Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 7:25 am
Location: Malaysia

Lawn Thatch and Related Matters

I'm a gardening newbie living in the tropics (Malaysia). I have about 100 sq feet of lawn which I laid down a month ago. I'm not exactly sure what type of grass it is, but the local nurseries call it Manilla or Phillipines grass.
Now, in order to match the theme of my flower beds, which I planted 'wild' English garden style, I had decided to let the grass grow equally wild (This is before I heard of a thing called thatch, mind you). So my lawn has been developing pretty well, but as a side effect, I realized that the dense leaves have been hiding a 1/2-inch layer of thatch.
I find the dishevelled look quite endearing, and as a plus, due to the denseness of the thatch, I have absolutely no weeds and almost never have to water the lawn. However, I realize that most people advocate periodic mowing and dethatching, so I was wondering what problems I am inviting by not maintaining the lawn. Will the layers of thatch pile one on top of the other to no end? Is it bad for lawn health in the long run? Is fertilizer burn more likely when the pellets sit in the thatch instead of on the ground? Any help appreciated. Thanks

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Well, I'm not totally up on the problems of thatching in the lawn other than it looks less "maintained" but, raking the lawn with a simple rake seems to be the answer to over thatching.

I don't think that you are inviting any problems by not maintaining the lawn. Grasses have been around for about 180 to 65 million years without any help from humans so, things will be fine.

To have a greener, healthier lawn: use sifted compost as fertilizer instead of synthetic fertilizer.

Also, thatch tends to develop when grass clippings are left to drop right on the lawn. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn is a good thing because it feeds the lawn but, raking should be employed to prevent over thatching.

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