What Is Thatch?

Between green grass and the roots below is a layer of material known as thatch. This part of the lawn is composed of both living and dead grass shoots, roots and stems that clump together in a transitional zone above the soil. When turf produces organic material faster than it can decompose, the surplus of debris transforms into thatch. About a quarter of thatch contains a material known as lignin, which is resistant to decomposition from microorganisms. While leaf clippings wither away, lignin and other stubborn compounds remain in thatch. Thatch is harmless and even helpful in small amounts, but too much can cause problems for your lawn.

Does My Lawn Need Dethatching?

An easy way to tell if your lawn needs dethatching is by measuring the thatch layer with a ruler. If the layer is ½ to ¾ inches thick, there is no need to take action. This amount of thatch helps to cushion the soil from compaction, insulate the grass from extreme temperature swings, and slow water loss in dry conditions. When lawn thatch measures more than ¾ inches, dethatching becomes a necessity. This much thatch prevents sunlight from reaching lower parts of grass blades, blocks nutrients from reaching the soil and soaks up water, raising the risk of grass diseases. Another way to detect excessive thatch is to run your fingers through the turf — if there is too much resistance to do this effortlessly, thatch may be piling too high in your lawn.

How Does Lawn Dethatching Work?

Green Stuff uses professional dethatching equipment prepared to meet the unique needs of your lawn. Our primary dethatching tool is known as a vertical cutter, which features blades that lift thatch away from the soil. Typically these blades don’t dip more than a half-inch into the soil, protecting your grass roots from damage. Going over the lawn once with a vertical cutter will remove a majority of problematic thatch, but we go over the lawn multiple times to ensure a clean sweep. We take a methodical approach to our lawn dethatching services, which typically includes:

1. Preparation

Mowing the grass to the ideal length for dethatching

2. Precautions

Flagging sprinkler heads and other spots to avoid in the lawn

3. Set Up

Adjusting the cutting depth and blade spacing on the vertical cutter

4. Thatch Removal

Making several passes over the lawn to remove thatch

5. Finishing Touches

Watering & fertilizing grass following dethatching as necessary

Why Organic Lawn Care?

When you’re dethatching your lawn, it’s important to remove problematic debris rather than add new forms of it. While some chemical products claim to eliminate thatch from the grass, there is no more effective way to get rid of thatch than to physically remove it with specialized equipment. Not only is this the most thorough thatch removal method, it also is the most environmentally-friendly. Following a vertical cutter dethatching, our team leaves no harmful chemicals behind that could seep into the water supply. Our lawn dethatching services are a form of organic lawn care that won’t leave a destructive footprint.

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