I need a thatcher! Where do I go?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by EliteLC, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. EliteLC

    EliteLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I need a thatcher / power rake. I have looked around at stores.. don't feel like spending over a grand right now because I can't.

    I can rent one and line up my clients which I will most likely do... $65.00 for 24 hrs.

    Are attachments for the rear (rock guard) a good way to go? Do they work okay? I would put it on a Honda commercial walk behind, I have two mowers.

    I heard to check out golf courses, see if they are selling off equipment and they probably take good care of their equipment.

    Any recommendations?
  2. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    Def. rent one first before you buy. They are a PITA. Make sure you let your clients know this is a trial thing and may not be offered latter if you go this route. It's labor and it's dirty. Plus if you have any small dips or humps in the lawn it will tear it up, soil and all. If you can I'd recommend a JRCO unit on the front of your walk behind, esp. if you have a bagger. Then you can pick it up as you remove it. One less step. Less damage to the turf. Charge the same money.
  3. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Do the work when you have a few dry days in a row. Dry moss is fluffy and lighter than soggy wet moss
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    The Bluebird and the Husky have the option of a Spring Tine bar vs. just regular full throttle flail blades plus the delta seeder bar.

    The spring tines are meant to basically comb the loose debris out of lawn and are less aggressive than flail blades. This works more thoroughly than the front mount on a ZTR with 3 rows and is worth more.

    My experience is the power raking crowd is hard to please. You didn’t take out enough because the last guy hauled off 17 trash bags -or- you took out to much and scorched my lawn. :hammerhead:

    I frankly prefer low mowing and bag the clippings when conditions are dry to get rid of the loose debris with high lift or G5/G6 Oregon gators. There far less damage to the crowns of the grass and in my limited testing last spring the grass recovers faster with allow mow versus a moderately aggressive Spring Tine power rake.
  5. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Imho opinion I would never charge the same price with a "power rake" attachment on zero turns. Mainly because it is just a rake attachment that you put in front/ behind the zero turn, based on my experienced, it does a shitty job compared to a real bluebird dethatcher.

    With the JRCO attachment you will be pulling a small amount of thatch, since it is only rake. A real de thatcher will have around 24+ flail blades that will spin extremely fast that will rake way more thatch then the zero turn attachement.
  6. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    +1. Very true.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    As you can probably guess I disagree with this. It may depend on the geography as to which works best. I'm not trying to offend anyone just give my experiences. Here in the NW I go over a property two different directions at a good clip with a 60" unit while picking up and removing very close to the same amount with less disturbance to the soil by far. It's scratching the surface so it's dirty as well but not to the same extreme, esp since my bagger is behind me. Total equipment cost is more, $13k mower, $700 rake, $3100 bagger, plus additional fuel, but a lot less dirty physical labor and tons faster/more efficient. The only time I use my Blue Bird is when I need to, such as a gated area that I can't fit my large machine in. I can do roughly 150% more with my large unit in 8 hrs. and charge the same. A 1.5 acre lawn with typical landscape may take me 2 hrs. and I could fill 2.5-3 eight foot pickup beds with the thatch I pull. If I tried to use my Blue Bird I'd bet I'd be there 6-8 hrs. This means I could go on and do another 3-4 yards that day with my big unit. Another down side to my Blue Bird it the damage to the turf. Again it may be due to my area, but when set correctly, so only lightly hitting the dirt, it will remove sod in chunks when a high spot is hit. Watch the dirt fly! Looks terrible. This will not happen with a rake system to this degree. Only places a rake has made an area look worse is if there is a large spot of moss, this it will lift right out (my area again). I have both. I need both. I use both. Again I'd recommend lining up a days worth of work and rent one and see how it does for you . If it fits the bill by all means buy one. If not consider a system like JRCO offers for the mower you already own. I hope this helps.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012

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