Best Lawn Dethatchers Of 2021
What is a lawn dethatcher? Its simply an outdoor equipment for removing thatch from your lawn. In its simplest form, it looks like a garden rake with springy blades called tines, that can be pulled through your lawn, combing through it to remove thatch embedded between the grass line and the soil.
What is Thatch and why should you dethatch your lawn?
Thatch is the light brown layer that builds up over time between your lawn grasses and the soil. Its largely made up of decaying organic matter like dead and compressed grass, leaves, stem, runners and roots.
Moderate amounts of it is okay, but when it has built up over a few years without being checked it starts preventing air and the important nutrients needed for your grass to grow properly.
It even harbours insects and pests which further harms and inhibit the growth of your lawn.
When should you dethatch your lawn?
Lawn dethatching is not something that should be done regularly like mowing, but if your turf starts showing the following signs, then theres likely too much thatch that needs to be removed.
If you notice the signs above, the necessary thing for you to do is to use a lawn dethatcher to remove the thick layer of thatch inhibiting the growth of your turf.
How can you prevent thatch from building up too fast?
Why Do Most Lawns Not Need Mechanical Thatch Removal
If a lawn is building thatch faster than the microbes can break it down, this indicates that the lawn is lacking beneficial microbes. The cure to a thatch problem is not physical removal of the thatch, but by managing thatch in a lawn by stopping the improper cultural practices that are killing microbes in the soil. The cure to preventing and curing a thatch problem isnt mechanical removal of the dead grass, instead it is to stimulate beneficial microbial activity in the soil.
99.99%+ of lawns DO NOT need to have the thatch removed via power raking or vertical cutting. Please contact your local lawn care expert before scheduling or performing a power rake service.
Thatch that is 1/2 inch or less is considered normal. More than 3/4 inch of thatch can be a major problem for the lawn.
Thatch And Compaction: 2 Problems You Can Fix
Over time, little bits and pieces of grass die and gather just above the soil. This is called thatch. A little bit of thatch can be beneficial. It’s organic material that is broken down by microbes in the soil. But sometimes, thatch builds up too fast for natural processes to break it down. It forms a barrier, keeping moisture and air from going where your grass needs it. A half-inch or more of thatch can weaken your lawn. You have 2 ways to remove it: dethatching and aerating.
You May Like: Where To Buy Revive Lawn Treatment
Should I Aerate Or Dethatch My Lawn First
Both aerating and dethatching are important practices when it comes to proper lawn care. It helps with root penetration and easy flow of air, water, and nutrients in the core for better root growth. So, should you aerate or dethatch?
If your soil is healthy with enough microbial activity, you may only need to dethatch once a season and probably aerate once or twice a year depending on the type of soil you have.
If youre growing grass in sandy soil, youll need to aerate just once per season, but if it is clay soil, twice a season may be the best option for you.
When To Vertical Mow
The best time for vertical mowing is usually between late August and early October, depending on your location, because grass is growing vigorously then and should recover quickly from any damage. In addition, few weed seeds germinate at that time. A light application of fertilizer and regular watering will speed the lawns recovery after vertical mowing.
Sam Bauer, Extension educator, Deborah Brown and Don Taylor
Reviewed in 2018
Don’t Miss: What Mowers Does Mtd Make
Helps Prevent Pests And Disease
A thick layer of thatch can be a playground for undesirables in your lawn, and can encourage pests and disease to thrive.
Remove the chance for such things to take hold, and your lawn will be much healthier for it.
At the same time, it will also promote desirable plant growth, which can be a godsend when it comes to choking out weeds and keeping unwanted vegetation at bay.
We Recommend Thatching Your Lawn Once Each Year The Best Time Of Year For This Is Spring After Debris Builds Up Over Winter
Pro tip: Try to avoid dethatching in the summer – this can destroy the root zone.
How do I dethatch my lawn?
Since 2007, Green Meadow Lawn Care has provided homeowners throughout the greater Tolland, Connecticut area with premium fertilization programs, tick control, mosquito management, seeding & aeration and tree & shrub care.
To speak to our Customer Service Manager, please call Dave with any questions. Dave has been in the industry for 30 years and is always happy to help with his expert advice.
Read Also: Where Are Cub Cadet Lawn Mowers Made
Some Lawn Thatch Is Good Of An Inch Or Less Is A Normal Amount Of Thatch
- Thatch buildup occurs when the microbes in the soil cannot break down the organic matter as fast as it accumulates. This typically only occurs when there is a lack of microbial activity in the soil.
- Excessive thatch is caused by the absence of beneficial microbial activity.
- Excessive thatch is often caused by improper watering practices usually too much or too frequent lawn watering.
- If the thatch layer is greater than ¾ of an inch then power raking is a tool that can be used to help manage the thatch. We only recommend power raking a lawn if the grass is still dormant and only in severe thatch problem lawns.
