Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed and under-composed plant tissue. It accumulates above the soil surface and is composed of dead and living roots and stems. At excessive levels (greater than 1/2 inch) thatch impedes the movement of water and nutrients to the roots, and creates an environment suitable for pests and diseases to thrive. Lawn mower wheels also sink into thatch because it is soft and spongy. When the wheels sink, the mower blades are lowered and scalping can occur.
The best way to reduce thatch is by core aerating the lawn frequently. Aeration pulls small cores to the surface and physically removes thatch for faster decomposition and/or removal. Aeration also alleviates compaction and increases the movement of air, water and nutrients into the soil. This allows the turf to grow stronger and deeper roots.
Core aerating is part of our annual program and can be performed in the spring and fall. During the spring, the idea is to aerate areas that are shady and need help filling in before the leaves on the trees have a chance to fill out. In the fall, we recommend aerating the entire property with a major focus on the sunny areas. This helps to recover from the summer stresses as well as prepare the lawn for the upcoming winter season. We strongly recommend this service to be done every year and in heavily thatched lawns to be performed twice a year.