Take Care of Thatch Before It Takes Over Your Lawn

August 5, 2013 | Tags: , , , ,

Do You Know What’s Lurking Beneath Your Lawn?

Every lawn in the Rockland, Westchester, Orange, and Bergen counties have some degree of thatch. And some thatch is good for your lawn, but too much could be deadly for your turf.
Thatch is a mixture of loose, dead grass and roots, along with new shoots of grass, living between your lawn and the soil.

A small layer helps to protect the young shoots of grass. However, lots of thatch can dry out your lawn or keep too much moisture stuck beneath it providing a breeding ground for fungi and other grass diseases to flourish.

Here are some of the common causes of thatch build up:

  • Some types of grass produce an overabundance of thatch. These popular types include Kentucky bluegrass, creeping red fescue, and creeping bentgrass. Instead grasses, such as perennial ryegrass and tall fescue varieties, don’t have a lot of thatch build up.
  • Acidic soils, which have a pH of 5.5 or lower, don’t allow soil micro-organisms to grow and decompose thatch. You can send in a soil sample to your local extension office to have it tested for its acidity level.
  • Clay and sandy soils also prohibit micro-organisms from growing and taking care of thatch build up.
    Certain pesticides allow thatch to build up too. If you regularly use certain types of pesticides, a build-up could occur which results in reduced earthworms in your soil. And earthworms help to keep thatch growth under control.
  • Using too much fertilizer also encourages thatch growth.

But all is not lost if you have a lot of thatch build up on your property. There are ways for you to control thatch and not let it destroy your lawn:

  • Aerating your lawn: During aeration, soil plugs and thatch are pulled up from your lawn and left to dissolve through rainfall or irrigation. Aeration opens up pathways in your soil so air, water, and nutrients can travel to the grass roots. If aeration is done yearly, it will help to control thatch from overgrowing, as well as it will strengthen the growing grass’s root system.
  • Using the right amount of fertilizer: Correctly fertilizing your lawn will help your grass to grow in density and greenness. Yet, if you go overboard with fertilizing, you run the risk of thatch growing out of control.
  • Limiting fungicide and insecticide applications: Sometimes, you need to use fungicides and insecticides to keep your lawn healthy and to protect your family from stinging insects. However, high levels of fungicides or insecticides in your soil reduce earthworm populations.

What do you do if the above solutions don’t work for you? If you have too much thatch, consider slice seeding which uses a machine to cut furrows into your lawn and deposit grass seeds directly into the soil. Or you could consider using a power dethatcher to mechanically remove thatch from your lawn.
Remember, some thatch is healthy for your lawn. It’s when it grows to overabundance that your lawn will start to decay. Consider annual core aeration, slice seeding, or dethatching, if it’s necessary, to keep your thatch under control, and your lawn lush and beautiful.

If you need a lawn care professional to help you with core aeration, slice seeding, and dethatching in the Rockland, Westchester, Orange, and Bergen counties, call or contact Majestic Lawn and Landscape today at 845-708-2988.