- Power raking should never be performed after the lawn greens-up. This can cause severe damage to a lawn. Typically power raking is performed in early March.
- Fast release nitrogen sources can stimulate thatch buildup.
- Aeration or double aeration are excellent for stimulating air movement in soils and will help prevent thatch buildup in lawns.
This core sample shows a thatch layer of 1 inch. This lawn is suffering from a severe thatch problem that was caused by improper watering and fertilization practices.
Tools For Dethatching The Lawn
Just as in cooking, have all of your tools and materials ready to go before starting, Mann says. The machine is going to bring up much more material than you might think. Have a nice big leaf rake to , a good-sized wheelbarrow to transport it and a suitable place to dump it on your property.
And, Mann adds, Dont enter this thatch into the waste stream if at all possible. It doesnt decompose quickly and we certainly want to be responsible with yard waste.
Note: Run the dethatching machine over your yard at least three times, in different directions each time. The machine should churn up roughly the same volume of organic debris each time you pass.
Don’t Miss: How To Kill Weeds In Your Lawn Naturally
Cleaning Up Reseeding After Dethatching
Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, its a disruptive process to say the least, and your lawn is going to need a Band-Aid and some time to heal.
The first thing to do after dethatching is to remove the piles of thatch from your yard.
After dethatching, seed the lawn and consider topdressing. If youve taken plugs of soil, that soil can be left as a topdressing. But the planty thatch material should be removed.
Topdressing, he said, could give the existing root system a boost. It can also be a form of weed control, filling those gaps before weeds have a chance to take hold.
Within a month, you should see some results, Callahan said, depending on the weather.
Hot, dry weather could slow it down, but nice weather will get that new grass coming up uniform and vigorous in about a week, he said. In no time, it will look like a new lawn.
Why Does Thatch Develop
A thin layer of thatch is healthy for your lawn. But a thick layer can cause significant damage. Normally, organic matter should decompose at about the same rate that it builds up. This leaves your lawn in balance and prevents a thick layer of thatch. But some conditions may throw off that balance.
One factor in thatch growth is the health and condition of your soil. In a healthy lawn, microbes in the soil help break down organic matter before it can pile up into a thick thatch layer. But when the soil is dead or sterile, there arent enough microbes to break down the growing layer of organic matter, and the thatch layer thickens. Poor pH balance can contribute to poor soil health that leads to thatch buildup. If soil pH is too low, it may be necessary to add lime. Soil that is too acidic is a poor environment for microbes. Soil can also be too alkaline, with a high pH. The ideal pH for turf growth is about 6.8, or slightly acidic. Anything higher or lower than that will lead to a less healthy lawn.
Cultural practices can also contribute to thatch growth. Over-fertilizing with a high-nitrogen fertilizer and overwatering can cause the grass to grow too quickly. As the grass grows faster than the microbes can break down the thatch layer, it thickens.
Also Check: Keeping Grass Green In Summer
How To Manage Thatch Buildup In A Lawn
Start by stimulating beneficial microbial activity by implementing proper lawn watering practices, lawn mowing practices, core aeration and lawn fertilization.
Power raking is a tool that can be used as a last resort to manage a major thatch problem, but power raking is not the cure of the thatch problem. Power raking or vertical cutting is only recommended in the most severe cases of thatch and only when performed prior to the lawn coming out of dormancy.
Power Rake, but only if it is before the lawn has greened-up in the spring. This lawn care service is rarely necessary
Double Aeration to bring air into the soil.
Sprinkler Audit to fix any improper lawn watering practices. Make sure to follow the principles of the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique.
Stop all fast release nitrogen, synthetic fertilizer, herbicide or fungicide applications.
Apply Synergy with Corn Gluten Meal and Humate Soil Conditioner to stimulate beneficial microbial activity.
Following the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique is the best way to reduce thatch buildup.
What Are The Downsides To Dethatching
Its important to remember that thatch isnt always bad, and dethatching at the wrong time or when its not necessary will cause you just as many problems as not dethatching at all.
Thatch can help protect the lawn from foot traffic, lawnmower use, and strong sunlight, and provides a nice layer of insulation in colder temperatures.
As such, you shouldnt strip your lawn of this layer too much and allow nature to take its course when and where possible, breaking down the layer of thatch naturally and in its own time.
Over dethatching or hacking at the lawn will damage the existing roots, and youll end up doing more harm than good as you pull up great chunks of turf.
Take it easy, tiger everything in moderation.
Recommended Reading: How To Fix Dead Patches In Lawn
Aerating Vs Dethatching: What’s Best For My Lawn In Cincinnati Dayton Oh Or N Kentucky
You value a nice lawn but youre facing challenges when it comes to keeping your lawn looking its best. Whether your lawn isnt as green as it could be or it seems to be thinning out, youre frustrated that you cant pinpoint the issue. Youve heard of a lawn problem called thatch and youre wondering if that may be a cause behind some of your problems.
