Dethatching

What is thatch?
Thatch is a layer of dead roots and stems that is located between the grass and the soil. A thin layer, less than ¼ inch, is not an issue. When it is thicker, it becomes a major problem.

The most common place we find thatch on sports fields is from new sod installation. Older sod, that which is perhaps two years old when harvested, can easily have more than a ½ inch of thatch. 

Why is it a problem?
Excessive thatch creates a barrier to water infiltration (negatively affecting drainage and water penetration to the root zone), nutrient and air exchange, and inhibits roots from moving down through the soil.  It can also be a breeding ground for turf insects. 

Solution:
Removal of thatch is achieved through a combination of 2 methods: topdressing and dethatching. Dethatching is removal by physical means, where a machine with a series of vertical blades slices into the thatch and lifts out the dead material, leaving behind the living grass. The more times this is done, the more thatch that is removed. 

Dethatching will lift a significant amount of dead material to the surface which then has to be removed either by vacuuming or raking. Since dethatching can put stress on the living turf we recommend a fertilizer application following the process, the fertilizer will help restore and invigorate the remaining turf.  

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