Managing Thatch

By September 7, 2015Blog

Soil compaction and thatch build-up are two of the biggest obstacles we face in Georgia. Compacted soil restricts the movement of air, water and nutrients into the soil. This can lead to excessive thatch build-up.

The Problem with Too Much Thatch

Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter that accumulates between the leaf blade and the soil surface. Thatch is a build-up of dead roots, lawn debris and dead turf crowns. The thatch layer is especially noticeable in Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede lawns. Excessive thatch (over 1/2″) creates an environment favorable for pests and disease. Excessive thatch also restricts the movement of water and nutrients into the soil.

Proper lawn maintenance is the key to managing a healthy thatch layer. Mowing your lawn at the proper height on a weekly basis along with annual core aeration will keep your lawn healthy and prevent excessive thatch build-up. Core aeration helps break down the thatch layer naturally. As you’re probably aware, healthy soils are full of microbes. When a lawn is aerated, small plugs of soil (including the microbes) are pulled out and deposited on the surface. The microbes almost immediately start to break down the dead organic layer of thatch. Too much thatch can be disastrous for the health of a lawn and may require an expensive de-thatching process. It is better to keep thatch under control with proper lawn maintenance and regular core aeration services.