How To Dethatch A Lawn With A Mower Attachment, step by step. Dethatcher for lawn mower

What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Dethatching Lawns

Keep your grass lush and green by dethatching it when needed. With these lawn tips, you’ll be an expert in no time.

Viveka Neveln is the Garden Editor at BHG and a degreed horticulturist with broad gardening expertise earned over 3 decades of practice and study. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing for both print and digital media.

Thatch is a matted layer of grass stems, roots, stolons, rhizomes, and other organic debris that builds up faster than it can decompose. Thatch accumulates immediately below the green surface of the lawn—on top of the soil at the base of the blades. A layer of thatch less than ½ inch thick is normal and doesn’t present cause for action. In fact, a thin layer of thatch is a good thing: It reduces soil compaction and increases tolerance for cold and heat by protecting the crown (the point on the plant where grass growth originates). Thatch can also reduce water loss through evaporation.

If the thatch is more than ½ inch thick, it may cause trouble, and it may be time for dethatching a lawn. Think of it as a layer of plastic wrap on top of the soil. Your grass won’t have access to air, water, and nutrients because thatch blocks them from reaching the roots. A thick layer of thatch can harbor disease-causing insects and fungi, prolong high humidity that promotes disease, and bind or tie up pesticides. And as thatch builds, grass roots knit into the thatch layer instead of the soil, where they easily succumb to environmental stresses such as prolonged periods of hot, dry weather.

dethatch, lawn, mower, attachment, step

What Causes Thatch?

There are numerous causes for excessively thick thatch. The most common ones are poorly aerated soil, excess nitrogen (which leads to excessive growth), and too much water (which reduces the amount of oxygen in the soil). Thatch may also result from activities like the overzealous use of pesticides that kill the earthworms and microorganisms that break down organic matter.

Some lawn grass varieties are more prone to developing thatch than others. For example, among the cool-season grass species, Kentucky bluegrass is a prime offender for spreading aggressively and accumulating thatch. (Tall fescue may be a better choice for avoiding thatch.) Bermuda is more likely to accumulate thatch than zoysia among the warm-season grass species. (Check with your local cooperative extension service to better understand the grass species that work in your area.)

There are multiple ways to determine if your lawn has a thatch problem. The easiest is to check to see if your lawn is green on top but brown below. The best time to check is after you mow when you’ve just cut off the top green growth. If you have thatch, the lawn will look brown or dead. Another test is to walk across the lawn: If it feels spongy, it may be due to thatch.

If you’re still in doubt, use a spade or knife to cut several small plugs from the lawn. Measure the thatch, which will appear as a layer of spongy brown material between the grass and the soil. Dethatching lawns is in order if the thatch is more than ½ inch deep.

When Is the Best Time for Dethatching Lawns?

Dethatching lawns should only be done when conditions are best to promote Rapid recovery of your grass type. The best time to dethatch cool-season lawns is late August to early October, depending on your location, when the grass grows vigorously and few weed seeds are likely to germinate. A light application of fertilizer (½ to ¾ pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet) and regular, deep watering will speed the lawn’s recovery.

Dethatch warm-season lawns in late spring or early summer after completely greening and growing rapidly.

How Do I Dethatch My Lawn?

There are several ways of dethatching lawns. For lawns with moderate levels of thatch, aerating (more on that below) may do the trick. Or use a cavex rake (aka thatching or lawn dethatcher rake) with unusual semicircular tines. Those knifelike blades cut through the sod and pull out thatch. The most effective solution for dethatching lawns that are large and have serious thatch problems is a vertical mower (aka power rake). Resembling a heavy-duty power mower but with a series of spinning vertical knives, it cuts through thatch.

Dethatching often creates a large volume of debris that must be removed. If the debris is weed-free and you have not used herbicides or pesticides on your lawn, compost it. Or check to see if your city has a composting program for yard waste.

How Do I Reduce Future Thatch Accumulation?

Thatch is inevitable, but appropriate lawn care practices will help reduce the severity in the future. Use the right type and amount of fertilizer for normal growth. Water deeply, thoroughly, but infrequently. Maintain proper pH levels; adjust them if needed. And aerate your lawn regularly to make room for new growth.

How Do I Aerate My Lawn?

The roots of all plants need air as much as water, which is why aerating is so important. It’s a simple process of perforating the soil (and any thatch) while removing plugs of lawn that leave behind small holes that allow water, air, and fertilizer to get to roots. Aeration enables the roots to grow deeply, producing a more vigorous lawn.

