Lawn Problem: Thatch

How do I know if I have thatch in my lawn?

Is your lawn spongey or soft underfoot? Do you leave compressed footprints in it? Do you have lots of moss in winter? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then chances are you have thatch. One way to find out is by cutting an “L” shape in the lawn and teasing back the turf. If it looks anything like these pictures – you have a thatch problem.

What is thatch?

Thatch is the organic matter that builds up on the surface of the lawn over time. It is like a thatched roof. It doesn’t let water through to the soil where it is needed. Instead, it keeps moisture at the surface of the soil and encourages the grass roots to grow there. This shallow rooting is a no no for a great lawn. The wet organic matter is the ideal place for moss spores to set up home. In fact, thatchy lawns and moss problems often go hand in hand.

How do I get rid of the thatch in my lawn?

There are a couple of ways to control the thatch. The quickest and most effective is to scarify it. The LawnsOne professional machines have vertical steel blades which rip through the thatch removing it from the surface of the soil. We run our machines in 2 directions to get rid of the majority of the thatch, we then feed the lawn and let it recover. If the lawn has sub surface thatch – thatch that penetrates deep into the soil profile then a LawnsOne Renew treatment may be in order. Stripping the thatch back to the bare soil as in the picture above, before aerating and reseeding.

Key points to remember

  • Keep thatch levels under control with annual scarification.
  • Aeration can punch through sub surface thatch but it may be better to start again.
  • Thatch provides a home for moss and diseases.

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