A thin layer of thatch, the layer of dead and decaying plant tissue located between the soil surface and the green vegetation, is beneficial because it reduces soil compaction and increase wear tolerance. However a thatch layer that exceeds 1/2 inch prevents air, light, nutrients and water from reaching the grass's root zone. Excessive thatch also provides an ideal breading ground for harmful insects and disease organisms. Dethatching is the process of removing the excess layer of thatch so that the grass can once again receive the needed air, water and nutrients that are required to produce a healthy, thus drought resistant, lawn. Both Spring and Fall are idea times for this procedure.
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