Multiple tools are available for aerating lawns. If your property is small, a foot-press aerator that you push into the soil like a spade may suffice. For large lawns (more than a few hundred square feet), you may want to buy or rent an engine-powered core aerator that resembles a lawn mower. You steer it across the lawn—several times in different directions—to break up compacted soil as much as possible. (Aim for 20 to 40 holes per square foot.) Either method requires moist soil, so aerate a day or two after a soaking rain or water the lawn deeply before aerating. Soil that’s too wet or too dry will prevent the tool from working correctly.

Aerating tools remove thin, cigar-shaped plugs of soil and deposit them on the lawn’s surface. (Avoid tools that are designed to punch holes without removing cores.) Let the plugs dry for a few days, then break them up with vigorous raking to create a thin, beneficial topdressing.

The best time to aerate cool-season lawns is late August through early October. The second best time is in the spring. (Wait until you’ve mowed the lawn twice before aerating in spring.) Follow with regular, frequent watering. The best time to aerate warm-season laws is in late spring or early summer—or anytime followed by four weeks of good growing weather. Lawns with severe thatch problems may need twice-yearly aeration.

How To Dethatch A Lawn With A Mower Attachment, step by step

Maintaining and keeping your lawn spick and span is a very detailed-oriented task. No matter how much time and energy you invest in keeping your lawn in the best possible shape, there comes a time when one would need to spruce it up. One of the major setbacks is thatch, which consists of removing roots, dead grass, stems, and roots. When dealing with a small area, you could do the job with a leaf rake. But for more extensive lawns, this would be a cumbersome task. Using a lawnmower attachment is a relatively less stressful method.

There are two basic methods. The first one is to use special dethatching blades. The other is to use a lawnmower attachment that you use in front or at the back of your riding lawn mower or lawn tractor. We will first explain using a special dethatching blade, followed with other dethatching attachments you can use.

How to Dethatch a lawn with a mower attachment, step by step:

  • Step 1: Check if your lawn needs dethatching
  • Step 2: Trim the grass
  • Step 3: Remove the cutting blade
  • Step 4: Attach the Dethatch blade
  • Step 5: Mow the yard again
  • Step 6: Reattach the mowing blade
  • Step 7: Cover the patches
  • Step 8: Fertilize and water your lawn

How to Dethatch a lawn with special lawnmower dethatching blades

Dethatching your lawn with dethatching blades means that you have to replace your current cutting blades with dethatching blades. The size of dethatching blades may vary depending upon the lawnmower’s deck size. So it is important to know your lawnmower’s size before purchasing the dethatching blades. Changing the blades is not a difficult job.

Step 1: Check if your lawn needs dethatching

Before starting the dethatching process, it is a good idea to check if you need to dethatch your lawn or not. It is easy to see if your lawn needs dethatching or not by simply examining it. Generally, a lawn’s surface should feel quite firm once you walk on it. If the texture is spongy, that is a clear indication that you need an immediate dethatching. Sponginess represents the presence and build-up of dead grass in your lawn. You can also examine your yard by pressing the grass with your hand and ultimately judging its relative firmness. If it feels spongy enough, one must perform the necessary detachment operations.

Step 2: Trim the grass:

Before performing the detachment process, it is necessary to keep the height of the grass in check. Grass height has a major impact on the efficiency of the process. The smaller the size of the grass, the better will be the dethatching process. Thus, if the grass is tall enough, one needs to trim it accordingly as the dead grass needs to be dethatched present just above the soil. It is recommended to mow the lawn to half its height. Once the size is optimum, you are set to dethatch.

Step 3: Remove the cutting blades:

Once the grass has been trimmed, the next step is to remove the cutting blades and replace them with the dethatching blades. To remove the cutting blades, one should tilt the mower towards the handle end and then prop it with a heavy object. In the case of a riding lawnmower, set the cutting deck at its highest position, use a ramp or lawnmower lift to access the blades.

Before doing any work on the blades, we advise you to disconnect the spark plug cables. This ensures that the mower can not unintentionally start. In case of an electric lawnmower, disconnect the mains cable. If you have a battery mower, remove the batteries. Mark the cutting blades such that you know what side should be at the bottom when you reinstall them later.

Step 4: Attach the dethatching blades:

Once the cutting blades are removed, place them aside and attach the dethatching blades. Ensure that the springs are facing downwards. Generally, the thatching blade attachment has a huge resemblance to ordinary blades. However, the metal or plastic projections hanging downwards could be considered a distinguishing character of dethatching blades. Once the blades are in their proper place, tighten the bolts. Reconnect the spark plug cables, and fill the gas tank.

