Remove the thatch monster, and your turf will be ready for anything.
You’re armed with new seeds, fertilizer, and plans for a fresh new lawn. Little did you know that thatch gobbles all of these up—including your gung-ho confidence. Fortunately, these tips will turn you into a grass-saving hero.
There’s no need to be ashamed. Every yard has it—including the Jones’. In fact, you’ve probably seen some yourself.
We’re talking about thatch, a layer of organic debris that rests just above the soil. These matted strands of decaying leaves and roots form naturally and even prevent evaporation. But when they accumulate beyond 1/2 an inch, you’ve got a problem.
At this point, you’re probably wondering if your lawn needs rescuing. After all, wouldn’t it be easier to toss some seeds on your lawn, sip a cold one, and call it a day?
We hear you. But trust us, the Johnny Appleseed approach just holds you back.
Here’s why you have to remove thatch first:
Seeds won’t sprout.
Since thatch forms above the soil, it prevents seedlings from getting any nutrients and water. Those that do sprout, perform poorly.
Poor root development.
Even if seeds penetrate the thatch layer, they’ll grow into thin, skimpy blades. With such shallow roots, they’ll suffer from drought during the summer.
You’ll have an uneven lawn.
It’s really difficult to mow over lumpy, snarled layers of thatch. Trust us, we know. Even worse, your yard will look like a rumpled, unmade bed. Not cool.
Less quality control.
If water has trouble penetrating the thatch layer, imagine how fertilizer will do! The same thing goes for other lawn treatments.
Like any villain, thatch gets worse over time. Soil microorganisms don’t like to eat lignin, one of the compounds found within the layer. As a result, thatch just grows faster and thicker.
At MowCow, we have a simple way of checking for thatch. It’s so easy, you can do it without any professional training whatsoever.
We call it the “Fingernail Test.” Drop to your knees, rake your hand over the lawn, and inspect your nails. If you don’t see any dirt, that means your turf is under siege.
But don’t worry, help is on the way!
Ready to take back your lawn? All you need is some grit, elbow grease, and a dethatcher.
For layers less than 1 inch deep, grab a rake. Feel free to call it a dethatcher if it makes you feel more imposing. Regardless, the sharp tines should help clear things up. Just rake normally; you should see hairy thatch rising to the surface with each stroke.
But if your turf has dense, aggressive bunches of thatch, you’ll need to get serious. A real dethatcher—also called a vertical cutter—slays organic matter with mechanized tines. What’s more, you can adjust the blades for precise control.
Not everyone’s up to manhandling a heavy dethatcher, even if it’s easy enough to rent one. You’ll also need a truck to haul it back to your house.
If you’d rather sit back, drink a lemonade, and watch us do the heavy lifting, no problem! Our yard care services will make your lawn a blank canvas, ready and primed for your next project.