How To Fix Spongy Lawn

The beginning of spring usually means warm cozy weather, days that are full of sunshine and, in most instances, the beginning of growth in your lawn. You might start noticing that your lawn looks and feels like a carpet as you walk through it.

Nothing supersedes the feeling of soft grass between your toes. However, this sensational experience can be turned into something else when the lawn is spongy.

Most of the time, you might find yourself asking the question – why is my lawn spongy, and how to fix spongy lawn?

If you happen to have a beautiful grass lawn that is comfy beneath your heels and feels spongy and mushy, then your grassroots level is pretty shallow, and the grass is raking up loosely on a topsoil layer known as the thatch layer.

Every grass lawn has a thatch base; however, some grass lawn types have a thicker thatch base than others. And when the thatch layer becomes so dense, complications start to arise.

A fluffy or squishy lawn is a typical symptom of an overly thick thatch layer. The spongy stuff that makes up the thatch layer usually traps moisture and nutrients on top of the soil, making the grass vulnerable to rot, erosion, and nutrient deficiencies.

Why Is Your Lawn Spongy And Squishy?

In most cases, the excessive pile-up of aged and decaying grass materials is usually the source of why your lawn is fluffy and spongy.

When dead grass on your lawn piles up faster than it decomposes, a new layer is formed, making it pretty hard for the grass root system to reach the anchor soil.

Lawn and garden professionals usually refer to this as a thatch. And you can manage this regularly using a  thatch remover or, in some instances, you need to apply a liquid thatch remover that functions by energizing the micro-organisms that generally feed the debris and restore it all to the soil.

Why Is Spongy And Squishy Grass Bad For Your Lawn?

Although it feels good walking on a spongy or squishy lawn, it can easily result in numerous problems for your lawn due to the reduced grass’s ability to get water, nutrients, and oxygen from the soil.

If you have not integrated dethatching into your seasonal grass maintenance plan, it would be a good thing to do so and reap the benefits that come with thatching your lawn.

What Is the Cause of Squishy or Spongy Lawns?

So your lawn sinks when walking on it, and you are wondering what could be the problem or what is causing this weird effect. Below is a list of what causes soft spots in your lawn.

  • The most common cause of spongy or squishy lawn is too much thatch pile up on the soil’s surface caused by dead turf and other lawn debris.
  • Excessive watering or rainfall has the potential of settling in one area.
  • Soils with high clay density that can resist water drainage
  • flawed drainage system
  • uneven areas in your lawn that can collect water.

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What Damage Does Thatch Pile Up Cause?

Generally, dense thatch pile-ups leave the grass spongy and affect the overall growth rate of the grass and other plants. Check out different problems caused by a thick thatch.

  • Thick thatch build-up usually prevents water from penetrating and reaching the soil. This is usually the underlying cause of lawn owners experiencing dead grass during summer, despite constant watering the lawn.
  • Thatch build-up will also reduce the soil’s ability to dry out. The moisture that is lucky to get through the thatch layer is trapped in one place and can cause infections.
  • Grass becomes weak and unhealthy as the thatch layer prevents fertilizers from reaching the soil.
  • Restricted airflow and increased carbon dioxide under the thatch pile affect the grass growth rate.

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How to Fix Spongy Lawn

The first step in tackling a spongy or squishy lawn is to scrape away or dethatch excess thatch. After this, you can objectively evaluate whether you have other issues related to soil content or drainage issues that might cause soft spots in your lawn.

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Remove The Excess Thatch

Overly, dethatching is best done in early fall or late summer when the grass has slowed down from the rapid growth widely experienced in late spring and early summer. Using a heavy rack, loosen and clear the top coat of the thatch from the grass.

It is ok to be rough and scrape the grass vigorously to remove both dying and decaying materials. If the thatch pile up is thicker than half an inch, it’s prudent to use a dethatching machine instead of a rake.

Rake the entire lawn from one direction then to the same from the opposite side. I.e., from left to right, then once done, you can now run from right to left.

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What If The Lawn Is Spongy But Not Because Of Thatch Pile Up?

1.      Add or Repair Your Drainage Line

If you suspect your lawn sponginess is caused by excess water on your lawn. You can opt to add a new drainage line that will redirect any excess water away from the lawn.

This will help prevent your lawn from turning into a murky bog and sinking when walking on it.

2.      Aerate Your Grass Lawn

If you have dethatched your grass and fixed any possible drainage problems, but you still have a spongy and squishy grass lawn, you should consider aerating your lawn. The most significant advantage of lawn aeration is that it increases soil drainage.

This will allow the soil to dry out between waterings and restore the desired firmness—aeration helps improve soil drainage while also providing nutrients and oxygen to the grass’s root areas.

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Take Away

Why is your grass lawn spongy? Several factors may be the root cause of this spongy mess in your otherwise beautiful lawn.

Even though a spongy or squishy lawn might seem comfortable, allowing your lawn to stay spongy can result in a boggy mess, especially during rainy seasons.

Dethatch your lawn, improve soil drainage and ensure good water flow with a suitable drain line. All this will protect your lawn from being soggy and spongy when you walk on.

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  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care. K Beatrice

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