Thatch isnt necessarily easy to spot, but you might recognize you have it by the spongy feel to your lawn when you walk across it. You might suspect that you have thatch problem but youre not quite sure of the best way to go about getting rid of it. Youve heard of lawn aeration services as well as lawn dethatching services but youre just not sure which is the best approach. Making the best choice for your lawn is imperative so that the solution works. But where can you get expert guidance?
If youre wondering about aeration vs dethatching, and you want to know whats best for your lawn, then learning the facts will help you make the best decision. First and foremost, you need to understand exactly what thatch is before you aim to tackle it.
How To Dethatch Your Lawn
Dethatching is the easy option because it is accomplished simply by using a rake. Push the rake tines deeply down through the grass, so that they reach the thatch layer that lies beneath. If you have a cool-season grass, you can be dethatching your lawn at the same time as you rake it for other reasons. Here is why:
Cool-season grasses are coming into their prime time for growth in early spring and in early fall. Dethatching them at these times is ideal because they will recover more quickly at these times from the stress of being dethatched. These times just happen to coincide when you will be raking to clean up the lawn in early spring and raking leaves off the lawn in the fall.
It does not work out quite so conveniently for homeowners with warm-season grasses. Dethatch lawns composed of warm-season grasses in late spring, which is just when they are “coming into their own” and will recuperate fastest from undergoing dethatching.
A convex or “dethatching” rake is better than a regular leaf rake for dethatching a lawn. And a so-called “power rake,” which can be rented from a rental center, is the best rake of all. But do not stress over the type of rake you use. Any deep raking that you do is better than nothing, especially if you faithfully rake every year.
Read Also: How To Kill Wild Violet Weeds In Lawn
Easy Ways To Dethatch Your Lawn
Have you noticed an excessive build-up of dead organic matter within the profile of your grass? Does your lawn feel spongy to walk on? Or does it look worse after a mow with circular spots of dry frayed grass?
If this is the case, its highly likely you have thatch.
Lawn thatching is a common problem that can result from uneven water penetration, insufficient mowing or neglecting to maintain your instant turf.
In this blog we give you some helpful tips to restore your grass, so its lush and green for the long-term.
Read on to discover why, when, and how to dethatch your lawn.
Should I Aerate Or Dethatch First
It is best to dethatch first before aerating your lawn. This way, youll remove the excess debris and promote healthy root development. Aerating is best done when theres the problem of compaction. Both dethatching and aerating your lawn will improve air, nutrient, and water penetration into the root zone of your grass.
- Thatch is the main problem these two processes address. It occurs when your turf accumulates too much dead organic matter than can be broken down.
- It starts as a shallow layer of debris that makes your lawn feel spongy. If your lawn does not have enough microbial activity to break down the organic matter, thatch buildup occurs.
- Soon enough, your lawn will start suffering from thinning and slow growth due to poor water, air, and nutrient penetration through the thick core of thatch.
However, if the amount of thatch is low you can just remove it using a dethatching tool or a power rake.
You May Like: Violet Killer
Scarifying Vs Dethatching: What Is The Difference
We may earn an affiliate commission for purchases using our links . Learn More.
Are you unsure of the difference between a scarifier vs. dethatcher?
Both of these tools produce distinct results and are invaluable for homeowners who want to keep their lawn looking green and lush.
In this guide, I go over the pros and cons of scarifying and dethatching your lawn, and when you should do it so that you can improve the look and health of your yard.
What to Expect From This Article
What Causes Thatch In The Grass
Thatch build-up occurs due to mainly 2 factors, one is that the microbes in the soil cannot break down the organic matter properly due to chemicals or salts. The other thing is the size of the leaves and stems as bigger grass leaves take time to decompose and can build up in the lawn. Excessive thatch is often caused by synthetic fertilizer and poor maintenance of the lawn.
Also Check: Where To Dispose Old Lawn Mower
Tip : Use Compost Instead Of Synthetic Nitrogen
Synthetic nitrogen creates thatch by 1) causing grass to grow too fast, creating more root and leaf build up as a byproduct and 2) destroying the beneficial microbes in the soil that would otherwise break thatch down into nutrients your grass would benefit from.
The solution is to switch to compost for your fertilization needs. You can still grow beautiful, lush grass but the lower amounts of nitrogen in compost will mean your grass wont burn and wont grow as fast. This also means youre free from excessive mowing! Woo hoo!
Compost also supports beneficial microbes by adding organic matter into your soil that the microbes digest into usable nutrients. This means your soil becomes healthier, the beneficial microbes decay thatch before it becomes a problem, and your grass is healthier in the long run.
Compost also has other benefits for your lawn. To learn how to switch over, check out our guide on how to add more organic matter to your lawn.