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Re: Dethatch or Powerake

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by fall46, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. fall46

    fall46 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    I would like to overseed this fall but would like someone to clarify whether a power rake would successfully prepare my existing lawn which is thin/bare in a few spots for seeding. Whats appealing about renting a powerake is in other areas it has a thin layer of thatch. Or would you need a dethacther for thin areas which I understand would penetrate the surface deeper. What's confusing is a power rake blades seem to be adjustable in terms of how far they can penetrate into the surface. Which if true it seems a power rake would be the more sensible of the two as I could be set high enough to dethacth and yet low enought to prep the surface for seeding. I guess my question is will a powerake on its lowest setting scar the surface enough to overseed, or would a dethatcher be necessary ( which will tear the hell out of the lawn)
  2. indyturf

    indyturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 1,901

    I would go over it with a core aerator twice, then use a slit seeded to over-seed in a couple different directions. it will be a lot less work than thatching and you will get great results.
  3. fall46

    fall46 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    That would mean having to rent 2 machines....Although we took this approach when starting from scratch @ my Dads house and got great results. I have a lot of dead grass in some areas that needs to be rake out so the power rake option I liked the question is a few areas couldn't I just drop it lower to scar the surafce?
  4. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,163

    I would go with Indyturf's rec. If you do what he says you won't have to worry about raking up the dead grass. Just core twice, interseed several directions and water. The dead grass will work as a mulch or straw and will help hold moisture

    I would rent the two pieces of equipment and do it right! Maybe get a quote from someone as it might not cost much more to have it done professionally and you can sit back and sip on a glass of cold iced tea!

    How big of an area is it?
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    I'm sorry. I disagree that both methods are actually necessary to "do it right". I have done both methods, and have has great success with slit seeding for several years.
    To answer your question about the difference between an actual dethatcher (knife type), and a power rake (mine are the spring tine type), I would say it would be advantageous to consider the soil type ahead of time. If it is harder soil, then the knife type may work better. I have used the power rake type for prepping seed areas in most conditions, and it has worked just fine. All you need to do is just scratch the surface. Actually, you can put your seed down first, then run the power rake (or dethatcher). This mixes the seed right into the prepped areas in one step You have to add seed to the outer edges afterward, because as you stop the machine, at the end, it kicks all the seed out of that area. Also, as a matter of fact, with a knifeblade type dethatcher, when you put the seed down first, you are actually performing the same task that a slitseeder does. You are just doing it in separate steps, is all. As far as the amount of grass being left on top afterward, I don't know if you are spraying it off ahead of time, or what, but any existing grass needs to be cut real low first. This does two things...It allows more light in to reach the seeds, and it eliminates all that excess chaff you end up with on top. Hit it with your starter twice like you did before, and you will get the same results you got before.
    It is funny. I just replied on another post from a homeowner a few minutes ago that has had a bad result from a hydroseeding, and when I gave him my advice, I was thinking of you- and here you are.
    good luck with it.
  6. fall46

    fall46 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    Thanks Runner as always,,,,,u know my brain.....it will come up with more questions soon!!!!!!!!!! FYI no spraying of Round Up, the grass is already dead....
  7. westwind

    westwind LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    I could not agree more with Runner's advice. Could not have said it better myself, so there's no sense trying.
  8. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,163

    I am assumng there is a dead layer or thatch layer in the lawn.

    I agree with Runner if you don't have a thatch layer or dead layer...but if you are looking at lawns like I am there is 3/4 to 1" thatch and dead layer and I don't think a slice seeder will work by itself ( IMO anyway). You will barely penetract the thatch layer with a small slice seeder!

    If you don't get agressive and get seed to soil contact you will get a poor germ, especially if you don't keep it watered.

    I run a Landpride OS1548 (picture above) and if there is a heavy thatch I will go over it the first time without seeding (using it as a dethatcher) and then seed in two directions. This think had straight blade knives on the front, drops the seed, and then has a cultipacker on the back. Rig is sweet!

    But I also aerate and overseed just as much. It just depends on the lawns condition.

    If you are only going to be using a little Slice Seeder, I am not sure how it will do by itself (if you have a bad thatch). You are not dealing with a lot of weight and they dont go very deep.

    If you don't have much thatch and dead material to deal with you will probably be ok, otherwise I would definitly aerate or disturb it to where you get to the soil.
  9. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    I FULLY agree. When there is a layer of thatch like that, a true dethatching (or good aerating) is in order. And if you run a slitseeder over it, you are just opening the thatch up a bit and putting the seed down into it. I think the last phrase of the the last post sums it up best, though.
    "If you don't have much thatch and dead material to deal with you will probably be ok".
  10. turfnh2oman

    turfnh2oman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Overall a power rake is best. Set on lowest setting and go over area 2-4 diferent directions. This will not only remove existing turf and thatch but till / pulverize the soil to a depth of about 3/4"-1" depth. Hand rake out the "fluff" and at the same time you'll be surface grading / leveling the soil. You will have a perfect seedbed. Make sure to roll the seed in and not cover it. If the area was not too thin to begin with use the "fluff" you raked off as mulch. You can also choose to spray / kill with Glyphosphate first, or not. The "fluff" makes an excellent mulch as it is lightweight and if you kill it off first there's no weed seed in it. Comes out alot better than straw. Remember to keep moist throughout germ period and beyond. :)

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