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Dethatch your lawn and guarantee grass-reseeding success

Updated on January 25, 2016

Dethatch your way to a beautiful lawn

Curb appeal is the single most important feature we use to establish the value of any residential property. Granted the ornamental trees, shrubs and flowering plants all paint a pretty picture, but lets be honest.

The lawn is the canvas that makes all the other plantings and landscape features look beautiful. When the lawn looks bad, the rest of the property also looks bad.

However, the solution to this problem is easier than you may think. Reseeding your lawn will dramatically, help to reestablish the once tired looking yard. First, you must dethatch your lawn before you reseed to ensure a beautiful healthy lawn.

Why a thick layer of thatch is a bad thing

What is thatch, what it is not in this case anyway, a material used to cover the roofs of buildings. The thatch we are concerned with in our lawns is a layer of grass clippings and other organic materials that build up over time and do not readily decompose. This layer of thatch causes all sorts of problems for your turf.

Lawn thatch can choke out air, water, and sunlight. Excessive build up of thatch in your lawn can also cause your grass to stop growing. Your lawn can even become prone to insect damage and moss can also become a problem in certain locations.

Dethatch your lawn every 3 too 5 years

When should you dethatch your lawn? Early in spring and late summer are the best times of the year in most areas. It is important that the lawn is dry. Dethatching when the lawn is to wet will only make a huge mess and cause more problems. You should dethatch your lawn every three to five years, depending on when the thatch layer is about three quarters of an inch or nineteen mm in depth.

Rent or Hire a power rake or dethatcher and save money

How to dethatch your lawn, there are several options available to today’s homeowner, landscaper and gardener. Your local tool rental centers, tool hire yard that rent or hire power rakes or dethatchers. There are attachments available for many walk behind and riding lawn mowers. Mini tiller cultivators and lawn trimmers also have dethatching attachments available for the larger more powerful models. There is also hand rakes designed for removal of lawn thatch for those of us with small yards, or just like manual labor.

Benefits of using power rake dethatcher

Personally, I prefer the power dethatcher or power rake opposed to the manual hand rake. Believe me when I tell you, the power rake or dethatcher is easier to use and simply works much better.

When it comes time to removing that thick layer of thatch from your medium to large suburban lawn, using a gas or electric powered dethatcher is best.

Start by simply adjusting the dethatching machine where the flail blades or spring tines remove the thatch barrier without damage the turf grass root structure.

Run the dethatching machine over the lawn just like mowing the grass with a power lawnmower.

Collect all the thatch and put it into a compost bin, or rake into heavy duty plastic trash bags for disposal.

Remember dethatch your lawn first, Mike.

How to dethatch a lawn

The author of this publication, Mike Teddleton owns the copyright to: Dethatch your lawn and guarantee grass-reseeding success . The rights to publish this article in print or online can only be granted by contacting me the author in writing. You may use the intro and link back to the article directing the reader back to my post here at HubPages where they may find the story in its entirety


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    • Teddletonmr profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Teddleton 

      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Dolores, yes you can use a good ole garden rake to remove thatch form your lawn.

      There are a few different designs you may want to use.

      The old long handle garden rake with its stiff metal fingers work, but will take a lot of time and energy to pick the thatch out of its teeth.

      There are rakes designed with the removal of thatch from you lawn that are double sided. They designed so you can use one side of the rake until the teeth are ful of thatch, then turn the rake over and use the other side of the rake. These types rakes work well in small areas, or hard to reach spaces where the power rake or dethatcher can be used.

      I hope this answers your question, thanks for asking...

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Mike - we have a pretty small lawn - will never rent a big machine, can I do this with a rake? Are we just pulling up all the dried up junk?

    • Teddletonmr profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Teddleton 

      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Katie, after a hot dry summer, just as the dog days of summer give way to cooler temps, is a great time to dethatch your lawn. Then reseed your lawn, and watch it grow.

    • katiem2 profile image


      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      Oh my yard needs a lot of help this year. I need to reseed as no matter how many lawn treatments I get I'm still seeing crab grass. Great products and fantastic information. So glad I have you as you are an amazing resource. I appreiciate your analitical smarts and know how! Peace :)

    • Teddletonmr profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Teddleton 

      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      habee, you are welcome, dethatche your lawn before reseeding, it will make a huge difference in the way your grass will look and grow...

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      We SO needed this advice. Thanks!

    • Teddletonmr profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Teddleton 

      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Pamela99, thanks for stoping by and your comment. after dethatching, picking up the thatch and putting it into a composter is a good way to recycle all the thatch.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      We did that this spring and it helped immensely. Very good advice.


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