Step 5: Mow the yard again:

Once the dethatching blades are in place, adjust the mowing height to a higher level than you would use for normal mowing. Now perform the mowing process as you normally do with cutting blades. The lawnmower’s back and forth movement would make the dethatching blades’ springs remove the roots and the dead grass. Once you have been all over the lawn several times, lower the deck and proceed again. This way, you remove any remaining thatches.

Step 6: Reattach the mowing blades:

Once you have completed the thatching process, remove the dethatching blades and replace them with your original cutting blades. Mow the lawn, and once done, inspect your lawn thoroughly for any remaining thatches. The remaining thatches could be removed with the help of a rake. Once you are done with mowing and dethatching, collect the grass and dispose of it in a compost heap. Ensure that you dispose of the organic material accordingly via placing it in plastic containers and ultimately dumping it.

Step 7: Cover the patches:

The detachment process can make your lawn look awful at first. Maybe you see bare spots on it. Use some grass seeds on places where a lot of the grass has gone. Give it some time and care, and it will look nice soon.

Step 8: Fertilize and water the lawn:

After the dethatching process, make sure that your lawn is watered frequently. Use some fertilizer that you spread evenly over your grass. The new grass would take around three to four weeks to grow back. It is recommended that you schedule dethatching to consider the spring season as, during the spring season, the grass grows around actively, and the lawn holds enough moisture to expedite this process.

Other Lawnmower Dethatching Attachments:

Besides using dethatching lawnmower blades, there are also other lawnmower attachments that you can use. They are attachments that go in front or behind you, riding lawn mower or lawn tractor. These units consist of sturdy steel gauges covered with epoxy paints.

JRCO is a renowned company that manufactures these attachments. A front or back-mounted unit could be easily installed on your lawnmower by putting in the spindle of the dethatching attachment into already present adjustment attachment points on your lawnmower or lawn tractor. These units come in different shapes and sizes, and in your lawnmower’s instruction manual, details about suitable fits are available.

Once you have mounted the attachment, you are ready to dethatch the lawn by simply following the steps mentioned earlier except the one changing your lawnmower’s blades.

Related Questions:

What is the best time to dethatch your lawn?

The period to perform the dethatching varies from lawn to lawn. It depends on your yard’s location, the soil quality, grass type, and the season. However, it is always recommended to schedule your dethatching in the spring season. The main reason for opting for the spring season is that grass actively grows in spring due to the soil’s added moisture. Thus your lawn grows back immediately. However, one should always make sure not to perform the dethatching when your yard is in dormant condition as it could harm more than recover.

How often should I dethatch my lawn?

It is recommended to perform dethatching once a year. First, inspect your lawn. If the thatch has grown more than an inch, one should start with dethatching.

Is it better to Dethatch or Aerate?

Dethatching and aeration are two completely different processes, and both are crucial for your lawn’s health. Dethatching removes dead organic material, roots, and grass from the yard to make certain that the grass’s health is improved and the lawn looks fresh.

At the same time, aeration makes sure that the soil gets easy access to natural elements like water, air, and other nutrients. In aeration, one makes holes in the ground to ensure this supply. Those holes can be easily made with a small pick. The hole’s size should be around a quarter of an inch to ensure a steady flow of water and other nutrients to the grassroots.

It is recommended to both the processes, but one should perform the dethatching operation first and then aerate as if aeration has been done before. The holes could hinder the dethatching process.

Do I need to overseed after dethatching?

It is recommended to overseed after dethatching to ensure that there are no patches left as detachment causes patches on your lawn. Applying some quality seeds is advised to give your yard a presentable look.

Can I dethatch and mow simultaneously?

It is recommended that you initially trim your lawn to reduce the grass height. Once cut, you can now perform the dethatching by using the detachment blade attachment on your lawnmower. After you are done with it, mow the lawn with the lawnmower and finally rake off any demanding thatches. If you use a dethatching attachment that is behind your lawnmower, it is possible to dethatch and mow simultaneously, but success may vary on your situation.

Final Remarks:

The presence of thatches in your lawnmower is detrimental to the grass and has harmful soil effects. The dense layer of roots, grass clippings, and stem hinder the flow of the essential nutrients, air, and water to the soil, which results in its deteriorating health.

