What Is, and is not Thatch

All About Thatch

The questions of what is and isn’t thatch, and what then are its causes are frequently asked by many homeowners with lawns. The following tips will hopefully provide you with the answers to these and other questions about thatch.

Grass Clippings May Not Be The Problem

Generally, your lawn clippings can be broken down by the existing microorganisms in your lawn. That being said, thatch occurs when plant material develops more quickly than these can decompose said material. Thatch is the buildup of this material which will discourage the growth of your lawn as well as its health. Proper lawn care practices will help to avoid this.

Just What is Thatch?

Thatch is a layer of organic material which lies in between the grass and the soil. It is a mixture of both living and dead material and is a normal part of a healthy turfgrass lawn. Thatch is actually necessary to protect your lawn from traffic damage. The problem arises when this layer becomes too thick and begins to affect the health of your lawn.

How Does It Affect My Lawn

If the thatch layer of your lawn exceeds about 2.5cms it will greatly impede your lawns ability to receive the correct amounts of just about anything it needs to remain healthy. As a result of the restriction of water, air and nutrients your grass will have to root in the thatch layer itself. This will cause your lawn to be very susceptible to drought and when the thatch itself dries out will prevent your lawn from benefiting from irrigation. A thick layer of thatch can also harbor fungi which under the correct circumstances can very quickly kill your lawn. In addition, the additional stress will cause your grass to be more likely to sustain pest damage.

Fixing Thatch Problems

As we said earlier, the microorganisms in your lawn are usually able to deal with preventing a thatch problem, but there are a few things you can do to help. One of the first things you can do is core aeration, this will enable access to air, water and nutrients. As has been noted in our other bulletins, if your thatch layer is greater than 2.5cms thick, you should seriously consider dethatching. Sometimes called verti cutting, dethatching is simply the vigorous raking of your lawn to enhance its ability to allow air and nutrients to reach the root growth. Mechanical dethatchers are known as vertical mowers, power rakes, verticutters and dethatchers and all perform in the same manner. Spinning blades pull some of the material to the surface as it cuts through the thatch layer. Most lawn and garden centres, and equipment rental outlets will have them. Dethatching your lawn should only be done when the lawn is dry, and the weather is cool. Some of the other things you can do in order to avoid thatching, is to always mow to a reasonable height on a regular schedule. You can also get a soil nutrient test done, and treat according to the analysis that is reported.

To get more advice call our team on (07) 3114 8281. You can also to pop in and order in person at our sales office on 1/243 Bradman Street, Acacia Ridge. The office opens Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7am to 12pm.

For more great lawn care tips keep an eye on our website and all our social media channels.

Back to blog