Liquid dethatcher is a foreign concept to some, but it is quickly becoming an embraced option in lawn care. The awesome thing to watch happening in modern day soil science and turf management is the constant growth of technology being added to the lawn maintenance arsenal. As seen with aeration, what was for a long time a mechanical process using spikes or a core aerator can now be done with a liquid product as simple as a fertilizer or weed control treatment. Today, more and more turf management professionals are updating their program to include a liquid dethatcher.
The thatch layer in a lawn is a blanket of organic material, typically dead grass, which builds up across the surface of the soil at the base of the turfgrass. Some amount of lawn thatch is usually a good thing for turf. Thatch acts as an insulator, regulating soil temperatures and holding moisture against the soil surface for longer periods of time. This insulates the roots as well as aids in the retention of accessible moisture and nutrients. However, there is always the possibility of having too much of a good thing.
Excess lawn thatch that may justify dethatching is most often caused by grass clippings being mulched back into the lawn while having a somewhat stagnant soil ecosystem. Mulching grass clippings is almost always a good thing because it allows the nutrients in those clippings to be returned to the soil and reabsorbed by your lawn, but if the natural soil system of microbes aren’t able to decompose the organic material being added to the thatch layer quickly enough, the thatch will continue to build to excess.
When the thatch layer of a lawn becomes too thick, it can smother the base of the plant and surface layer of the soil system. This reduces the amount of air flow through the base of the lawn as well as into the soil system. It also reduces the amount of water from irrigation and rainfall that can reach the soil and instead holds that moisture against the base of the turf. Between this reduced air flow and increased sogginess, the risk of fungal disease in the lawn such as brown patch is much greater. As a result, too thick thatch leads to a sick, unattractive lawn.
So what’s the fix? Typically, professionals and homeowners have resorted to dethatching with a power rake or a similar piece of equipment. Power raking pulls the thatch up to the surface where it is able to be collected and removed. This is effective in its intention in that it does clear away most of the lawn thatch build up. However, it does come at a cost. First, this process is very aggressive and can be stressful and even damaging to the lawn. Second, removing the thatch material is essentially robbing your lawn of potential nutrients that are valuable to soil health and fertility.
The solution to these issues that more and more homeowners and professionals alike are turning to is liquid dethatcher. These products, i.e. D-Thatch, are enzymatic and encourage increased microbial activity that resultantly composts dead organic material in the thatch layer more quickly. This rapid breakdown of organic matter creates a surge in soil fertility that often promotes visible increases in lawn quality and vigor as a result. Because of the mechanism of these products, they are best to apply in the summer unless being used to recover the lawn from sudden die off.
Products that do what a liquid dethatcher does are great for two reasons. First, they are mitigating the thickness of the thatch layer in the lawn, keeping turfgrass healthier and soil systems more naturally robust. This reduces the impact of fungus and similar problems during the hottest parts of the year. Second, liquid dethatcher is swiftly returning nutrients desirable in the lawn environment to the soil where they belong. Using a liquid dethatcher to break down lawn thatch is as good as a strong application of fertilizer.
Liquid dethatcher is a proven method of turf management that encourages a healthy, attractive lawn. As more and more companies are building this into their turf management programs, it is valuable to know what options are available in your area. Contact your local company like PPLM today to learn more about the modernized care of your lawn!