thatch question!

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by bone1, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. bone1

    bone1 LawnSite Member
    from ga
    Posts: 202

    i did a search, but not much help! can someone explain what causes thatch? and what is the best way to avoid? i'm knew to all this but i think i have a thatch problem on my own lawn! thanks-brandon
     
  2. DISTURBEDSMR

    DISTURBEDSMR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    Why do you think you have a thatch problem? Is the real question
     
  3. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    What causes thatch? Many things can attribute to thatch build-up. Over fertilization and over watering are the top two. Using the wrong turf types for your area also don't help. Around here fescue does fine, but lawns that have been taken over by old types of bluegrasses usually end up with a really bad thatch layer.

    Of course, you need to look and determine if you really DO have thatch, or if you just have some dead grass on the surface. True thatch is dead root mass and stolons that form a thick (1/2 to 1 inch) almost impervious mat on the soil surface.
     
  4. bone1

    bone1 LawnSite Member
    from ga
    Posts: 202

    hey, thanks man! i'll post a pic for you tomorrow if it doesn't rain! oh the company that sprays my yard told me i had thatch.
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    Thatch is excessive growth and death of roots at the surface of the ground. This is an unnatural growth habit of grass.
    Grass does not choke itself off as it populates the ground, so there has to be an outside cause, to this common problem. Over fertilizing keeps the root growing at the surface and over watering keeps the roots at the surface.

    Here in the north we encourage roots to grow a little deeper both spring and fall. Withhold moisture and the quick fix nutrient during these times because it is cool enough for the plants to 'expand' without undue stress.
     
  6. Mark Bogart

    Mark Bogart LawnSite Member
    Posts: 174

    If you do have a thatch problem airefy the turf twice a year. Also cut back on the amount of N applied to the soil. Improve microbial activity by topdressing with a light layer of compost/sand mixture after airefying.
     
  7. Organic a go go

    Organic a go go LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    Smallaxe is right. Thatch isn't a condition its a symptom of poor maintenance practices. Excessive fertilizing puts the "root to shoot" balance out of whack so you get die off in the rhizome and over use of salt ferts kill off the biology in the soil so that it can't properly decompose organic matter.

    And lots of people who think they have thatch problem don't. If you've really got an issue then lots of times your lawn will feel cushy like walking across a carpet.
     
  8. Mark Bogart

    Mark Bogart LawnSite Member
    Posts: 174

  9. bone1

    bone1 LawnSite Member
    from ga
    Posts: 202

    thanks for all the info guys! all have been alot of help!
     
  10. bone1

    bone1 LawnSite Member
    from ga
    Posts: 202

    here's some pics! you guys think this is thatch? i don't know how to really tell if i have thatch. i have the weed man company fertilize my lawn, so i wouldn't think it had too much fertilizer. thanks for any help!
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