Is thatch a bad thing?
First things first, what is thatch?
Thatch is a layer of organic matter that accumulates on a lawn around the base of the grass plants. It is a combination of living and dead plant matter.
Does it need managing?
Simply put, yes. The removal of thatch is an important part of good lawn maintenance. If thatch is left it will weaken the lawn and will eventually make it become prone to moss and disease.
Are there different types of thatch?
There are two types of thatch, surface and subsurface.
Which process does each require?
We scarify to remove surface thatch and aerate to remove sub-surface thatch.
If your soil pH is low, applying lime to your turf will raise soil pH levels and encourage thatch decomposition.
Prevention rather than cure?
If possible aim to prevent thatch build up by carrying out core aeration in the autumn this will reduce compaction and help to improve the air movement in the soil which will also improve microbe activity.
Fertiliser is good for turf health but it is important to apply the correct feed, the correct amount at the correct time or you may inadvertently increase thatch build-up. Should the thatch layer build up to an inch or more rake it out if the area is not too large or hire a scarifying machine.
When should I remove my thatch layer?
If you plan to remove thatch do this when the grass will grow back and recover. It can be quite shocking if you have a lot of thatch, when you remove it you may be left without much grass so overseeding will be required.
Only consider de-thatching if you have a strong healthy lawn, weak damaged turf will not recover well.
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