“What’s the deal with thatch?”


maryland lawn guys thatch

For some reason, in my cheesiest “Seinfeld” voice, I keep saying “What’s the deal with thatch?”


Well, enough Seinfeld, let’s get into thatch.  So what exactly is thatch?  The most common myth is thatch is grass clippings left on the lawn while mowing.  I can assure you, this is 100% falseGrass clippings break down into much needed nitrogen.

Thatch is actually a mixture of grass stems, roots, and shoots that cover the top layer of soil.  This mixture is built up when it grows faster than it can be broken down.  Since it’s all organic, it breaks down over time- much like grass clippings.  But when it grows faster than it can break down, a build up occurs.

So….is it good?  In small amounts, yes!!  It breaks down into nitrogen much like grass clippings.  Think ‘natural fertilizer’.  But when there is too much thatch, it can be bad.  Some common causes to promote too much thatch is the grass type, over fertilizing, acidic soil, and pesticides.  You’re probably thinking “well it seems everything causes thatch” and your pretty much right!  Even rough winters can cause a  build up because of too many dead grass stems/shoots.  We also find heavy thatch in new sod lawns.

Have no fear, your lawn will love a good dethatching.  It is highly recommended to dethatch your lawn once every few years (2 to 3).  There are a few methods from either raking by hand, renting a machine, or hiring a company.  Like most cases when renting a machine, you’ll find it cost just about the same to just hire a company to do it.  Between the hours put in on renting the machine and doing the work, as well as paying for the rental, the cost difference rather than hiring isn’t much.  Besides, the companies doing this type of work are the pros and know what they are doing.

So there you have it!  Seinfeld (and you) now know ‘what the deal to thatch’ is.