dethatch/power rake methods????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by scott in the soo, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. scott in the soo

    scott in the soo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 121

    for the last 4 years i have manually raked my customers lawns.. this year i will be going to a dethatcher/power rake..

    1. what is the quickest and best method for using a dethatcher?? ( i have heard and seen guys follow the dethatcher with a 21 bagger mower to pick up the thatch afterwards.. is that a good way..

    2. do you reccomend a bagging dethatcher??

    please respond
     
  2. Triple L

    Triple L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 507

    I use my walker with the dethatcher attachment, works great, everything in one pass, I also use the push mower attachment for yards with small gates. Works alright but you still have to go over it with the rake to pick everything up. Never used an actual dethatcher machine
     
  3. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,889

    I use a JRCO attatchment on the front of my ztr with a bagger.
     
  4. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 457

    tha attachements on the front of a mower are a good way to do the same job as raking without all of the hard manual work.

    If you are using a power rake, make sure you are well paid because thay do a very good jub, but generate alot of debris to clean up.
     
  5. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,308

    Different locations may have different needs or requirements. If the other culturial practices are in place powerraking should not be neccesary. Just mowing 1/2 inch lower than your summer height should be enough prep for the season. With that being said, if a lawn actually needs thatching, two raking directions followed by hand raking to pick up debris and then mowing\bagging are neccesary to get this amount of debris up. Some may have a better method, I would not know, as I have not had to thatch a lawn in over ten years.
     
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Hi Scott,

    I am not going to go on and on in this post but I am gonna try and answer some of your concerns. This topic is a very busy one on this board and although I can steer you to many posts about it I will give you the shorter version specifically dealing with your post.

    I see that you are interested in making the lawn look good and not truly dethatching as to truly dethatch would be a highly destructive process on an unhealthy lawn.
    The word dethatch is a misnomer in the true sence but I will continue to use it for this post along with power rake.
    If you are planning to buy or rent a walk behind power rake it has to be the one with spring tines (basically pieces of wire that spin around). Some are equipped with flail blades or knives that are used to destroy true thatch. The walk behind units do a nice job of lifting and fluffing up the lawn however they will generate a significant amount of material. Much more than is necessary for a quality job in my opinion but to each his own. Your goal then is to remove this debris from the lawn so it looks nice. Easy sounding but hard to do unless you have a bagging machine that you RIDE on. It can be a garden tractor or a ZTR but if you use a 21"wb you will literally move 1 foot and have to empty. You will hate the fact that you took the job. A bagging dethatcher will get you a couple more feet but you will still be emptying ALOT.

    I do over 100 "dethatches" every spring and I am a solo operator who is not as some say "full time". I have dethatched yards that are 3 acres as well as those that are 3000 sq ft. I cannot take a long time doing a job.
    The homeowner wants the lawn to look nice. I always check the lawn to make sure that the lawn is healthy enough for a "power raking". I use a Walker mower and its spring tine rake. The lawn is worked up, the rake is taken off and the debris is vacuumed up. Very simple, quick and efficient. I have done over 1000 dethatchings in my 10 years and have had zero complaints.
    I started with a garden tractor and a pull behind Agri-Fab dethatcher. It was crude and slower than the Walker but it got results. The one thing I never did was collect with a 21"Wb.
    If you want more info on any of this please PM me and I will gladly go on and on for pages. Thanks for getting the juices flowing again down here, I'd imagine that you don't get going until late April hey? Take care.
     
  7. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 963

    Scott,

    What type of grass are you dethatching? I used to do bermudagrass/fescue yards whenever it was needed and it is a MESSY job. I found it best to use a billygoat vacuum to pick up the debris. It was not uncommon to get (20) 33 gal trash cans worth of crap out of 1 yard. We were able to dump on site so it was not as hard as having to haul away. Like the previous post said, it is very destructive on turf. I have always found aerating to be benificial. If you try to power rake a yard that has been suffering for a while, the results might not be what you want. I would sell them on aerating (2 times if needed) spring and fall.
     
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    If you are referring to the Bluebird model with the catcher, I would not pay the extra money. It will fill up way too quick. I have the Bluebird model, but with no catcher. I get a lot of request in the spring for dethatching and you will be surprised how much debris is generated. I also have the spring tines that MOWED has for the Walker...it does a great job.
     
  9. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    I have gotten away from power raking recently in favor of aeration. However, if you are going to do it, you should know it will leave the lawn in rough shape after. And it will create a whole lotta dibris. I use my blowers after to put the dead grass in bigger piles to pick up.
     
  10. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    We use an agri-fab pull behind unit. If I recall it's around 40" wide. We attach it to the back of a 18 horse ride-on lawn mower. Not the most "professional" looking thing...but it does do an excellent job, IMHO. We make two passes in the yard one perpendicular to the other. We then attach the triple bagger to the lawn mower. We'll then follow that by bagging with the WB.
     

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