Thatch is the matted decomposed layer of dead grass leaves, old runners and roots that builds up between the grass leaves and soil.
Gradually the thickening thatch layer will prevent the entry of air, water and fertiliser into the soil.
It can make your lawn look and feel spongy to walk on. We can sometimes encourage thatch because we initially like the extra soft feeling underfoot or we miss a mow or two over the wet season and mistakenly just keep lifting the mowing deck, instead of slowly bringing it back to the right height.
It can also be an indication that there is something wrong with the soil because it is not healthy enough to promote the decomposition of dead organic matter.
This could be cause by:
Thatch is undesirable because it brings the grass roots to the surface so that they are barely in the soil, making your lawn weak and vulnerable to disease, insects and our harsh growing environment (hot and humid summer, sometimes prolonged wet seasons, cold winter nights).
When the thatch layer does prevent water from reaching the soil, it renders any short frequent watering schedules useless. The soil will completely dry out and the grass roots have no alternative but to grow in the thatch.
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