Managing Thatch, Aeration & Overseeding

Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass blades, stems and roots that forms between the living grass shoots and the soil level. 

As long as thatch doesn't become too dense, it can insulate the soil against water loss, decrease compaction by cushioning the soil below, and protect the grass crowns from temperature swings.

When thatch becomes too thick, it can prevent water, fertilizer and applications from reaching the grass roots.  It can also block sunlight from the lower grass blades and weaken the lawn, and it can hold moisture against the grass blades, creating fungal and bacterial problems.

Thatch build-up can create an uneven lawn surface of high grass and scalped areas.  The best cure for thatch is to prevent buildup in the first place, and the best way to do this is through regular thatching of the lawn.

During aeration, a machine known as a core aerator pulls plugs of soil from the lawn to break up compacted soil and create more room for air, water and fertilizer to reach the roots. This results in expansion of the root systems for thicker, healthier grass.

Aeration removes thousands of small cores of soil 1” to 3” in length from your lawn. These cores “melt” back into the lawn after a few rainfalls, mixing with whatever thatch exists on your lawn. The holes created by aeration catch fertilizer and water. Turf roots naturally grow toward these growth pockets and thicken in the process. Aeration holes also relieve pressure from compacted soils, letting oxygen and water move more freely into the root zone.

All lawns, regardless of their condition, can benefit from some level of renovation every year or so. One of the best means of rejuvenating turf is to combine thatching, aerating, and seeding into one process known as lawn renovation.

Following up aeration and thatching with overseeding is a great way to thicken up a thin lawn. Good seed-to-soil contact is essential for seeding success, and the new grass seed will have an easier time growing in the holes left behind by aeration. Keep in mind that if your lawn has been seeded, the soil should be kept moist with light, frequent sprinklings until the new grass is well established.

Give us a call to get a free quote and get on the schedule for service -- you’ll be extremely happy with the results.

Jon Sweeney

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.