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Dethatching 101: All About Lawn Thatch

You’ve finally decided to take action to fix your lawn this year. But you’re wondering if it needs dethatching. What is thatch anyway, and is it a problem?

Thatch is the build-up of old grass roots and organic debris where the grass stems meet the soil. The photo below shows a layer of thatch measuring just over 1 inch. (Image adapted from the University of Maryland Extension ). Healthy lawns can have a thin layer of thatch (less than ½” thick) and still thrive. However, excess thatch gets in the way of water and nutrients reaching the soil and feeding the roots.


How do you know if you have too much thatch? To measure the thickness, first, find the brown layer just bel...

Lawns: "The Great Lawn Debate"

In an area dominated by mossy forests, it may seem like lawns require too much maintenance. It’s hard to believe that there were once 180,000 acres of native grasslands here. We’re down to 3% of their former glory, and while there are still a few grasslands to visit, our area is predominantly a lowland forest ecosystem in Western Washington.

When one thinks about beautiful, rolling, grassy fields they are so inviting:

An open expanse of sweeping brown grasslands swaying in the wind and low mountains.Source: The Nature Conservancy. Marathon Grasslands Preserve in Texas.

However, grasslands are very different from the lawns we cultivate in our yards. To highlight 2 monumental differences; in native grasslands the grass is allowed to live through its full cycle, and ...

Spring Lawns - "How much should I water?"

One of our top questions is, “How much should I water my lawn?” The short answer is: Lawns need 1 inch of water per week to stay green. That is a combined total of rainwater and water from your sprinkler. The general rule of thumb is to water infrequently, but deeply.

If you are happy with that answer, you can supplement your knowledge with an article from the Seattle Times, “How much water is too much for your lawn?”

If you really want the lowdown on watering lawn grass, the answer is… “Well, it depends.” It depends on 1) grass type, 2) site conditions, 3) soil texture and structure, 4) evaporation and 5) root depth.

Let’s start by combining #1 ...