Maintaining a lawn is not a walk in the park. However, it is more irritating when, after dispensing much energy to ensure wellness, only for you to have thatch invade your lawn.
This can be felt when you feel the grasses are spongey. If you are experiencing this and you are interested in learning how to get rid of thatch naturally, this article is precisely what you need.
What Is Thatch?
Thatch is a layer of dead and living organic matter just between the grass and the soil. This matter may comprise grass blades, rhizomes, and even stolons which are about to or at the stage of decomposing.
Thatch layers are beneficial to your lawn, like when mulch is added to lawns. This thatch layer can only be valuable to the lawns when it is 1cm to the soil.
Here are some of the benefits of thatch:
- The thatch layer helps to balance and maintain the temperature of the soil. This way, there is no excess heat or cold on the lawn
- During the hot months of the year, these thatch layers aid in no small way to retain the absorbed moisture, as we explained above
- In addition, thatch in the correct dept (1cm) fixes nutrients to the soil. Thereby enriching the soil with needed foods
Why Should You Get Rid Of Thatch?
As we noted earlier, thatch is advantageous for the lawn, provided it is not 1 inch thicker or 1cm long. However, for cases where the above stipulation is unavailable, the best thing to do is to get rid of the thatch layer.
Furthermore, thatch begins to build up when the lawn starts to develop more organic materials than it can decompose. And an indication that your grass is growing too much.
The growth could be fueled by excessive watering or too many nutrients like nitrogen.
The presence of thatch deprives the soil and lawn of essential nutrients like air and water, and they can not reach the soil as supposed. Thatch layer can also cause diseases to your lawn as insects are likely to build a dwelling place there.
How Can I Identify Thatch?
We formerly noted that thatch more than 1cm or 1 inch thicker is dangerous to your lawn. However, it is unwise to use a measuring tool like tape to check it.
The following methods will help you.
The number one means to ascertain the depth or how thick the thatch layer is, is to put your finger into the soil.
Once you stick your finger there, try checking the depth.
The first method we shared may be too complicated or less accurate. Hence, the most precise way to do that is to check if your lawn feels spongy. Once it feels spongey, the next step is to get rid of it.
How To Get Rid Of Thatch Naturally
We assume that you are clear on identifying thatch using the two methods above; the next thing is to know the right ways to eliminate the thatch.
In this section, we have outlined proven ways to get rid of thatch naturally. They are ;
- Use of lawnmower
- Manual raking
- Application of compost layer
- Application of compost tea
1. Use Of Lawn Mower
One of the natural ways is the use of a lawn mower. This entails reducing the height of the mowing. A reduction leads to a gradual decrease in the thatch layer in the lawn.
However, scalping of the lawn may occur if you move low too quickly, and this may cause the inability of the lawn to produce food for repair. This can be observed when you see brown-sheared patches.
Hence, we advise you to move low slowly. We also urge you not to remove one-third of the grass blade. Ensure that the grasses are even and your blade sharp.
Additionally, do these only during the spring. This is because your lawn will recover quickly from the low mows, unlike the cooler months.
2. Manual Raking
You can remove thatch from your lawn by using a rake. This may be stressful as elbow grease, and sweat will be needed, especially when you have not done that for a while.
The right and most appropriate time to take your lawn are during dry days. March to October is also ideal as this is the growing period. Light raking is only recommended for cool seasons.
There are different types of rakes use can use for this;
- The solid rake is also called a landscaping rake. This is an excellent rake as it is best for removing thatch, including moss.
- The traditional metal rake is next on our list. Though lighter, it is capable of detaching thatch, especially if the thatch is small. This particular rake will do less harm to your blades.
- The solid leaf rake is another excellent rake. It removes leaves and thatch from the lawn.
3. Application Of Compost Layer
Adding compost is another way to get rid of thatch naturally. You can add between 2kg and 4kg of compost.
Applying a compost layer is to help increase microbial activities, which further aids in the decomposition of organic materials.
However, to attain optimal performance, apply the compost regularly compost.
Talking about the most appropriate time to do this, you can appthe ly compost layer any time of the year but avoid doing so when there is frost or snow.
4. Application Of Compost Tea
The last natural method of getting rid of thatch on our list is compost tea.
Compost tea is a liquid solution obtained by leaving compost materials in water for long hours to extract nutrients from the materials.
The compost tea helps to break down the organic matter (thatch) between the law and the soil.
Applying compost tea every six weeks is commendable. You are likely to get your desired results after the second application.
How To Prevent Thatch Naturally
It is not enough to get rid of thatch without knowing how to prevent it from reoccurring. So we shall look at two natural ways to do that.
1. Do not Water Excessively
Adding too much water to your lawn is quite unhealthy. And persistence in such will lead to thatch.
Therefore, you should be observant enough to know when you have added the correct quantity of water. The appearance of puddles can ascertain this.
Once you notice puddles on your lawn, it shows you have overwatered the lawn.
2. Avoid Too Much Nitrogen
We gave a sneak peek of this at the beginning of this article.
Yes, nitrogen is essential for the wellness and growth of your lawn; however, too much of it can lead to thatch formation.
Hence, we advise you to add only a small quantity of it.
Does Thatch Turn Into Soil?
A thin layer of thatch benefits soil as it adds nutrients when it decomposes.
However, too much of it is dangerous to your lawn; and should be removed immediately using the methods we explained above.