect the presence of thatch by looking for a green-yellow appearance on your lawn.
The question remains, what do you with thatch after you notice its presence?
Removing a Thin Layer of Thatch
Lawn care experts consider thatch that measures less than a centimetre to be thin. Although thin thatch represents the most common type of thatch problem for your lawn, the good news is it’s easy to remove thin thatch. A dethatcher operates as a powered rake that quickly picks up thin thatch. Dethatchers also go by the names of scarifiers, moss rakes, and turf rakes. You use a dethatcher to rake at the surface of the soil to remove thin thatch. Rows of spring steel combs lift thatch from the ground, which you then collect and store in a compost pile.
Removing Moderate Thatch
Whenver you notice thatch that has increased between one and two centimetres, you have what is known as moderate thatch. Although a dethatcher removes most of the thatch, moderate thatch most likely causes large bare spots to appear on your lawn. This requires you to dethatch, and then immediately seed and fertilize the barren areas. Apply a steady amount of water over an extended period to ensure the seeds run deep into the ground.
Removing Out of Control Thatch
Whenever thatch climbs to above two centimetres, you must aerate the soil to provide it with oxygen and moisture. Out of control thatch compromises the grass and plant root systems, which eventually starves the root system. Soil aeration loosens the soil to provide mini channels for water to carry seeds deep within your lawn.
The best time to dethatch your lawn varies, depending on where you live in the United Kingdom. You can dethatch in the early spring, when you notice grass starting to grow or dethatch in early fall right before you fertilize.