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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KD'sLawns, Apr 30, 2001.
What exactly is a power rake and does it work good?
A power rake is a motorized dethatcher. It works by spinning a shaft that has metal teeth (fixed or flail) perpendicular to the soil surface. The teeth dig into the thatch layer and remove as much or as little thatch as desired, depending on the adjustment.
Do they work? Yes, but they will not (in my experience) remove a really built up layer of thatch. I would use aeration for that.
If you need more info, just ask.
Oh, yes they will remove a really heavy layer of thatch.
I have a Jacobsen unit that uses the rectangular shaped flails. Call it a dethatcher, vertical mower or whatever. It will clean right down to the dirt. If you adjust the height just right it will remove all the thatch right down to the dirt and leave "most" of the healthy grass standing. The only problem is that afterwards you have a lot of thatch to clean up. I use a Walker mower to vacumn the yard afterwards and you would be amazed how much is removed from the lawn.
On some lawns in the fall I use the dethatcher and adjust it so that it actually breaks the surface of the ground some. Does a great job when overseeding without core aerating. I have machines to do both but prefer to use the dethatcher.
All my experience has been on Fescue so I have no idea how it works on other grasses.
Thanks guys, I plan on using it on fescue. I will see if one of our rental centers have one and just rent it to see how I like it. I appreciate the info.
Your rental centers should have them. Make sure you wear a dust mask, you're going to need it...
I recently purchased a Bluebird Dethatcher equiped with a bagger, the bags fills up fast but it sure beats raking or blowing the thatch onto a tarp. See if you can rent one of them it is a model F400.
Cleve, sorry but I guess I don't like to use my rake as a rototiller! Yes, they can get down to the soil, but the damage that they do to the turf is not (IMHO) worth it. I am working with Kentucky Bluegrass/Red fescue mixes mostly, which can get thatch layers 3" thick.
Alan, If you have thatch 3" thick, you have major problems. The Fescue I'm working with is a turf blend and contains all that you mention. I have never seen thatch that thick around here. That much thatch would choke out any healty turf around here. And, I don't use the rake as a tiller either. Please note that I just touch the surface of the soil. Usually leaves any healthy turf standing. You can tell by looking at what is piled on top of the turf after the rake goes past. If properly adjusted will just be dead thatch. And in the fall just break the surface and it will be perfect for overseeding.