It is necessary to remove these thatches as soon as you spot them. Raking is a cumbersome process, while hiring a professional can be costly. Using the dethatching blades is a good and cost-effective method to dethatch. This blog helps you with all the necessary steps.

dethatch, lawn, mower, attachment, step

Lawn Dethatcher : Beginners Guide to Lawn Dethatching

Dethatching a lawn is a process whereby gardeners remove the thatch layer from their lawn. The objective of this is usually to make it easier for water, air and nutrients to reach the grass’s roots. It also helps with weed control and fertilization.

We’ve created this guide for beginners who want to know more about how to use a dethatcher to dethatch their own lawns in order to maintain them better. We’ve included some helpful tips on what you need before getting started, the best time of year, and an overview on how long it takes-you’ll be surprised!

What is a Dethatcher?

Lawn dethatchers may be used to remove dead grass from turfgrass or to reduce build-up of moss in your lawn by removing competition for water and nutrients. Dethatchers should only be used when grass/weeds need to be replaced or for certain types of weeding or pre-emergent weed control. Never use dethatchers on new seeding unless the seed is sown first and dethatching takes place immediately after germination. If you dethatch too early, you will undo the work of the lawn seeding process, and your dethatching efforts will be wasted.

Is Dethatching Necessary?

Often dethatching is necessary, but not always. If your lawn is already thin or uneven it’s probably best to dethatch. It’ll help get the soil back into shape again and make your grass grow better without spending too much time or money on fertilizers or seed. Thatch is made up of roots, stems, weeds and anything else that ends up in the lawn over time including pine needles, acorns and leaves. If you’re dethatching for the first time you might want to hire a dethatcher for 45-75/hour which will vary depending on where you live. However if your lawn isn’t in bad shape then dethatching might not be worth it since dethatchers are usually heavy and remove the grass in the dethatching process. If your lawn is in good enough shape to dethatch, you can do it yourself with a dethatcher or hire someone.

dethatch, lawn, mower, attachment, step

When to Dethatch Lawn / Best Time to Dethatch Lawn

There will be times when you will need to dethatch your lawn and there will also be times when dethatching is not necessary. Knowing the difference can save you money and time. Dethatching is the process of removing the thatch layer from your lawn. Thatch, or dead grass and soil, forms on most lawns over time as a result of several things: dogs digging in it, foot traffic by you or others, fertilizer burn, winter injury and pest damage just to name a few reasons why thatch occurs. If the problem with thatch becomes bad enough then dethatching should be done before it gets worse.

Different opinions exist about dethatching. One camp says dethatch in the fall, while some dethatch twice a year. And dethatchers are available for rent some times of the year. The best time to dethatch your lawn is when dethatching is truly necessary and not before it becomes necessary.

If you suspect that thatch has built up on your lawn then digging into the soil with your finger can help you determine if dethatching is needed. If the soil feels spongy or goes down more than 1/2 inch, then dethatching should certainly be considered at least once every three years depending upon how bad the problem is. Once you have decided to dethatch your lawn there are several methods of doing so including dethatchers which are also called dethatching rakes.

How to Dethatch Lawn

It is important to dethatch your lawn when dethatching is necessary because thick thatch prevents water, air and nutrients from reaching the grass roots for use in healthy growth. Thick thatches can also harbor insects like chinch bugs and grubs that can damage lawns by feeding on their roots, making it impossible for grass to grow properly again without first dethatching. Dethatchers come with rotating tines or blades which remove the dead grass and soil allowing it to be collected into piles of debris for removal by shoveling or bagging. Once dethatched, some say you should wait two weeks before fertilizing; however spreader settings will need to be adjusted before fertilizing. The dethatched lawn should be watered immediately following dethatching to help remove debris from grass blades and leaves thatch in clumps that can still damage your turf if left behind. If dethatching is necessary in the fall, then dethatch with a dethatcher, dethatching rake or power dethatcher when soils are moist but not wet so they provide better traction for machines moving over the lawn. Dethatchers work best on level ground. If you have problems with standing water after dethatching, correct drainage issues before dethatching again by grading soil to direct water away from the area where you will dethatch next time. Closely-spaced passes with a power dethatcher are the best dethatching method for lawns that have not been dethatched in several years. This dethatcher can be rented or even bought by some people at certain times of year. Dethatchers work well on lawns that are level with no slopes more than 4 percent (one foot in twenty), where grass has grown excessively tall, and for heavy soils with large amounts of thatch. Dethatchers do not control weeds or poor grass varieties, both of which can remain after dethatching if you leave them behind without first dethatching. Begin dethatching again when light green shoots appear on your lawn as this means grass is growing again and any remaining problem issues were removed along with the dead grass last dethatched.

