Preventing Thatch

As we recommend many times in these sections about lawn care, the most important step you take each year is to add some organic matter, called mulching, to the lawn. This mulch is primarily to feed the critters in the soil food web, but simultaneously it prevents thatch from developing past about 1/4 of an inch; an acceptable le


Mulching is sometimes referred to as "topdressing". In either case, you periodically rake a thin (1/8 to 1/4 inch) layer of peat moss or finely chopped leaves over the turf so it falls down among grass foliage, accelerates thatch breakdown by introducing more microorganisms and organic matter to the thatch layer. Composted municipal sludge and compost are also suitable topdressings. So are the finely chopped leaves from a mulching mower that is run over a leaf-strewn lawn in the fall. 
Topdress immediately after aerating or dethatching. Avoid burying the grass with too much topdressing material, which retards growth. After topdressing, at least ¾ of the grass plant should remain exposed to sunlight.

Tip: "Don’t buy a problem.” Check sod for an overly thick thatch layer before purchase for patching and renovating the lawn. 


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