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Thatch is the layer organic matter often made up of stems and roots that have not decomposed yet. Some lawns are more prone to thatch build up than others. Thatch is a normal part of any lawn and to some degree can be regulated by the amount of water and fertiliser you apply. When thatch becomes excessive, the lawn may even begin to root into the thatch layer instead of the soil. This is a problem as thatch does not hold water or nutrients. Thatch often becomes hydrophobic and prevents water and nutrients reaching lawn roots.