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dethacher or Power rake??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by IslaMan, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. IslaMan

    IslaMan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Everybody is set to do spring clean-up. They talk about dethatching or power raking and use the terms interchangeably, to me they are 2 completely different machines. I am starting to look into buying instead of renting and would like to know is one better that the other and if so which one and what brand?
  2. underPSI

    underPSI LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

  3. travski

    travski LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    I always believed those terms were interchangeable. I stand corrected, But seriously, you can achieve dethatching using a power rake and setting the mower deck height very low.

    3" of thatch? What type of grass ever produces 3" of thatch!?
  4. IslaMan

    IslaMan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    I actually confused myself, the dethatcher & power rake are the same machine set at different heights and can use different blades / tines to achieve different results. The other machine I was referring to is a power broom (rotating bristles) that some are using to dethatch.
  5. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    dethatcher and power rake are the same types of machines.

    The difference is actually the service.

    Majority of people just do power rakes, which goes lightly into the thatch layer and removes the dead grass, and stands the grass up.

    A dethatch is going in and making sure the teeth dig into the soil to remove the thatch but you also remove good grass too. Dethatching is something you dont want to do. A good power rake and aeration will help to relieve the thatch. We push power raking and aeration in the spring and then aeration again in the fall.

    If you sell power rakes to customers each year, there is never a need to do a dethatch.
  6. Golfpro21

    Golfpro21 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    technically you dont want to dethatch very often, only on a lawn that has not been maintained for years, but I would use the term dethatch inadvertising, because people relate to that term (THEY DONT ALWAYS KNOW WHAT IS MEANS) but they bite at teh term when they see it in an ad
  7. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    that is true about the marketing. We market dethatching, however; we generally do power rakes. Which are fine for a lawn. IT really just stands the lawn up after being matted down all winter, gets rid of a minimal amoutn of thatch (opens up more ways for nutrients to reach the soil to seap into the roots) and removes and dead grass or debris that got tangled with the lawn.

    All of the lawns we have dethatched so far this year are ready for a mowing, the ones we havent, not so much.
  8. Alan0354

    Alan0354 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,450

    I have the Mantis with dethatching tine. It is spring loaded, not the flail?? type that beat up the grass. According the the description, this is a power rake......well mini power rake!!!:laugh: Not really a dethatcher, Is that correct?

    I doubt the Mantis is of any real use for you professionals, but I found it to be very good. It don't not beat up the lawn at all. The lawn looks good right away. I am sure it is slower that your real thing, but unless the power rake comes with vacuum also, it take more time to rake up the dead grass than for the Mantis to dig up the thatch. So the question is whether it is worthy to spend 3 time the money to get the dedicated power rake instead of a cheapy Mantis that can do other things like cultivating in tight space, edging etc. If you only do it once a while, maybe this is a cheaper route. It seems to be of high quality.

    I looked at the Bluebird, it is big and hard to store and hard to transport. Even with vacuum, you must have to empty the bag all the time because you have piles and piles of dead grass!!!!
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Other terms to distinguish between is, 'thatch' and 'dead grass' or what I call 'mulch'.

    But the real question is: How do you decide if a customer needs your power rake/dethatching service???
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    This is the type of statement in which people doublespeak and try to all things seem logical when they are not... (from your article)
    "We recommend power raking in the early spring before new growth has begun. Power raking is also a great service to combine with overseeding, as it opens the lawn surface so that new seed can get better established. Power raking is a great way to thicken up bentgrass lawns. Power raking slices the surface stolons and stimulates new growth, thickening the lawn...."

    Springtime "opens the lawn surface" for overseeding... No mention of pre-m
    Slices the surface stolons to stimulate new growth... Remember we are dealing with upto 3" of thatch and not even sure if it is real thatch or dead grass we are talking about here

    Truth is : alot more live grass plants will be ripped out in the spring than will be 'thickened' by neatly sliced stolons... That is why 'university ext. offices', recommend fall raking... :)

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