The Q&A Archives: Lawn dethaching

Question: In Alaska, is it a good idea to dethach the lawn? We don't have the heat to cause clipping to rot and decompose.

Answer: Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter that occurs between the green matter and the soil surface. Excessive thatch (over 1/2 inch thick) creates a favorable environment for pests and disease, an unfavorable growing environment for grass roots, and can interfere with some lawn care practices.

The primary component of thatch is turfgrass stems and roots. It accumulates as these plant parts buildup faster than they breakdown. Thatch problems are due to a combination of biological, cultural, and environmental factors. If your lawn has excessive thatch, dethatching is recommended. To determine whether or not your lawn has excessive thatch, simply dig out a section and measure the amount of thatch. You can replace the section after you've examined it.

Best wishes with your lawn.

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