How Often Should You Dethatch Your Lawn?

Dethatch your lawn every one to two years depending on grass type and climate conditions. Heat-loving grass types may require dethatching more often while cooler, heavier grass varieties may dethatch only once a year or less. Do not dethatch your lawn immediately after fertilization since dethatchers can damage the fertilizer you just applied on your lawn. Apply water first so that it can dilute the remaining fertilizer left in the soil before dethatching is done. This way, dethatcher tines will not likely cut through fertilizer granules or pick them up during dethatching making these fertilizers less efficient than they should be for promoting plant growth. If your soil is already well fertilized and your lawn is healthy and you dethatch at least once a year, then you don’t need to fertilize again. But if dethatching will be done after one or two years, it’s best to apply fertilizer before dethatching so that the dethatched grass blades can take up nutrients immediately upon dethatching for faster recovery.

Rescuing my Parents Lawn. Dethatch and Over seed Barenbrug Turf Blue HGT

TIP: Make sure you’re not dethatching too often as this might damage your grass type by removing its roots. The solution is to aerate your soil before dethatching and maintain proper fertility levels. both of which will keep dethatch frequency under control and allow better root development (which means stronger and healthier lawns) over time.

Dethatcher and Aerator

A dethatcher is an attachment that can be attached to a lawn mower. It has sharp blades that slice into the grass, cutting off any deeply rooted shoots or runners in the grass’ thatch layer, dethatching it. This detaching process allows air and sunlight to penetrate down into the soil, promoting healthier growth of grass roots. A dethatcher can also be used to aerate your lawn.

A dethatcher is typically placed on top of the lawn mower’s deck before dethatching commences. Some types of dethatchers are handheld units that one pushes across the surface of their lawn. The dethatcher is dragged over the grass in straight lines, dethatching the lawn as it goes. To prevent any damage or injury to your lawn, dethatch it when its grass is dry and the weather is sunny and warm. This dethatching process should not disturb any small plants that may be in your yard; if you do find that they have been affected by dethatching, put down mulch over them to keep them safe from sun exposure and heat damage.

Pros and Cons of Dethatching Lawn

The main reason to dethatch your lawn is to get rid of all that build up in between the blades. Thatch is composed of both living and dead plant matter, like roots and stems. When too much thatch builds up in your lawn, it prevents water, air, sunlight, fertilizer and other necessary materials from making their way into grass blades. This can cause root damage if left unattended for long enough. Thatch also contributes to pest problems like grubs, chinch bugs and mole crickets. If you dethatch a lawn once a year, or if you dethatch a lawn occasionally to get rid of all the dead grass in between the blades, it will prevent these pest issues from becoming a problem. However, dethatching a lawn is time-consuming and can be hard on your lawn. If you dethatch too often. the lawn could thin out over time as more and more thatch gets pulled away from grass roots. Also, dethatchers can cause damage if they’re not used correctly. Organic matter like thatch is very vulnerable to decomposition during hot weather temperatures, so leaving dethatched grass clippings lying around for an extended period of time can smother grass, which means dethatching in the fall is always better than dethatching in hot weather.

Power Rake vs Dethatcher: Differences How They Work

Affiliate Disclaimer: My content may contain links to products I use and love. As an Amazon Associate and participant in various other affiliate programs, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I personally vetted!

Before overseeding, you may want to loosen up the thatch a bit (the excess grass material that goes dormant or cut grass clippings that build up over time) to make sure the seed you put down germinates properly. Depending on the state of your lawn, you might want to use a power rake or a dethatcher. But what is the difference and how do they work?

A power rake and a dethatcher are both used to remove thatch in the lawn. A power rake is much more aggressive at getting rid of the buildup of dead grass debris compared to a dethatcher. Lawn dethatchers use spring tines while power rakes have rotating flails for. Both machines are mechanical and can be gas-powered or electrical.

Is a power rake and a Dethatcher the same thing?

A power rake is basically similar to a dethatcher, but the two remove thatch in and debris in different ways. Both power raking and dethatching fix the same problem in the lawn – thatch and debris.

  • Take a thatch sample and if there’s more than half an inch of spongy, dead organic matter at the top, go ahead and dethatch using a dethatcher.
  • If your lawn has a visible thick layer of dead grass or debris, use a power rake to remove it and allow fertilizer and other treatments to penetrate effectively.
  • Dethatchers are suitable for less than half an inch of thatch while power rakes are suitable for more than half an inch of thatch.

