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Power Raking - Pros and Cons

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Smartgene, May 16, 2002.

  1. Smartgene

    Smartgene LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62

    I know a lot of folks are very anti power raking. How many of you power rake - how many of you are against it?
  2. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,249

    I for one am against it in most situations. To give you an example of why I am anti. Yesterday I went to mow a lawn that is usually an early in the season green and growing nice looking lawn. Yest was the first mowing for it, and even then it only really needed a trim job around the edges. Power raking was very evident. It kinda made me mad because here I am loosing $$ because they power raked and this lawn will take another couple of weeks before it gets to growing enough to need mowed every week. After seeing the same thing several years ago on a lot of the lawns I raked I decided that it wasn't needed for the most part. I have lawns that have NEVER been power raked, they look just fine.
    In this area I know I am beating my head against a wall. MOST of the other lcos power rake simply for the early season $$ they get from it. And many of the home owners think it is the only way to go. They look at all the dead grass that gets pulled up and think man I must really be doing my lawn a lot of good, not realizing, or listening to me when I tell them that they NEED some of that to help hold moisture, especially in a dry year like this one. (We have had no rain yet this year.)
    It irritates me to no end to see people doing so much harm to their lawns. To say nothing of the $$ I am loosing because their lawn will take so long to get growing good. Revenue that I need in this already VERY short season. This season will be LESS than a 20 mowing season. A bunch of my lawns haven't been mowed yet for the first time.
  3. southside

    southside LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 790

    This is known as dethatching over here. Mostly used on low
    stolonising grasses like couch,to reduce the amount of thatch
    or dead grass. Doing this increases the amount of moisture available to the soil and plant root structure. It also increases the
    amount of airflow at ground level,thereby allowing faster drying
    times after heavy rain. Dethatching is only done occasionally here
    if at all.
  4. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 738

    Dethatching, power raking or verti-cutting (all be the same/similar) is a good cultural practice to employ if the turf requires it. Pull a soil plug and look at the profile of the soil to see if you have thatch build up. If so, dethatch and spot seed thin areas there after. Simply dethatching for the sake of it on a lawn that does not need it can cause stress and long term damage. Consider the environmental and site conditions when getting ready to dethatch.

    U Conn abstract on thatch and it's control:

  5. musselman

    musselman LawnSite Senior Member
    from utah
    Posts: 301

    I was losing alot of money each year because I dont power rake...I tell people that proper aeration in most cases will do the soil more good than a power rake and lawns need thatch. I do however tell them if the thatch is to thick to power rake, this is 1/2 inch or thicker, to get it done. But I am in this buisness to make money so what Ive done was buy a spring tine dethacher for my walker, it does not do the damage of a power rake, it get alot of dead out of the grass so it looks good when Im done and the custmer is happy to see the dead grass coming out. It also leaves enough thatch on the lawn to help hold moisture in and keep the sun off the bare ground, It is eaay to use and the clean up is done as you go by engageing the blades as you dethach, I also sell it as a free mow job when I dethach. This is my first year doing this and the customers love it. It also picks up all the old wet leaves that where left over the winter, and other small debris on the lawn. A great way to do things make some money and please the custmer without destoying there lawn. I would only power rake in extreme cases, or if the customer insists after I explain the pros and cons to them.
  6. j.kelley

    j.kelley LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I power rake when the lawn needs it. You can tell when a lawn really needs it, they are not growing like they should, I have a few customers that I have that needed to be power raked, but it is late in the season for it. I will hit them early in the year next spring. It helps, I have had several very satisfied customers in the past. They will swear by it.
  7. lars

    lars LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    Dethatching is a practice you may have to do if the lawn requires it. Thatch is the buildup of dead roots, stolons etc. It is more present in kblue and fine fescues than tall fescues and ryes. Excess thatch will keep moisture from hitting roots and can make grass more susceptable to disease. Some thatch is good as it can keep moisture in. Aeration will remove some thach but veritcutting in two directions does even a better job. I would dethatch yards if they needed it and overseed with some ryegrass varites. Using a mataway with an overseeder is even a better idea. Also keep the fert down as excess can cause thatch.

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