There is a material called thatch that can develop at the base of grass plants. It is simply organic matter that accumulates over time. It is not simply dead plant matter, but it can also contain living components. Some of the components of thatch will include rhizomes, stolons, the roots of older plants, and also the crowns of grass. There is a common thought that thatch is the results of continually mulching your lawn, primarily because microorganisms in the soil can break down this organic material. There are also organic polymers called lignins in the mix, something that does not decompose very easily. If you are worried about this buildup of thatch in your lawn, here are four simple ways that you can remove it.
Why Does Thatch Build Up So Quickly?
Thatch can build up relatively quickly for a variety of reasons. For example, you may have a very specific type of grass that is known for thatch buildup. If you have soil that is extremely acidic, or if you are using certain fungicides, this can lead to excessive amounts of rhizome and root growth. If you use insecticides on a regular basis, earthworms will be less likely to be near the surface. Finally, if you are fertilizing your lawn continually, the buildup of nitrogen in the soil can contribute to soil acidity, leading to an abundance of thatch buildup.
How Can You Remove Thatch?
There are several ways that you can remove thatch from your lawn. If it is becoming a problem, you will need to do something soon. The reason that you need to remove as much thatch as possible is that nutrients, water, and even air cannot circulate properly throughout the soil. It will also create a situation where you will have a substantial amount of runoff. Instead of the water percolating to the roots, it simply going to flow out of the lawn area. That’s why removing thatch is so important, especially if you have at least 1/2 inch of that, a large amount that will start to cause these problems. Using a thatch rake is something that many people do. By simply pushing and pulling on this tool, you can begin to break up the thatch very quickly. You could also use a leaf rake, along with the tarp, so that you can rake out the thatch and remove it. Watering your lawn more than normal might be a good idea. If you are having a substantial amount of runoff, overwatering might be necessary to break through the fat so that percolation of the water can resume. Finally, in order to prevent this from happening at all, or additional thatch showing up, you can reduce the amount of fertilizing that you do on an annual basis.
The Main Problems Caused By Too Much Thatch
Some of the problems that thatch can cause have already been mentioned. However, there are more serious problems that can occur. One of the leading problems that can cause your lawn to die is how thatch can cause the roots of the grass to become too dry. As mentioned before, if water is not able to reach the roots through the normal percolation process, roots will dry out, die, and contribute to the thatch. In addition to this, thatch provides a very thick layer where diseases and fungus can breed, leading to what could be a huge die off of your lawn that can only be combated with fungicides.
Is There A Way To Manage The Thatch That Is Produced?
There are several ways to prevent the buildup of thatch, at least to unhealthy levels first of all, you need to make sure that the pH level of your soil is that the proper amount. PH levels can be affected dramatically if you have too much salt in the soil, or if you have an overabundance of nitrogen. By cutting back on watering, fertilizing, and increasing your use of a rake on the surface of your lawn, you can manage the thatch very easily. Additionally, instead of mulching your grass while you are mowing it, you should use a catcher that will contain all of the cut grass, preventing it from contributing to the thatch that is already there.
When Is The Best Time To Remove Thatch From Your Lawn?
Most grass experts will agree that the best time to remove thatch is during the winter. That is because the grass has gone dormant and you cannot damage the grass, or the roots, by using tools to loosen the thatch and subsequently extracted. The wintertime is best because it is much cooler, helping you to only approach the thatch when it is no longer building up on a daily basis. If you were to try to do this during the spring when grass is growing at a rapid pace, you would be doing this endlessly. By removing the problem during winter, when spring finally arrives, you are thatch problem may not occur at all the following year.
Now that you have information on what thatch is, and how to remove it, you should schedule a time with, to take care of this problem. If this has been problematic since the end of spring, when winter arrives, you need to start addressing this issue. Once the layer of thatch is removed, and if you do not overwater or fertilize, you will probably not have any problems at all. You will also remove the possibility of thatch becoming a breeding ground for certain types of fungus, a problem that is quite common in more humid areas. Although thatch will decompose on its own naturally, once there is too much, it simply going to cause problems and grow in size. It is so important to make sure that this layer of deciduous material is removed during the winter so that you will have a much better year, free from thatch, because you followed these suggestions for finally ending your problems with thatch in your lawn.