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View Full Version : Dethatching...how long does it take? Tips...suggestions?


Pitbullawns
04-21-2009, 12:43 PM
How would you price a 1/5 acre yard to be dethatched? Does it take longer than just mowing it?

OSU 09
04-21-2009, 01:04 PM
Depends on what type of thatcher you are using and how much thatch is in that yard. It is going to take you longer than just mowing no matter what the conditions are, it is a slower process and there is cleanup of all the thatch involved.

Paul_B
04-21-2009, 03:25 PM
When I thatch, I cut the lawn short, thatch, then mow again with the bagger on my mower. If the lawn is heavily thatched, you may have to go over it in multiple directions. The time it takes is heavily depenedent on your thatcher.

Pitbullawns
04-21-2009, 05:35 PM
What kind of equipment is best do you guys find? One of the walk behind dethatching machines? The rake/tines on the back or front of your mower? Or some other thing?

OSU 09
04-21-2009, 06:54 PM
If you are keeping up with it, as in doing it on a regular basis ex. yearly bi-yearly, I think the front mount ztr models work fine. If there is heavy thatch that has not been removed in a while then I like using the walk behind models. Since we do our thatching every year, we don't use the walk behind ones very often so we just rent one. I like the model Blue Bird makes, you can get one that has a bagging type system on it, this helps to reduce a lot of the cleanup, it should still be mowed over with a bagging mower though. But usually I just use the front mount ztr thatcher with the vac system on the ztr and do thatch and cleanup in one step.

Pitbullawns
04-21-2009, 07:01 PM
If you are keeping up with it, as in doing it on a regular basis ex. yearly bi-yearly, I think the front mount ztr models work fine. If there is heavy thatch that has not been removed in a while then I like using the walk behind models. Since we do our thatching every year, we don't use the walk behind ones very often so we just rent one. I like the model Blue Bird makes, you can get one that has a bagging type system on it, this helps to reduce a lot of the cleanup, it should still be mowed over with a bagging mower though. But usually I just use the front mount ztr thatcher with the vac system on the ztr and do thatch and cleanup in one step.

Thank you so much! This was exactly what I was looking for. This is a new customer, so I am assuming it has not been done in awhile. I am going to go do an estimate for it Thursday. I just ddn't know if I wanted to add a dethatcher to my equipment or rent one. I had a good deal lined up to buy a Billy Goat one for $700, but I just don't know how much use I will really get with it, so renting might be the way to go!

Paul_B
04-21-2009, 07:13 PM
I use a 38" revitalizer on the back of a simplicity garden tractor. It looks like a rototiller and makes quick work out of most yards. I find the de-thatchers that look like a rake to be a toy. Depends on how much thatch you have and what kind of grass too.

MajesticUSA
04-21-2009, 10:01 PM
I have the Bluebird spring tine dethatcher with the honda and it works awesome. It was about 1,200$ which is pricey but well worth it as far as durability and results. Almost all of my accounts have dethatching done every spring so I went with the spring tine style not the blade style which is rougher on healthy lawns. I just cut the lawn very low, dethatch in a checker board pattern and then do a final mow very slow with my 36" Scag w/catcher to vac it all up. As far as rates I charge 3 times the mowing charge plus a small dump fee usually 10$-20$.

Song Bird
04-22-2009, 12:27 AM
We use a wheel pull behind rake system set up to dethatch. I love it!!!! It does a great job. We did a yard a little bigger than your doing but not much. It took us right at one hour to do. That was running the rake system, sweeping, we also have a power broom and that works great to get up thatch too. And of course some hand raking in the really bad area's. Once everything was loose, we sweeped it up with our sweeper, bagged up the thatch and were done. We take the thatch to our composting system. We charge by the hour. We charge $20.00 /hour. The home owner said the job was great and paid us $40.00 for the job. I was happy.
Good luck.

ExtExc
04-22-2009, 01:21 AM
song bird is rediculously cheap...move to wisconsin. ill sub you and pay you 20 bucks an hour...anyway...

i just did one this week, front mount thatched the whole thing, then went back and cut it short and bagged it all. running the thatcher mower and bagger at the same time doesnt leave a good clean finish. if i were to do it again, i would thatch again in the opposite direction, or add weight to the thatcher, or just aerate before-hand at some point. just to clarify, this lawn was very thick, full of thatch, im sure it was fertilized often and has a full irrigation system.

Allens LawnCare
04-22-2009, 09:09 AM
$20 and hr............Glad I don't live in that area

Pitbullawns
04-23-2009, 01:34 PM
I went and looked at the lawn. Nice area, but a really big, lawn, thick with lots of thatch. I figured with my wife helping it would still take 4-6 hours. To run a thatcher and then come behind with my mower and bagger. I try to get $40 an hour and then renting the machine is $85, so I gave him a quote of $335 including tax. He said no thanks, he had someone who gave him a quote of $150.00.
Unless I am totally wrong about how long that would take that seems awfully low to me. To mow it, I would probably charge $60 - $70.
Oh well, I am bummed, but there is no way I could or would do that job for $150!
Thanks for all the help I got from you guys!

Oh, I was wrong in my first post, it was 1/2 an acre not 1/5.

doubleedge
05-01-2009, 01:45 AM
I went and looked at the lawn. Nice area, but a really big, lawn, thick with lots of thatch. I figured with my wife helping it would still take 4-6 hours. To run a thatcher and then come behind with my mower and bagger. I try to get $40 an hour and then renting the machine is $85, so I gave him a quote of $335 including tax. He said no thanks, he had someone who gave him a quote of $150.00.
Unless I am totally wrong about how long that would take that seems awfully low to me. To mow it, I would probably charge $60 - $70.
Oh well, I am bummed, but there is no way I could or would do that job for $150!
Thanks for all the help I got from you guys!

Oh, I was wrong in my first post, it was 1/2 an acre not 1/5.

I doubt it would have taken 4-6 hours. The only way to find out is to try it yourself first. I ususally charge 3 times my weekly mowing rate for dethatching.

bluridge
05-01-2009, 12:08 PM
Yeah...I think thatching the 1/2 acre lot would probably be 1.5 hr at most. I think the time to thatch is about the same as core aerating. And I know 3 or 4 years ago I paid core aerating my 1/3 ac yard $75 and then one year it was $95 and then next year it was $105. So the guy who is gonna do the thatching for $150 is probably right on.

ECS
05-01-2009, 12:20 PM
Depending on the property, mine take anywhere from 3 - 5 times longer than mowing using a 52" eXmark with the spring tine dethather on the front and charge 3-5 times the price of mow plus time to haul away and a dump fee.

99monguse
05-01-2009, 01:06 PM
I have read that dethatching your lawn actually does more damage than good because it can damage the healthy roots. You are mucuh better off aerating the lawn several times. You want to make multiple passes to the point where the holes are about 2-3 inches appart all over the lawn; this will de-thatch also.

betmr
05-01-2009, 02:56 PM
I have read that dethatching your lawn actually does more damage than good because it can damage the healthy roots. You are mucuh better off aerating the lawn several times. You want to make multiple passes to the point where the holes are about 2-3 inches appart all over the lawn; this will de-thatch also.

The idea is to adjust the Vertical Mower so it cuts the Thatch out, and does'nt cut so deep that you tear out the roots. They have to be set to the right depth.