Lawn Care | Thatch

What is lawn thatch? It is the decaying organic matter, located between the soil and the grass plant. In other words, it is a sometimes thick layer of dead and living material, like dead roots, grass clippings and grass stems.

Thatch

Can be a problem sometimes because if the layer is too thick, it will not let water, fertilizer and oxygen penetrate into the soil. In organic lawns is not really an issue, because the microbiology in the soil will decompose this layer regularly. All the decayed materials will become rich nutrients for the plants to grow. This is why organic lawns don’t need to be de-thatched. I have never, in the past 12 years detached a lawn.

Thatch

Cross section of thatch in the soil

For the most part anything over 1/2″ of thatch, I would say that is a cause for a problem with your lawn. In chemical lawns, there is not enough microbiology to decompose all that organic matter, and de-thatching have to be done regularly. Organically, I would recommend do several things. The most important one is to bring the microbes back, and the best way to do it is by applying compost and compost tea. Compost brings texture, and compost tea brings the microbiology that will digest all that organic matter.

Once you have healthy soil, you will have healthy grass.

Some of the things it will happen with a chemical lawn is that you will have to remove the grass clippings from your lawn most of the times. Without the help from those beneficial microbes, the only way to fix the thatch problem is by using a de-thatcher. Organic lawns don’t really have much of this problem. If fact, it is encouraged to leave the grass clippings. It saves you time, because you don’t have to bag and dispose the clippings. And most important, it saves you money, because by not bagging the grass, you are putting everything back into the soil, and it serves as fertilizer.

So, this year. Do you want to continue a chemical program, and pay for services you really didn’t need? Or do you want to learn and follow an organic approach to lawn care?

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