Your Guide to Dethatching Your Lawn

Dethatching a lawn is all about getting rid of the unpleasant things on the lawn. These remain the dense underlayer of thatch, which gives an improper look. Some of the common dethatching techniques include using powerful dethatchers. The other method of dethatching include stand alone powered units. 

The next is the spinning metal pieces, which dethatch by piercing and lifting them from the yard. The other option is the use of slicers and other metal tines. Some of these remain the stand-alone and powered units, which are made to drag behind a riding mower or tractor. 

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In this article, we will try to understand the ways of dethatching your lawn and knowing the right time for it. Let’s begin:

How to prepare to Dethatch? 

Before you detach your lawn, you need to prepare yourself. You need first to decide whether you should dethatch it or not. Always keep in mind that you should dethatch when the conditions favor quick recovery.

Thus This only means that you need 3 – 4 weeks of good growing weather once you dethatch. As per experts, it is always a good idea to water the lawn thoroughly two days before you plan to dethatch. Once you find them wet, The machine helps collect and remove the thatch. 

How to dethatch your lawn?

One of the ways of dethatching comes through Dethatching machines, which are available in different forms. These perform the dethatching tasks in other ways with the help of varying levels of intensity. However, these machines have a few things in common, including the spinning metal pieces. 

These are the ones that are responsible for piercing the pieces and even lifting the thatch from the lawn. Some employ slicers and other metal tines for this process. However, the experts recommend the former more than the latter. Some of these remain stand-alone and powered units, while the others are dragged behind riding mowers or tractors. 

Power rakes

Power Rake 

Power rakes are meant to attack the serious thatch. However, using these tools have some risk to the lawn as they can even put the live plants with the dead grass. These are available with adjustable flair blades, which offer quick deep penetration inside the lawn. 

Slit Seeders

These are called versatile machines, which are often found in all professional lawn care companies. These are known to have one set of spinning blades, which are known to dethatch and then come as a set of circular blades, which lay down grooves. These tend to dethatch and plant the grass seeds using a single pass. 

In any case, passing it over the lawn using the dethatching machine can help lift the large volume of thatch and sometimes even some small lawns. It can even produce dome good lawn bags, which are supposed to be collected using a mower or rake with the help of an attached mulching unit. 

Sod Cutter 

sod cutting

You can reserve these machines for some serious thatch issues for one inch or more. These are known to have thick blades, which cut the soil surface and help remove the sod in strips. You are required to renovate the lawn while using the sod cutter. 

We can call aeration the only choice for lawns that comes up with a mild amount of thatch. Using a core aerator will help pull away the plugs of sod that provide ample space for nutrients to enter the thatch layer. But you may not be able to remove a large amount of thatch. 

Vertical slicer

As the name suggests, these tools can quickly slice the lawn to pull away the thatch from the lawn by setting vertical mowing and leaving some soil over the yard’s surface. The setting helps cut 1/4th into the soil once it enters the thatch layer. The hand rakes loose thatch once you slice and leave the soil leaver like a topdressing. 

When to Dethatch? 

Once  you make your mind to go with your dethatching activities, you should know when to detach it. It also depends upon the type of grass you have in your yard – cool or warm season grasses. This is because both the types of grasses have different growth patterns. You can dethatch when you are in active growth spurts. 

  • Cool season grasses, including Kentucky bluegrass, get dethatched during the spring or in the late summer, spring and early fall. You have to match the dates as per the most active growing seasons. 
  • Warm-season grasses like St. Augustinegrass, Bermuda, and Zoysia remain detached during summer when they grow faster. 

Signs when lawn needs Dethatching

It is very important to know when you should take the step to dethatch your lawn. Now, the question is, how to break up these dense layers of thatch without going to rip away the lawn to shreds? And what are the signs that indicate that you need dethatching? Some of the signs include the following: 

  • Footprinting 
  • Dry spots 
  • Increase in diseases and insects 
  • Hardness decreasing and showcasing greater distress during cold and heat 

Avoid removing the thatch while the turf seems weak, under any kind of stress, or falling under any other issue. It will only boost the chance of injuring your lawn and bring down the chances for its healthy recovery. 

Common Causes of Thatch


If you witness an excessive and unruly layer of thatch, it could be for the following things: 

  • Firstly, if your lawn lacks earthworms, it can be a problem for your yard’s soil. As the worm burrows, they boost the oxygen in the soil and promote the breakdown of any organic material. 
  • Secondly, excessive acidity in the soil is the second big reason behind bringing in more thatch. Microorganisms help make your lawn healthy and thus keep the neutral pH range best between 6.0 and 8.0. And adding some time remains the common solution to acidity issues. 
  • Thirdly, excessive fertilization is also a problem. If it helps in applying higher rates of nitrogen year in and year out it leads to excessive growth, which cannot keep the natural breakdown up. Some nitrogen sources can help boost soil acidity, leading the lawn back to the second common issue. 
  • Lastly, poor aeration is the next issue that brings the problem. Grassroots help the space to grow, and a highly complex soil prevents the roots from getting down deep in the soil. 

Cleaning After Dethatching

Dethatching is often called a disruptive process; thus, your yard needs some time to recover. Once you are through the dethatching process, you need to seed the lawn and opt for topdressing. If you have taken plugs of soil, it can be left behind like a topdressing. However, you need to remove the thatch material. 

The new areas opened with the help of dethatching are always an excellent opportunity to have some fresh seed and then add some turfgrass into the yard. Opting for a top dressing can boost up the current root system. It can come from weed control and filling those gaps before weeds can grow. 

You can see the result within a month if things are in order. Dry and hot weather can hamper growth; however, you can see the new grass coming quickly with favorable weather conditions. You will notice a vigorous and uniform growth for a week, making it appear like a new yard. 

How to prevent Thatch Buildup From Returning?

Preventing the thatch from building up in your yard can keep your lawn looking better for a longer time. It will also help in keeping the rip and tear with the help of lethal machines.The popular grass species can have more thatch a lot. For instance, Kentucky bluegrass is known to grow quickly and aggressively to establish itself. This makes the grass more popular among homeowners. However, this also means that bluegrass produces more thatch. 

Those are good for areas that witness excessive foot traffic, including the sports fields. Choosing or mixing with any perennial ryegrass or the tall fescue will only slash down the thatch production in your lawn. The next prevention is to keep testing your soil periodically. A period test will help you understand the conditions and growth of microorganisms, which can break down the thatch. 

How much can Dethatching cost you? 

Any simple motorized dethatching machine can range from $100 to $300. The tow-behind dethatchers can vary in a wide range, costing from $70 to $3000 per the features and size. 

A non-motorized option can cost you around $35 for the thatching rake procedure, while a gas-based option can cost you about $50 for getting the machine on rent. 

Slicing dethatchers are found with a wide range of variety. One option includes an attachment, which fits over the regular walk-behind filler that comes to around $80. At the same time, the walk-behind and low-behind choices can go for $39 to $350. 

DIY or Call a Pro? 

Dethatching is all about slicing the turf, which will allow you to put in so much effort. It is always a good idea to hand over to a pro for procedures like these. Opting for a DIY option is not a good idea as it is a horrendous job and not effective. However, if you are comfortable using the equipment, you can think of taking up this job. 

In conclusion, it is always advantageous to hire a pro as they have the expertise and experience in carrying out landscaping services with effective results. There is something valuable about hiring a pro, though; they are effective in their practices and good at handling expensive equipment. If you can afford them, Eden is the right choice for these services. Call us for more!

Lawn care is all in the details, and we take care of every single one to give you the lawn of your dreams. Contact us today!