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Moisture in thatch will evaporate more quickly than moisture in soil, so water doesn't reach the soil. In addition, grass roots will begin to grow in the thatch layer, making the lawn less drought resistant.
This is why verti-cutting is considered the best method for preparing the soil for overseeding. A verticut slices grooves in the soil creating an area for the small grass seed to fall and wash when seeding. It is this contact with the soil that is so important. Simply spreading the seed on the crusted soil will result in poor germination and an uneven stand. The picture on the right shows a good example of the rows that have been cut by the verticut machine.
Thatch will also accumulate when the soil pH is either too high or too low, if the grass is cut infrequently, or when it is too tall, and when there is soil compaction. Core aeration is effective in managing lower amounts of thatch, but may not completely manage a lawn with thatch problems. Thatch that is less than 1/2'' deep is beneficial to the lawn because it shades and cools the turf. Thatch that is thicker than 1/2'' prevents water and fertilizer from penetrating the surface.
It also reduces pesticide effectiveness and can create a home for harmful insects and disease organisms. Lawns with heavy thatch have a spongy feel.
Verti-cutting or vertical mowing, is the process of mechanically removing thatch build up in your yard. Thatch is the layer of dead biomass (roots and stems) between the soil and green grass. It is important to know how thatch develops, in order to help maintain a healthy lawn. Grass with vigorous growth habits and lawns on a high fertility program build up thatch more frequently.