Maintaining a lawn isn’t easy. Keeping track of all the terms you need to know to keep your lawn happy and healthy can be hard to manage. Triad Weed Free wants to help! We’ll answer some of your most frequently asked lawn care questions so you can figure out how to best take care of your grass.
This week, we’re focusing on thatch! Let’s jump right in…
What is thatch?
Thatch is a layer of decaying organic plant material like roots, leaves, and grass stems right below your lawn grass. Thatch builds up when your lawn can’t break down these natural materials as fast as they accumulate.
Why is thatch a problem?
Thatch on its own is not a bad thing. In fact, a healthy layer of thatch is good for your lawn! A normal layer of thatch – about ½ an inch or so – can protect your lawn against extreme temperature changes and enhance soil health.
But if your thatch builds up to unhealthy levels, generally ¾ of an inch or thicker, your lawn will suffer. The main symptom of too much thatch is a dry, browning, and / or patchy lawn.
A thick thatch layer will reduce oxygen and water to your lawn grass roots. Since thatch acts as an insulating layer, it heats up and dries out the roots of your grass. At the same time, too much moisture can build-up in the thatch layer, contributing to rot and decay. Both dry and overwatered – you just can’t win! Thatch can also make your lawn more vulnerable to pests, as they burrow in and live in your thatch layer.
If you suspect you may have a problem, you can check how thick the thatch layer is by pulling up a small patch of grass and measuring the thatch layer. Or play it safe and call up your local lawn care professionals, we can diagnose your lawn problems and help you resolve them easily!
What makes my lawn more likely to have a thatch problem?
Certain grasses are more likely to produce thatch. Here in North Carolina, Kentucky bluegrass is most likely to have an unhealthy thatch buildup. Not sure what type of grass you have in your lawn? We can help with a free lawn analysis, just fill out the form at the bottom of this post!
Earthworms and naturally occurring microorganisms help decay thatch naturally. If you spray too much pesticide on your lawn, you can accidentally kill off the helpful little critters.
Like pesticides, acidic soil can slow the decomposition of thatch by reducing microbe and earthworm populations in your soil. Compacted soil and soils with a high concentration of clay and sand are also risk factors.
How do I control my lawn’s thatch?
If you already have a thatch problem… call a lawn care company. There are dethatching machines and treatment programs to help you get your lawn back to a healthy state. If you don’t have the professional know-how to use these tools, you may end up damaging your lawn even further. It’s best to let us handle it for you.
If you want to prevent a thatch problem…
- Aerate your lawn regularly.
- Keep your lawn watered.
- Don’t overdo it on the pesticides.
- Measure your pH levels and adjust the acidity using lime or fertilizer accordingly.
Again, unless you’re an expert yourself, it’s best to leave these treatments up to the professionals to avoid any damage to your lawn! Professionals like us here at Triad Weed Free, keeping lawns throughout Greensboro, Winston Salem, Burlington, and other surrounding areas nice and green, are ready to help you get rid of your thatch problem!