A lawn rake looks like a typical leaf rake, but the blades are much sharper, two-sided, and look like tiny sickles. It is specifically designed to remove thatch from grass, resulting in a healthier, greener and thicker lawn.
What Is Thatch And Why Is It A Problem
Thatch consists of dead or living unwanted organic materials in the grass, like leaves, moss and dead clippings. In small amounts, each of these is fine, but as they accumulate and connect together, they create a layer that keeps water, air and nutrients from reaching grass roots and inhibits the growth of the turf. If this thatch layer gets too thick (three inches or so), then the grass can turn brown and begin to die. Dethatching removes thatch buildup so that does not happen.
What Is The Best Way To Remove Thatch with a Lawn Rake
If the thatch is more than three inches thick, using a power dethatcher that rips out the thatch is the only way to get enough of it out. This is very hard on the lawn since grass will come out too. For less significant thatch problems, power raking slices through the top of the thatch, decreasing the thickness while not ripping out grass-roots. Using a manual lawn rake may take a little more time but will remove a lot of thatch without causing damage. Having a lawn rake around is a good idea even if you are planning on using a power option, since they can get at areas that the machines cannot.
What To Do Before Raking
Mow the lawn to about one inch high. Shorter grass makes it easier to get at and remove the thatch. You want the soil to be wet, but not soggy, so water the night before if the lawn needs it. If there is a lot of moss that you want to remove, it may not all come up unless you apply a moss killer first. This will kill the moss and make it easier to get rid of.
How To Use A Lawn Rake
A lawn rake is used similar to a thatching rake. You put the tines on the surface of the lawn and pull the rake back towards you, so the tines just break the surface of the soil, pulling up thatch as you go. Work over a small area in several different directions until the thatch is removed and then go on to another. More thatch will come up more easily if you use a back and forth motion, but this can damage grass-roots, so be careful with how you do it. Be sure to collect and dispose of all the thatch and organic materials that you pull out. You do not want them to stay on your lawn and turn into thatch again.
When To Use A Lawn Rake
Since manually removing thatch with a lawn rake is not very hard on your grass, you can do it when the lawn needs it. In general, spring and late fall are the best times to remove thatch, but you do not want too much (or too much moss) to accumulate before you get rid of it. More intensive, damaging methods are best done only at these times and only when it is really needed. Use the lawn rake to do touch-ups after other dethatching methods or in-between times for problem areas.
What To Do After You Rake
This is a great time to fertilize, over seed or apply other beneficial products to your lawn. Be sure to water well to keep up grass health and keep seedlings moist.