Thatch buildup starts as dead grass, stolons, and grass clippings failing to decompose at a good rate. At an early stage, it will just be dead matter lying on top of the soil, which you can fix by power raking.

As time goes by and if decomposition takes place but at a slower rate, the dead matter forms thatch. This thatch can be a little too much and can form a barrier on the lawn’s surface.

When you have more than an inch of thatch buildup in your lawn, your grass will start to look unhealthy because of the poor supply of nutrients, water, and oxygen.

That is where you want to use a dethatcher to break down the thick layer of decomposing organic matter and overseed the lawn to make it thick and full.

Recommended Power Rake

My go-to power rake over the past 3 seasons has been the Greenworks Corded Dethatcher. I love this thing. I use it on all my Bermuda lawns and have used it on Zoysia and Fescue lawns as well. Click to learn more.

  • KEEP YOUR YARD HEALTHY : dethatch in early spring or early fall for cool-season grasses, and in late spring through early summer (after the 2nd mowing) for warm-season grasses
  • POWERFUL MOTOR : 10A motor provides the power you need to tackle the toughest jobs
  • 14” DETHATCHING PATH : allows you to complete jobs faster and more efficiently

Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-05-24

Both power raking and dethatching aim at removing excess thatch in the lawn. A power rake is good for getting rid of the thick layer of debris lying on top of the soil while a dethatcher is good for removing a thin layer of decomposing organic matter that forms the topmost part of the soil in the lawn.

Power raking is a more aggressive process of removing thatch and dead matter in the lawn while dethatching is a light process that removes just a thin layer of debris that makes fertilizer absorption poor.

A dethatcher is usually spring tines that rotate and dislodge the layer of thatch and dead matter on the lawn while a power rake is usually mechanical with a dethatching blade that has rotating flails. The flails aggressively dig up thick layers of thatch from the lawn.

A dethatcher is a small machine that looks almost like push lawnmowers. Some come as extensions that you can attach to a lawn mower. On the other hand, a power rake is a heavy-duty machine that removes large amounts of thatch from a lawn.

Dethatchers are suitable for less than half an inch of thatch while power rakes are suitable for more than half an inch of thatch. Power rakes can remove up to four times the amount of thatch a dethatcher can handle.

Pro tip: A power rake can be very unforgiving on your lawn. Try to do it early to allow your lawn to heal before going dormant.


What is power raking a lawn?

Power raking addresses a much more superficial problem in the lawn. Most homeowners power-rake in spring and also in the fall when they want to overseed their lawns.

The process of power raking removes a thick layer of dead grass matter or debris sitting right on top of the soil in your lawn. This layer prevents your lawn from breathing properly.

How does a power rake work

A power rake works by scouring the layer of debris on the lawn using flails that spin at a relatively high speed. The debris is loosened and picked up by the machine to leave the surface of the soil much more exposed than before.

Improper lawn mowing and poor watering techniques can make your lawn start to form a layer of dead grass slowly by slowly. Soon enough, you’ll notice your lawn starting to form a brown color underneath the grass leaves.

This brown layer of dead grass, clippings, and stolons becomes more prominent with time especially when you mow the lawn. This is when you need to power-rake the lawn because neglecting it for long will lead to an unhealthy layer of thatch in some cases.

How to use a power rake

A thin layer of debris is healthy especially if there are enough microorganisms breaking it down. However, if there’s too much of it, you might want to get rid of it.

Here’s how to use a power rake on your lawn:

  • Check the lawn to make sure there’s more than ¼-inch of dead grass covering the soil.
  • Set the deck on your power rake high and power it up.
  • Run a test pass on the lawn to see how much thatch you can remove.
  • Slowly lower the deck one notch at a time and power rake.
  • Run the power rake all over the lawn in a systematic manner.
  • Collect all the debris on the lawn using a lawn rake or a mower.
  • Perform a second pass going in a different direction.
  • Clean up the loosened-up debris.

If there are some spots that were not power-raked properly, use a thatch rake to clear up the the debris.

Pro tip: Lowering the deck of your power rake one notch at a time is a great way to prevent scalping your lawn or even removing the live grass in the thin lawn you’re already trying to restore. You don’t want to rip up the lawn when power raking it. Follow up the process with a lawn restoration fertilizer or a starter 10-10-10 fertilizer for overseeding.

Here’s a great video on power raking done by Pest and Lawn Ginja on YouTube.