Is this thatch???????

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by d16daily, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. d16daily

    d16daily LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    hello, just wondering if any of you specialists could give me some advice :waving:

    I'm a college kid, but I still enjoy taking care of the 'rents lawn. :weightlifter:
    Dad has been with ChemLawn for a while now, but he just pays the bill. So we have their services available if you recommend I take advantage of that. (I've read about something called core aeration??)

    anyways, this is what the lawn looks like up close. I see a kind of buildup of brown material

    I was using this

    and this is what I pulled out after 15 minutes


    also, for added kicks, here's a video of what I was doing for 15 minutes. I was gently raking, then kind of digging the rake in the grass and pulling straight up to exhume the brown material, then gently rake away again. let me know if I just ruined the lawn, or whatever advice the gurus of grass can throw my way. :cool2:


    thanks for any help!
  2. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 487

    Looks like you have some fungus starting by looking at the blades of grass there is a yellow tint at the top and bottom of some of the blades.

    1. What height are you cutting the grass at ?
    2. Do you aerate & how many times?
    3. Pull a core and see how deep the roots go
    4. I would cut the grass at 2" and aerate

    As far as thatch you pulled up a lot of dead grass but your best bet is to aerate so that your turf gets more oxygen and reaps the benefits of the weeds and feed applications that's just my 2cents.
  3. EVM

    EVM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    Yeah that is thatch but that lawn does not need thatching.
  4. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636


    Yep, I agree with DJ.

    I would just have it core aerated, a double pass. No need to de-thatch. And if it has been showing more brown than usual I agree, looks like a little fungal fight going on.

    What are your cutting and watering practices?

    Aeration should help resolve the thatch and fungus stuff.
  5. d16daily

    d16daily LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Thank you for the quick replies! The fungus thing sounds unusual, should I bring this up to ChemLawn?

    1. usually cut around 3 inches. 2nd highest setting on a 21" craftsman push
    2. don't believe we ever aerated to be honest :nono:
    3. what kinda tool would I use?

    I will contact ChemLawn and take your advice and try to schedule a core aeration, I believe they offer it.

    thanks your your help as well. hopefully I can get the yard core aerated by chemlawn

    I cut at least once a week on the second highest setting of a 21" crafsman, about 3in I would guess.

    I water pretty often with a sprinkler in the summer, about every other day I get it soaked for about 1 hour.

    how much water do you guys recommend?? and for each seasons
  6. EVM

    EVM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    There is nothing wrong with that lawn from the pictures I see. I live in Jersey so the temps have been cool, no brown patch. you are always going to have some brown sub surface material especially coming out of the hot summer seaso. I see no melting in those pics.
  7. d16daily

    d16daily LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    yeah, its actually worse than the pix look, maybe I can get clearer pix for you guys to decipher.

    but i pulled a huge trash bag of dead grass or whatever with the metal rake in not much time on a fraction of the yard
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Core aerate for what????????????
    No thatch problem , no noticable compaction problem. Wasting money problem is what I see.

    As winter approaches you will want to shorten those grass blades closer to 2.5" or so. That alone will do more to help your possible fungus problem than anything. You do water only early in the day - Correct?
  9. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    D16, quick lesson on thatch. Thatch is that organic layer between the growing grass and the mineral soil (dirt). It is usually composed of the runners, roots, rizomes and some top growth (leaves) Usually leaves will break up before they intergrate into the thatch layer. Roots, stems, and other growing parts are another deal. They are heavy in the product that is like hemp rope and do not break down easily. Over feeding and watering are the usual culprits to thatch growth.
    The best way to check for that is with a core sampler. If you do not have one take a big knife with you onto the lawn. You will be able to plug the lawn like a water melon. If you have hard soled boots like cowboy or work boots with a solid sole wear them. Walk in a heel first motion. That is having your heel hit the lawn first. If the lawn starts feeling soft like very good carpet stop and take a sample. A thickness of over .50 inch is trouble over 1 inch is serious problem. It will have to be removed if it measures more than .75 inch. Less like .50 inch you may be able to recover from by intense aeration. More than 12 holes per sq ft. the more the better. .75 and more is just too much and should be removed.
  10. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    Just to add to Bob's comment, the "carpet feel" test is appropriate for most grasses, and what he is suggesting is to use the test to decide where to take a sample to see if you have thatch. What I wanted to add is that in zoysia, the carpet feel is somewhat normal and may or may not indicate thatch. That said, warm season grasses can be very vulnerable to thatch, so careful monitoring is important.

Share This Page