Lawn dethatching (also called power raking or turf raking) uses layers of pliable steel combs to lift dead grass to the surface and removes the water barrier to allow new grass shoots to grow.
What is Thatch?
Thatch is a communion of dead grass, roots and other matter that builds up in grass over time. Its very common and collects on most lawns at some time or another. Thatch collects above the soil at surface level and becomes intertwined in grass stems. When the cycle of decomposition is delayed for any variety of reasons, dead matter will begin to build up. As the build up increases the dead matter becomes stacked and then packs down or matts and causes healthy grass blades to become stressed and weaken. It thins, and eventually dies.
Thatch can actually choke a lawn to death! As it thickens it robs the soil of air and hinders water absorption and nutrient penetration to the soil and root system. Not only will excessive thatch kill the grass, left undeterred long enough it will damage the soil so that even if removed, new growth in that area will be sparse at best. Thick thatch levels can also become a haven for insects. Moisture rich matted thatch can be an excellent breeding ground for mosquitos and disease.
Thatch creates a water barrier, prevents new grass from growing and harbors insects. It collects quickly and before long the lawn and its entire root system is at risk.
Lawn dethatching (also called power raking), when performed as needed, will go a long way in maintaining a healthy, green lawn! Dethatching allows new grass shoots to grow in thick and lush.
Dethatch Your Lawn If You Have These Symptoms
- A lawn comprised of cool season grass or grasses, the most common of which are perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fescue. Cool season grasses grow where the winters are colder; they spread by producing underground rhizomes.
- A lawn with spots where the grass is very thin where the individual grass blades are weak and far apart from one another.
- A lawn with large brown spots where the thatch is so thick that it has temporarily suppressed all or most of the grass plants in that area of the lawn.
- Water runs off your lawn before it can penetrate the soil. This is especially problematic on sloping areas, where thatch prevents a barrier to water absorption.
- A lawn that is severely compacted by heavy foot traffic, and you are planning to aerate it, or have it aerated professionally. (Thatch build-up should always be removed before aerating a lawn.)
- You are planning to over seed your lawn this fall (which is always a good idea).
When To Dethatch
Depending on where you live in the country, and if you have cool-season grass or warm-season grass, you should dethatch in early fall before you fertilize, or in the spring after the grass has begun to green.
Timing is very important; you can actually do more harm than good if you dethatch at the wrong time. The very best time to dethatch a lawn is early fall, at least four weeks before the end of the summer/fall growing season. This allows grass plenty of time to grow and re-establish before frost arrives. An early fall dethatching can prepare your lawn for overseeding and fall feeding, giving it the best preparation for surviving the winter and rebounding quickly the following spring.
Late spring, after several weeks of green grass growth, is the second best time to dethatch. Of course, if you dethatched the previous fall, you won’t need to dethatch in the spring. There is virtually no thatch build-up during the winter.
If you are planning to over seed your lawn, you should plan to dethatch before seeding.
Transform A Mantis Tiller
The Mantis tiller easily converts to a lawn and turf care machine with the help of additional attachments. Not only can it dethatch, there are attachments for aerating, edging, and crevice cleaning. Visit the Tiller Attachment page for more information.