Thatch – What it is & What to do about it

Most people think that thatch is a build up of old grass clippings. It is not. Thatch is actually the surface accumulation of old root systems that the turf has abandoned. Unlike grass clippings, thatch does not decay , but continually builds up creating a barrier that increasingly suffocates new growth and deprives the new roots from water. Visually what you will see is a thinning of the overall turf with an increasing number of bare spots.

Since thatch builds up slowly, it should only need to be removed every three years. This process is best accomplished with a power rake, when the ground is dry. The major benefit of this process is the promotion of new turf growth & a reduction in the amount of water needed to maintain a healthy lawn.

When getting prices for this service, make sure that you understand whether the price quoted is for thatching only, or does it include the removal of the thatch. Some companies price each service separately, others combine the services in one price.

20)

Aeration – What it is, Why and When you should do it

Aeration is a process of removing plugs that are .5″ in diameter and 3-4 inches long from the turf. The major benefits of this process is that it can double the amount of oxygen, moisture & fertilizers that actually reach the turfs root system, resulting in a healthier & more disease resistant lawn.

Unless your soil is very compacted or of a high clay content, aerating every other year will provide full results. For the best results, this process should be done in the early spring, but typically after your water is turned on. Because aeration equipment forces steel probes 3 to 4 inches into the turf, there is a high risk of damaging sprinkler heads unless they can be marked & avoided. This is best done by operating each station & marking each head before putting the equipment on the lawn.

While many companies offer this service in the fall, to offset declining mowing revenues, the value to the customer is minimal for two reasons. First the freeze/thaw process of winter will close the holes created before spring arrives and secondly, the turf will derive no benefit during the dormant winter season.

21)

What if I choose to do both?

If you choose to do both it is best to aerate first since the process produces a large plug which is very slow to disappear. The power rakes used in the thatching process will break up these plugs and allow the material to return to the soil.