Managing Thatch Buildup


As we transition from summer to fall, one issue we notice annually is lawn damage due to fungi that are active in extreme temperatures. Diseases such as Red Thread, Dollar Spot and Summer Patch leave spots in your lawn that appear to be dead or dormant.

To combat this, most lawn enthusiasts resort to expensive chemical treatments. However, Garpiel Group recommends a more cultural method of care.

One way you might fend off these diseases is by managing the amount of thatch buildup in your lawn. Thatch is a tightly interwoven layer of living and dead tissue that exists between the green vegetation and soil surface. Its composition is primarily made up of stems, leaf sheaths and roots that are fairly resistant to decay. It’s important to note that a small amount of thatch actually improves the lawn’s wear tolerance. However, excessive thatch harbors disease organisms and insects, making the lawn more susceptible to disease and drought.

Excessive thatch buildup in your lawn is comparable to humans attempting to drink, eat or breathe through a sponge: You get very little of what you actually need!

To manage thatch buildup, we suggest vertical mowing, or power raking, your lawn between late August and early October. This is because grass grows more vigorously during this time and will recover quickly from any damage.

The addition of aeration will aid a lawn that drains poorly, which usually accumulates thatch faster than lawns with well-drained soils. Aeration promotes better moisture and air penetration into compacted soils, establishing a deeper and healthier root system, while also stimulating the microbial activity involved in decomposing thatch.

Contact Garpiel Group at (989) 797-4749 today for pricing on either, or both, of these treatments!