Thatch is a layer of grass stems, roots, clippings, and debris that settle on the ground and either slowly decompose and/or accumulate over time. Thatch accumulates on the surface of your soil just below the grass line and is usually out of sight.

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Here are the basics:

As your grass grows, older grass and plants die and cast off their dead tissues. The dead matter is known as “thatch,” and organisms in the soil, like insects and earthworms, feed on it and break it down. While a little thatch is good, too much could mean your lawn is ready for a good dethatching.

What is dethatching?

Dethatching is the process of cutting through the thatch layer and basically ripping out the debris. Dethatching improves water infiltration and increases your lawn’s ability to draw nutrients from the soil. Small lawns can use a special cavex rake for dethatching, but it can be rather labor-intensive. Vertical mowers can be more practical, but may damage some grasses. We’d be happy to provide you a free consultation and estimate.

When should I dethatch?

It depends on your type of grass: Cool-season lawns should be dethatched in late-summer or early fall, at least one month before the end of the growing season; warm-season lawns are best dethatched in late-spring (usually after the second mowing of the season).

Can I prevent excessive thatch?

Here are a few tips:

  • Mow frequently
  • Follow a fertilizer program and do not over-fertilize
  • Don’t let pH fall below 6.0
  • Avoid frequent, shallow watering

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