Thatch is the dead grass and organic matter that accumulates over time underneath the healthy grass blades. Thatch prevents fertilizer, water, and air from getting to the roots. If your lawn is not green, one of the major reasons can be thatch build-up. Soil is generally not present within the thatch layer and therefore holds very few nutrients. Most lawns require a thatch layer of between ½ to ¾ of an inch. This layer offers protection to the grass roots from the heat of the day. It also aids in reducing soil compaction in high traffic areas. When thatch becomes thicker than 1 inch, problems start to occur in the lawn. The thatch layer acts much like a sponge, absorbing water quickly and depriving the root system of moisture.
When the thatch layer becomes thicker than 1 inch, grass will try to utilize this area for its root system. Because thatch holds very few nutrients, the root system suffers. As the thickness increases, watering becomes increasingly difficult. Thatch acts like a sponge, absorbing most of the water being applied to the lawn, either from the sprinkler or rainfall. Ultimately, this leaves little for the root system of the grass to use. Thatch over 1 inch is also a great place for insects and rodents to nest in the lawn.
Deep Core Aeration is the best way to prevent thatch buildup. The aerator pulls 3-inch plugs from the ground. These holes allow water and air to reach deeper into your soil structure.