Everything to Know About Thatch

thatch

Lawn thatch is a term you may have heard thrown around, or maybe you’ve even seen it up close a few times, but how much do you truly know about it? The lawn care pros at Spring-Green have compiled a guide to help you get schooled up on thatch. Everything you need to know has been gathered up in this easy-to-read format so you can get your overview quickly and then return to your busy life. Of course, we’re here for you to help you with any and all your lawn care needs related to thatch or otherwise.

Lawn Thatch 101

So, What Exactly Is Thatch? Thatch is a mix of dead and living plant matter that typically forms at the base of your grass, right at the point where the grass stems meet the soil. Some popular types of grasses are more likely to experience thatch buildup than others. It’s common for grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, Bermudagrass, and creeping fescues to get thick thatch that requires dethatching. On the other hand, tall fescue or perennial ryegrass rarely have thatch problems.

What Causes Thatch? Normally, organic matter, such as small grass clippings or mulched leaves, breaks down quickly. However, sometimes these materials and others can go too slowly, causing a buildup layer that leads to thatch growth.

Should I Be Worried If I See Thatch in My Lawn? A common question homeowners have is whether thatch is good or bad for their grass or plants. The answer is – it depends. If the thatch layers grow beyond one inch of thickness, they become barriers to the health of your lawn and plant life. Thick thatch can block the needed water and fertilizer from reaching grass roots leaving your lawn and plants vulnerable to heat and stress. As you continue to water your thatch covered lawn, the irrigation can trap moisture, creating a breeding ground for disease and insects.

How Do I Get Rid of Thatch? If your lawn’s thatch has grown to over two inches of thickness, you may call in the professionals to get rid of it. Excessive thatch removal has to be done gently to avoid damage the roots of your grass. If your thatch has not gotten overly thick, you may be able to take care of it yourself.  You can dethatch your lawn in three ways:

  1. Dethatching Rakes – Manual dethatching rakes are one option to get rid of the thatch in your lawn. These special rakes have curved blades that can be used to dig into your lawn and pull up thatch. These are good for small dethatching areas and for general maintenance of small areas.
  • Power Rakes – A power rake is another option if you have a larger area to dethatch. Power rakes are similar to a push mower but have rotating devices that pull out the thatch. Power rakes are a good choice for lawns with thinner thatch layers and tough grass that can take the powerful removal of thatch.
  • Vertical Mowers – Verticutters, also referred to as a vertical mower, are a third option in the DIY thatch removal effort. They have vertical blades sharp enough to dig down through the thatch layer to pull out the thatch forcefully. The downside is they often pull out the grass as well. Verticutters are a good option if you are completely overhauling your lawn.
thatch raking

Can I Prevent Thatch from Popping Up? While there is no fool-proof way to prevent thatch from occurring, there are a few steps to take to prevent it.

  • Keeping an eye on your lawn’s soil pH balance, for example. Lawns with low soil pH are more prone to thatch.
  • Another common factor to thatch overgrowth is too much fertilizer or using products with too much pesticide.
  • One final tip is to monitor the thatch growth and deal with it at its beginning stages. If left too long, the thatch becomes harder to remove and the damage to the grass becomes more significant.

Are There Special Steps I Should Take After I Dethatch? When you finish your dethatching work, be sure to rake up all thatch debris and water your dethatched lawn thoroughly. This is also an ideal time to seed your lawn, now that you’ve cleared the space for new, healthy growth. As a preventative maintenance step, you can also start to test your soil to ensure its pH is at optimal levels.

Spring-Green, the lawn care leader since 1977, can help you determine the why, when and how around dethatching your lawn. We’ll help you get your lawn back on track and then provide the guidance to keep it there.  Count on our team of pros to help you enjoy a beautiful, healthy lawn – thatch-free.

Get in touch with a Spring-Green pro today.

7 Landscaping Mistakes That You Shouldn’t Fall For!

Extreme landscaping

Everyone is after a more beautiful lawn each year, so why not avoid simple mistakes that many make and help your lawn to become the envy of the neighborhood. Here are 7 typical landscaping mistakes to avoid this year.

