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What is lawn thatch?

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What is lawn thatch?

     What is thatch?

  Thatch is an organic layer in your lawn consisting of tight intermingled dead, dying and living roots, stems and leaves which is between the layer of grown grass and the soil below.  Thatch is not unusual. It is a normal part of growing grasses and is not a problem unless it gets to thick. You are more likely to have high amounts of thatch on a high maintenance lawn with lots of traffic.
Not all grasses in lawns produce thatch for example rye grass, though it is not one of the finest grasses but it is known for being hard wearing and it does not produce thatch.  A typical luxury lawn grass that will not contain any rye grass will be more susceptible to thatch and need scarifying but a hard wearing type lawn grass will contain rye grass with i high content and will be less likely to need scarifying.

     Is thatch damaging to your lawn?

  To much thatch is considered to be over 15mm in your lawn can restrict movement of water, air, fertilizer and other materials to the root so restricting turf growth. This can encourage the grasses to take root in the thatch which is not a good growing medium and can also harbor fungi which is damaging to the turf.
Conversely a little thatch around 5mm can be beneficial.  It is not think enough to hold back valuable nutrients from the soil and grass roots but is enough to insulate the soil from drying out from the effects of the wind and sun and also protect the crowns of the grass plant from damage.

     How to determine if you have a thatch problemb2ap3_thumbnail_Measuring-thatch.jpg

  The best way to find out if you have a problem with thatch in your lawn is to cut a small triangular section out of you lawn about 10cm deep. If there is a spongy layer of organic matter on the surface of the soil and when compressed it is 15mm thick it would be worth considering having your lawn scarified.  To find out more about scarifying please have a look at this blog article -  Last modified on
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