Thatch is the name for a layer of dead grass blades, roots, and stems at the soil’s surface. Although thatch can be beneficial in small amounts by providing a layer that controls soil temperature and prevents weeds, too much thatch can cause issues. Excess thatch can increase the potential for turf damage caused by drought, extreme temperatures, disease, and insects. If you have noticed an unhealthy amount of lawn thatch, follow the tips below to remove the excess thatch and prevent buildup in the future.
The Risks of Excess Thatch
If you measure more than half an inch of thatch in your grass, then it is best to dethatch your lawn. If you do not remove the excess lawn thatch, you may see:
- Browning of the lawn
- Suffocation of grassroots
- Thinning of the lawn, which promotes weed growth
- Turf diseases and pests
- A barrier that blocks necessary water, air, and nutrients from reaching the soil and grassroots
All dethatching tools have vertical blades that reach into the soil and pull up thatch. It is essential to recognize that although they may do similar things, not all tools are the same. Dethatching tools include the following:
- A Convex Rake: Also known as a dethatching rake, this rake has two rows of tines that grab the thatch. It’s useful for small properties but requires some elbow grease and time.
- A Verticutter: Otherwise known as a vertical mower, this motorized, wheeled tool has a cylinder with vertical blades. This process is less invasive than a power rake, as the blades do not cut as deep. A verticutter is also much easier to use than a power rake or convex rake.
- A Power Rake: Also known as a mechanical dethatcher, this tool has vertical blades which cut into lawn thatch and remove it from your lawn. These machines are very powerful and are best used for lawns with thick thatch.
If you prefer to have a professional handle your lawn thatch, contact Scientific Plant Service for advice and treatment.
How to Prevent the Buildup of Lawn Thatch
Good lawn practices can prevent the buildup of excessive thatch. First, fertilize your lawn with an enhanced slow-release fertilizer. Most store-bought fertilizers release nutrients quickly and cause excessive growth bursts. Scientific Plant Service utilizes Polyon enhanced release fertilizer that slowly releases nutrients over many months to provide nutrients as your lawn needs them. Slow healthy growth is one of the keys to a healthy lawn without excessive thatch.
If you choose to water your lawn in dry weather, water deeply and infrequently. Make sure to water so that the entire root zone is moist, then allow the soil to dry out before watering again. Finally, aerate lawns that have become compacted to promote healthy soil. Grass roots need air as much as they need water.
Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare
Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.
We offer services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, including: Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!