CBX solves thatch build-up
A thatch layer develops in any situation where the accumulation rate of dead organic matter from the growing turf exceeds the rate at which it decomposes. Consequently, any cultural or environmental factor that promotes excessive shoot growth or impairs decomposition will encourage thatch accumulation. Thatch is composed primarily of a mixture of partially decomposed stems, roots, stolons and rhizomes, each of which varies in its resistance to decay. Leaves are the least resistant to decay and, contrary to popular belief, do not appreciably add to thatch accumulation. Resistance to decomposition increases in order through sclerified vascular strands of stems and leaf sheaths, stolons and rhizomes, roots, and nodes of stems and crown tissues, these being most resistant. Chemical analyses of thatch show an abundance of lignin, this being the most resistant to decomposition.
Fungi in the order Basidiomycete, the group of fungi that contain the familiar ‘fairy ring fungi’ and ‘mushroom or toadstool fungi’ are the primary decomposers of lignin. Cellulolytic fungi and bacteria, and many species of Ascomycetes and Fungi imperfect decompose cellulose and hemicelluloses that are intermediate in decay rate. Rapidly decomposed organic compounds such as sugar and starch that are present in large quantities in leaf tissue are quickly decomposed by numerous species of bacteria, sugar fungi and shadow yeasts, as well as by a range of soil macro-fauna.
Fibrous thatch usually overlies dry soil, the turf becoming very dry indeed and difficult to re-wet under drought conditions. It is most commonly found in acidic conditions. Spongy thatch is waterlogged throughout most of the year and is likely to smell strongly of decay and stagnation. It is yellow-brown in color with black streaks showing the activity of anaerobic bacteria. The underlying soil is often wet and compacted, and usually of clay with restricted drainage. A lack of earthworms will impair decomposition. They are major consumers of soil organic matter and their activities in soil mixing play a major part in increasing microorganism populations and enhancing organic matter decomposition. Their digestive tract contains large numbers of bacteria and these are deposited into the soil in their casts to continue the decomposition process. Decimation of an earthworm population will invariably result in an increase in thatch accumulation. Excessive nitrogen nutrition stimulates rapid shoot growth and shallow rooting and, therefore, encourages thatch accumulation. An excess of nitrogen will also create an unfavorable carbon/nitrogen ratio for decomposition of the organic residues. The optimum C/N ratio range for bacterial decomposition is 25:1 to 30:1 and ratios greater or lesser than this range will slow down the decomposition processes. Heavy applications of nitrogen, even if applied infrequently, can impair rooting and create a temporary upset in the carbon/nitrogen ratio. Surface applications of phosphorus can stimulate rooting within the thatch layer, thereby further aggravating the thatch accumulation rate.
Irrigation practices that stimulate rapid shoot growth will increase the thatch accumulation rate and excessive irrigation that maintains high moisture contents to the detriment of oxygen availability within the thatch layer will decrease the decomposition rates.
Extremely dry conditions, in stark contrast, can be equally detrimental. Although most bacteria and fungi are able to survive drought conditions, they require water to be active decomposers and extremely dry conditions in the thatch will reduce the decomposition rates. Additionally, lack of water can result in turf-grass drought stress, greater pest and disease damage, and an increase in thatch accumulation.
CBX stimulates activity amongst a broad range of biological life. When applied to the soil, CBX encourages natural recycling of organic matter, resulting in micro-tunnels similar to the activities of earthworms, just on a microscopic level. These micro-tunnels create a natural aerification process, allowing space for air and water to penetrate. CBX also increases the biological life of the soil thereby increases organic digestion and the reduction of thatch.