Lawn thatching is the build up of grass and plant stems, grass clippings, leaf blades, and other organic materials that build up between the soil and grass leaf blades.
Thatching repels water, meaning that your lawn receives less water than it normally would, sometimes no water at all. Thatching also inhibits the absorption of food by your lawn leading to stunted growth of your grass. In addition, excess thatching can cause the roots to grow towards the surface, instead of deeper into the ground, in an attempt to find nutrients. The combination of these three factors can slowly result in the death of your lawn.
It’s good to have a small amount of thatching in your lawn. In the colder months it helps to protect the lawn roots from the cold. And in very warm or hot weather, it helps to retain the moisture in the grass. Problems occur, however, when too much thatching builds up over your lawn.
Does Your Lawn Have Too Much Lawn Thatching?
How do you determine if you have too much thatching in your lawn? One of the best signs is the formation of puddles on the surface of your lawn. Another sign is abnormally slow drainage in your lawn. One solution to too much thatching is aeration. Aeration reduces thatch buildup. Aeration also helps your lawn to breathe and absorb nutrients. Your local garden center can help you to choose the best types of aerators for the soil types in your area.
Normally, aerating your lawn at the beginning of the spring or fall season will do the job. For heavily thatched lawns, however, you may need to aerate at the beginning of both seasons. And even if your lawn is in the best of shape, a good aeration once every three or four years, will help to keep it that way. If you want to get in some exercise, you can simply wear your lawn aerator shoes to help you with the de-thatching.
Another solution to excess lawn thatching is to use a thatch rake to break up the thatching. A thatch rake is similar to a normal garden rake with the exception that it has specially designed blades that enable it to cut through tough thatching materials. The best times to do the de-thatching of your lawn would be in either late summer or early spring.
If the lawn thatching has become so thick and unruly, the next step may be to visit your garden center and rent a power de-thatcher or power rake to take care of the problem. Once you’ve de-thatched an area, if necessary, reseed it. And Always, water and feed the de-thatched area.
Removing the thatch from your lawn helps to ensure that your lawn will stay healthy. If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to be bothered with de-thatching your lawn personally, you can always hire a lawn service to do it for you. Most will be more than willing to give you a free cost estimate.