How to deal with lawn thatch

Is your lawn springy underfoot? It could be lawn thatch.

Have you ever been out walking in your garden and felt a spring in your step that isn’t just the result of a good mood? You’re not imagining things. Lawns that feel spongy when walked on are a result of excess lawn thatch formed by a build-up of dead plant materials.

But don’t worry, there is no need to panic. Lawn thatch is very common and will likely affect all lawns at some point in their life. However, this is not to say it can be ignored. In fact, lawn thatch needs to be treated as quickly and effectively as possible, as it can have severe consequences for the health of the grass plant that makes up your lawn.

What are the effects of lawn thatch?

The most noticeable result of lawn thatch is the spongy effect it has on the lawn. But the biggest impact is when the grass thatch is so thick that the grassroots are unable to penetrate the soil. The natural build-up of thatch over an extended period can reduce the ability that your grass plant has of getting the proper water and air, and the nutrients it needs from fertilisation. This can choke out the grass plant, increasing the spongy quality and resulting in inferior grass texture, quality and appearance and meaning that your lawn will not wear well or cope with drought conditions. So, to keep your lawn healthy, you should take the proper action as soon as you identify an excessive build-up of thatch.

Preventative measures against lawn thatch

To avoid an excessive thatch layer on your lawn from developing, there are some preventative measures that you can take. One such way is through the use of a balanced fertiliser application programme. If the nutrients applied to your lawn are wrong or if the balance of applications is incorrect, then it can have the effect of making the upper soil structure sour. This creates what is known as an anaerobic layer. These layers reducedrainage and are void of air, which allows for the thatch to form on the surface. To avoid this, be sure to follow a programme of proper and regular fertilisation to make sure that your lawn is getting the proper nutrients to grow healthily without developing a thick thatch layer.

How to get rid of lawn thatch

If your lawn is suffering from an excessive thatch layer, the best solution is scarification. This is a mechanical lawn care process that can be carried out at the beginning of the growing seasons of Spring and early Autumn. Scarification removes organic matter like thatch, straggly lateral growth, and moss from around the base of the grass plant, leaving you with a far healthier, lawn that will look and feel better, and stay protected against harsher weather conditions like drought.

Our TruGreen professional lawn care technicians ensure to take care of your lawn when carrying out the sometimes-harsh process of scarification. Following scarification to remove excessive lawn thatch, we will always help to once again facilitate root penetration within your grass plant through the process of aeration. This mechanical process will allow for improved air movement and distribution of nutrients within the soil, as well as better pore space, drainage and irrigation so that your lawn can bounce back after having its airflow restricted by lawn thatch.

How TruGreen helps with the recovery

We also endeavour to remove as few healthy plants as possible during scarification, but to properly recover from scarification, your lawn may require overseeding. At TruGreen, over 35 years of experience as the world’s biggest lawn care company, and our free 14-point analysis of your lawn means that we will choose the best professional seed mixture for your lawn so that it comes back greener and healthier than ever.

Both scarification and aeration are ideally carried out during the spring ahead of the prime growing season. So, if you think that you may need our scarification or aeration services, be sure to get in touch as soon as you can and book your free 14-point lawn analysis by finding your nearest TruGreen business today.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer