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Avoid a Thatch Problem with Proper Watering

by Shannon Lee, All About Lawns Columnist

Just as with every lawn problem, there is no easy solution to the issue of excessive thatch. Though some thatch is necessary for a healthy lawn, more than about 1/2 inch of it can eventually lead to serious problems, including insect problems, drought stress, and a brown lawn.

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Proper Watering for Less Thatch

Contrary to popular belief, grass clippings do not lead to excess thatch. Grass clippings break down quickly and easily, providing even more nutrients for your lawn. The problem comes when the grass clippings lay on top of a thick layer of thatch, thus making it even more difficult for water to get to the roots.

If you have a significant amount of thatch on your lawn right now, it is best to handle lawn dethatching as soon as possible. Once that is done, the goal should be to promote a healthy amount of thatch without letting the yard get out of hand. The best way to do that is simple: It comes down to proper watering.

Shallow or infrequent watering doesn't get down to the roots of your lawn. Instead of digging deep into the ground, the grass begins growing shallow roots, and eventually your thatch problem arises again. However, keep in mind that overwatering can cause the same problems.

Deep watering, at least one inch across the entire lawn, can help you avoid lawn dethatching. Depending upon the weather and your climate, you may need to water every day. Not sure how much is enough? Use an empty tuna or cat food can as your handy gauge. Put it under the sprinkler and when the can is full, your lawn has just had an inch of water. Move the sprinklers until your entire lawn gets the same treatment.


About the Author
Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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