5 Easy Ways to Prevent Thatch

A common problem in many lawns is a buildup of thatch.  Thatch is a condition that occurs when various types of dead organic matter such as grass clippings, roots and other plant material collect at the base of your lawn to form a dense compact layer.  Not only does thatch prevent key nutrients from reaching the soil and roots of your lawn, it can also facilitate lawn disease and insect problems.  Fortunately, there are some basic maintenance techniques that will help you prevent thatch in your lawn.

  1. Bag Your Grass: When mowing your grass, it’s a good idea to bag the clippings instead of leaving them in your lawn.  This can add more work, especially if you’re using a push mower, but the time you will save trying to break up thatch down the road will be worth it.
  2. Aerate: Aerating your lawn has many benefits, one of which is breaking up thatch.  The actual act of aeration will physically break up thatch to some extent.  However, the greater benefit is the improvement of soil quality it facilitates, which leads to soil that is better at decomposing thatch.
  3. Compost: Like aeration, adding compost to your lawn has a host of benefits.  Compost can greatly improve the quality of your soil, again making it more capable of decomposing that troublesome layer of thatch
  4. Rake: One of the components of thatch is plant matter such as leaves.  Regularly raking to prevent excess leaf buildup on your lawn will help remove at least one of the elements of this problem.
  5. Control pH: As we’ve mentioned, soil quality is a key factor in thatch prevention.  One factor in soil health is pH.  Soil should be slightly acidic, somewhere between 6.5 -7.0.  However, if it falls lower to being too acidic, you may need to apply lime to your lawn to raise the pH.  An appropriate soil pH is another necessary factor in the ability of soil to decompose thatch.