Thatch is a dense mat of accumulated grass stems, roots, clippings and debris that has settled on the ground and either slowly decomposes or begins to buildup over time. Thatch accumulation occurs on top of the soil, just below the grass line; usually out of sight. Excessive thatch prevents the penetration of oxygen, fertilizers and water from reaching deep into the soil where it is needed.
A small thatch layer of less than 1/2 inch is beneficial to the lawn because it increases the lawns resiliency, improves its wear tolerances, and insulates it against soil temperature changes. When thatch layers exceed 1/2 inch, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. The lawns tolerance to heat, cold and drought decrease with increased thatch accumulation. Dry spots, scalping, disease and insect problems also increase. As thatch accumulates, there is also a tendency for root and rhizome growth to occur primarily in the thatch layer rather than in the soil. This results in a weakened, poorly rooted lawn that does not withstand stress well, thus requiring frequent irrigation and intense management.
Power raking is the term used to describe the process of de-thatching. De-thatching involves the removal of the matted layer of dead and decaying plant material between the soil and the grass line. A power rake combs the lawn area with steel flail blades, pulling out the matted thatch from beneath the grass line, depositing it on top of the lawn. Once the lawn is power raked, the thatch is raked up by hand and the lawn is then mowed to act as a vacuum for any loose thatch that may have been left behind.
You can tell if your lawn needs to be de-thatched by simply running your fingers down into the lawn like a small rake. If you end up with a handful of yellow dead grass stems, then you should de-thatch. Also, if you can not see bare ground between the lawn, but instead see a matted down layer of brown and yellow, this is an indication that it is time to de-thatch.
What causes excess thatch?
-Over watering and over fertilizing.
- Poorly aerated soil (highly compacted).
- Using high nitrogen based fertilizers.
- Regular mowing.
What will de-thatching do for my lawn?
- Increase the availability of nutrients.
- Help prevent fertilizer and pesticide run-off from thatch matted areas.
- Enhancing oxygen levels in the soil, and stimulating root and rhizome growth in soil instead of thatch matte.
- Increasing your lawn's resistance to disease and insects.
- Increasing your lawns drought resistance and improving its overall health.
- Promoting a lush green lawn.
1. Thatch is a dense mat of roots, stems and grass clippings that accumulates between the soil and growing blades of grass.
2. Combing with steel flail blades of a power rake will effectively remove thatch build-up.
3. With thatch removed, air, water, nutrients, herbicides and pesticides can do their job. Turf becomes healthier and more resistant to damage and disease.
4. De-thatching twice a year promotes denser growth and ensures that you will have a vibrant, healthy lawn.