What is Thatch?
Thatch is a layer of organic matter, living and dead, that accumulates around the base of your grass. If you have ever pulled a blade of grass from your lawn and noticed the base of the blade is a faded yellow colour, this discolouration is caused by the underlying thatch layer. Thatch can be beneficial or detrimental to your lawn depending on the level of thatch that is present making annual lawn maintenance very important!
There is no way to avoid thatch and some thatch on your lawn is a good thing! Thatch provides insulation and protects your lawn from extreme temperatures and can prevent moisture loss. However, thatch layers that are too thick could cause issues and should not be more than 1/2” in thickness. Given that this layer is not visible it is challenging to figure out how much thatch may be present on your lawn at any given time so an annual spring service is important!
The Bad & The Ugly
Poorly managed thatch layers can result in reduced grass health and could cause damages to your lawn. Below are some examples of how your lawn can be impacted by poorly maintained thatch layers:
Poor Water/Nutrient Absorption – Because thatch consists of dead matter it can heat up and dry out very quickly which affects water absorption and puts the roots at risk of becoming dry as well. When fertilizers are applied the it may not be effective and can even create buildup on the thatch making it less permeable.
Overexposure – During rainy periods thatch may hold too much water and could result in roots rotting from overexposure.
Scalping – Heavy thatch layers also cause the grass to be softer and may cause scalping to occur during mowing due to the mower wheels sinking into the grass
Unwanted Organisms and Insects – A thick thatch layer creates a haven for unwanted organisms and insects that could cause disease in your lawn.
How to Manage Thatch
The most effective management method is to de-thatch your lawn. De-thatching can be performed with a hand rake but is more effective when performed with a de-thatching machine (power rake). Power raking in combination with core aerating is best performed in the spring.
Power raking is offered as part of the GP Lawn Doctor spring clean up service. To book this service give us a call at 780-539-7090 or visit our website www.gplawndoctor.com to request pricing today!