Dethatching rakes are designed specifically to remove excess thatch from a lawn and should be used before the thatch layer gets too deep and starts affecting the health of the grass. Even if it has gotten that far already, a thatching rake can still be used to remove some of the thatch to help mitigate the problem. Of course, it is better to regularly dethatch so that doesn’t happen.
What Is Thatch?
Thatch is a layer of organic materials that knit together as they decompose. It is found on the soil surface and often feels spongy. Usually it consists of leaves and grass clippings with other lawn debris such as pine needles in it as well. A mulching lawnmower that is not working properly can lead to a deep thatch layer that builds up quickly.
Measuring the Thatch
Remove a soil plug from the lawn and look for the thatch layer between the grass and dirt.
Around ½ inch is fine and will help the lawn weather drought and hot temperatures. More than that and you should remove some with a dethatching rake.
When to Dethatch
Dethatching rakes of every kind work better when the ground is wet but not overly soggy.
Springtime is a good time to dethatch, especially if you are power raking, because the grass
will have plenty of rain and mild temperatures as it recovers. Manual raking is less stressful to the lawn and can be done more frequently throughout the year. Fall is also a popular time for dethatching as part of preparing your lawn for winter.
How to Prepare for Dethatching
Whenever you choose to dethatch, be sure to prep your lawn first. Walk around the lawn and pick up any toys, rocks, pinecones or other debris that will get in the way of the rake. Mow the grass very short, about half the length you normally would. Check the soil and water the night before dethatching if it is too hard and dry. You can dethatch wit a rake or simply by adding a dethatching blade to your lawn mower.