You’re talking to your neighbor.
They are going on and on and on about their gorgeous lawn. They just measured the grass in front of you, putting the ruler up to your face chanting that they have the perfect height of grass. They boast endlessly about their shiny flowers and weed-less environment. You wonder how your conversation had become about the lawn and also wonder how you could politely stop talking to this strange person. She leans over, looking just slightly past you.
“Oh, how awkward. You have thatch. Tsk tsk, I hope I didn’t make you feel bad. I should probably go. Have a good day, if you need me to help you with your lawn, just let me know.” (don’t ask me how they can tell you have thatch, maybe they’re some sort of magic lawn care person or something).
Then they are gone, and you are left staring ahead angrily… wondering what a thatch is and thinking about whether it’s worth it to move.
Don’t move! Because lucky for you, I have all the answers you seek. Your odd neighbor will never tsk at your yard ever again.
What is thatch?
Thatch is a layer of organic material built up over time that is on top of the soil and at the base of the grass blades.
Thatch threatens the root system of your lawn, so you do NOT want it!
Okay, but is thatch really a big deal?
Okay, I totally get it. You hear that it threatens the root system and you’re just like…. Psh, the root system. The root system isn’t even visible so I don’t need to worry about it. The only person who will notice that is my weird neighbor.
The root system is important though, and there are some unfortunate consequences if it is threatened by thatch.
- Prevents water, fertilizer, and healthy nutrients from reaching the soil
- Reduces the amount of sunlight absorbed
- Invites disease by acting like a sponge and keeping moisture on the leaf
- Creates an uneven lawn
- Increases pest problems (gross)
- Suffocates the base of the grass blade
I don’t know if you could tell, but these are not good things.
Mow the lawn a little lower than you normally would, grab a dethatcher and go at it! It is recommended to make at least two passes over the lawn. Than you should rake up all the debris left over, water and fertilizer. Your lawn will then be a beautiful, dethatched environment.
It is recommended to complete the thatching in the spring prior to any applications. This will clean up the leftover debris from the fall and winter and prepare the lawn to accept the first application of crabgrass control, ensuring all nutrients and weed control make their way into the soil.
Do I have to thatch every year? If it’s in the budget or timeline, than yes.
But, No! There are ways you can avoid thatching the lawn annually,
Lime applications and core aerations will help reduce the thatch layer. Make sure you keep excessive nitrogen applications minimal. Fungicide and insecticide treatments will build up the thatch and should be used on as needed.
If those steps sound like too much work, you could also just simply dethatch every year. The choice is yours, young obi wan.
Okay, I hope you guys learned enough to really stick it to your neighbor! Let them never judge the thatch layer of your lawn ever again. Good Luck!