  1. Not watering plants – as winter is upon us make sure that you don’t forget to water. Depending on the region in which you live, watering cannot be completely ignored. Fruit trees, hedges, shrubs and your lawn all need to be watered. Lack of watering will result in dehydration and /or disease.
  2. Manicuring your lawn to the extreme – We tend to get caught up in the immediate appearance of our yards and forget that extreme amounts of anything, can actually end up hurting rather than perfecting. Make sure to know your species of grass and adjust accordingly. In the end make sure you are staying consistent with your recommended manicuring requirements.
  3. Using low quality mulch – When it comes time to purchase mulch, many of us look for the best deal possible. This may seem like a great idea at the time, but can actually end up as a nightmare when all is said and done. Poor quality mulch can bring disease and pests into your plants, with the possibility of spreading to your lawn. Make sure to buy quality mulch from a trusted supplier to avoid any headaches down the road.
  4. Not raking your yard – This always seems to be the dreaded chore each year and ends up getting put on the back burner. However putting it off could cause seriously damage. When raking is neglected, fungus and mold are much more likely to accumulate when it snows. Removing the leaves after the snow has arrived becomes and difficult task and can end up ruining your lawn.
    raking leaves
  5. Avoiding minor pest issues – it’s easy to do, but should definitely not be ignored. As soon as you notice a minor pest issue act quickly. Pest problems usually just get worse over time and become a lot more difficult to get rid of.
  6. Not stocking up on yard supplies – as fall approaches it becomes the perfect time to stock up on yard supplies. This is when you see great deals and discounts on tools, soil, pots, seeds and more. Spend in the fall to save more in the spring.
  7. Delay spring plantingStart your planting early. When your planting gets delayed, it gives your new plants less time to mature and grow.

Make sure your yard is set up for success. Avoid these 7 landscaping mistakes that always seem to get the best of us and make your landscape stand out from the rest. Share in the comments below about landscaping mistakes you have made and how you avoid them.

5 Gift Ideas for Gardeners and Lawn Lovers This Holiday

5 holiday gifts for lawn lovers

The season of giving is upon us. It’s the time of year that we spend hours combing through online shops and visiting our favorite superstores to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones. But what do you get that gardener or lawn-lover on your list? I can assure you that I have collected a number of items over the years that have filled my garage to its capacity, but I still enjoy receiving a unique lawn accessory as a gift.

Here are a few not-so-common gift ideas for the gardener or lawn-lover in your life.

Edger

There are many different kinds of edging tools out there. You can go the old-fashioned route and get a manual push edger which has a star-shaped cutting blade that you push forward on one or two wheels lining up to the side. Or you can go all out and purchase an electric or gas-powered version, and although these are very fancy and nice, unless there is a lot of edging to do every week, these may be a little excessive. If you’re looking for similar results without the cost, you can try a string line trimmer, but the manual push edger does provide a more finished look to the lawn edges.

manual push edger with star-shaped cutting blade

Good quality lawn rake

When it comes to gift ideas, gardeners and lawn lovers always appreciate a good lawn rake, which comes in handy for raking leaves in the fall or cleaning up a lawn that may have too many clippings left on it. I prefer the 30 or 33-inch rake. Nowadays, most rakes are made out of plastic and are somewhat pliable. There is no advantage to using a rake made out of bamboo, outside of the material being a renewable source. I have used bamboo in the past and it worked, but the tines seem to break easier and they are more difficult to find.

Unless you are in the mood for a good workout, avoid choosing a thatching rake for a gift. These rakes are designed to pull out dead grass and thatch out of a lawn. I have seen many thatching rakes hanging in garages that have rarely been used. Raking out the dead grass and thatch is a difficult task, even when using a gas-powered de-thatcher. Plus, it is easy to damage a lawn if you de-thatch too much.

If you use a lawn maintenance service, most of these items are unnecessary. If the person for whom you are buying a gift for is a gardener, stick to some good quality hand tools or even garden art.

Bird feeder or bath

Bird feeders or bird baths make fantastic gifts for gardeners and lawn enthusiasts. It’s easy to find these kinds of garden tools online and from many different sources. I recommend Gardener’s Supply Company—they may be a little more expensive, but the quality is consistently great.

Garden tote

This one is great! I got a Gardener’s Hollow Leg Tote once as a gift and I love it. It is basically a bag that you strap to your waist to use when pulling weeds, trimming shrubs, or dead heading perennials. I use this a lot and it would make a great gift.

GardenerBag_GiftsForLawnLovers

Gardening book

Gardening books make great gifts as well. There are so many versions that it makes it difficult to recommend just one, but my favorite is Crockett’s Victory Garden by James Underwood Crockett. It has been around since 1977, but the information and recommendations are reliable and practical.

Hopefully these ideas help you when deciding what to get the lawn-lover in your life this holiday season. If you decide on something else, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Good luck!