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Step four: Thatch and Soil Compaction
is accumulated plant matter at the base of the grass plant that resists
decay. Compaction is when soil is packed down.
Both lead to an unhealthy lawn.
Thatch can build up over time in any lawn. It impedes water and air movement and is an ideal habitat for insect pests such as grubs seen to the right.
A layer of thatch thicker than 1/2 inch will limit the quality of your grass. Thatch can be controlled with equipment that aerates and dethatches turf. Top dressing with 1/4-inch of top soil or compost and reducing use of pesticides help too. Avoid spiked sandals; they not only don’t work, they lead to soil compaction!
Soil compaction restricts water movement, air movement and limits how deep grass roots can grow.
Soil compaction can be controlled by keeping foot and other traffic off the lawn when it is moist. Aerating twice a year--in spring and in fall–helps alleviate problems in already compacted lawns.
Turf aerators are available at your local tool rental retailer. Full-service lawn care professionals offer aeration as a service too.
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