A power rake, also called a dethatcher, is similar to gas-powered lawn mowers, but instead of a horizontal blade, it has hundreds vertically spinning tines or blades that beat into the ground to remove thatch. Organic materials such as leaves, grass clippings and roots that collect on top of the dirt beneath the grass becomes thatch. If this layer gets too thick (more than ½ inch), then it cuts off the roots from water, fertilizer, air and other nutrients they need. A small amount of thatch can be removed manually with a dethatching rake. However when the thatch is ½-1 inch or more, you need a power rake to remove the larger build-up.
How to Dethatch With a Lawn Power Rake?
Arrange to rent a power rake at a local rental center. Plan ahead because demand increases on weekends and during the best times to power rake (early spring and late fall). Prep your lawn before you pick up the machine. Pick up any obstructions such as rocks, toys or pine cones. Mow the grass shorter than you normally do to make it easier to power rake. Also don’t forget to mark your sprinklers.
When you rent a power rake dethatcher, have them show you how to set the blades the correct width apart and to the correct depth for your type of grass. Ask any other questions you have about how to use the machine. You will need help loading and unloading, since dethatchers are often twice as heavy as a gas-powered lawn mower.
Before you begin, add extra oil to the engine if the level is too low. Also check the fuel tank. Check the machine over to make sure there is nothing caught anywhere or out-of-place. Take the power rake to where you want to start. Put on safety glasses to protect your eyes from anything that may come up while raking. You may want to consider protective earphones if the machine is very noisy. Then set the choke on the engine and pull on the starter to get the engine going. Move the choke lever to run and your good to start.
As you engage the blades, begin moving the power rake over the lawn. If the tines dig in too much, adjust them up. Going in too deep is hard on your lawn. Go over the lawn in one direction first, then again in another direction.
Once you have finished, you can use a hand dethatching rake to do any small spots, corners or edges that need extra work. Then rake up all the thatch left on the lawn and bag it for disposal or compost it. This is a good time to re-seed and/or fertilize. Water well after you’re done, especially if you over seed. Continue to water often. If there is not a lot of rain to make sure the seeds stay moist as they germinate and sprout. Right after dethatching with power rakes, the lawn may look pretty sparse and ugly, but it will look good again in 3-4 weeks when it will be ready to mow.
If You Are Going to Buy a Power Rake
Since new power lawn rakes cost around $1000-$2000, consider purchasing one used. As a substitute, you could also buy a dethatching rake. Look for a quality manufacturer like a Bluebird power rake or Billy Goat power rake.
What is the benefit of using a lawn aerator after you power rake?