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Ryan Overseeder leaving major clumps of thatch


LawnSite Member
Carver, MA
Hi guys,

I've been meaning to ask this for a while - last season I renovated a number of lawns using a Ryan overseeder. Prior to using the slit-seeder I dethatched the entire area with a Parker dethatcher (not too impressed with it). But still after each pass with the Ryan, I was leaving a pile of thatch at the end of each row, and quite a bit strawn all over the newly overseeded area.

So, I was wondering if any of you who have used the Ryan have experienced this thatchy phenomenon - and particularly, what you did to solve it.

Any input appreciated.

Oh, and the Ryan is a great machine, but what a monster to operate - huh?


LawnSite Platinum Member
What a great thread...well at least this has been a question on my mind as well. I use the Jacobsen slit seeder. Very high dollar and effective machine. I have done many of jobs with this machine and never once was called back to a job or went to go back and look at a job. Well, I did a full-time customer of mine and noticed the thatch brought to the surface was killing the existing grass underneath it....so I thought. Did this last fall and the lawn looks much better this spring. The homeowner even complimented me on a job well done, but I did notice areas here and there that still had some dead spots.

How high did you cut the grass before running it over with your Parker? I have been thinking of doing the same also. I want to try scalping, dethatching and they putting on the spring tine rake on the Walker before sucking it all up.....then go over with the overseeder.

Any other comments on the subject?


LawnSite Member
We've had problems with our over-seeder pulling up thatch. We were wondering why theres so much thatch pulled up. But lo' and behold a couple weeks ago i was over seeding a yard and on the sack of seed it said to mow the lawn at 1- 1.5" before over seeding. It hink that would suck up most of the thatch that owul dbe pulled up. Anything thing big left after that could just behand raked.


LawnSite Member
Carver, MA
I only mowed it down to 2" in this case and did not add any topdressing prior to slit seeding. My experience has been that spreading a thin layer of loam prior to slit-seeding has produced better results than slit-seeding only.

In this case we were working on a tight budget and could'nt go that route. Still curious why the Ryan or any other professional slit seeder pulls up more thatch than a dethatcher. Oh, and my Parker was at its' lowest setting.

Better luck next time I hope


LawnSite Bronze Member
Central Illinois
Dethatchers do not go as deep as a slit seeder and I believe some of them have flail style blades. (swing out of the way when they hit some resistance) Most of the de thatchers turn the same direction as the wheels and this allows the machine to propel it's self (sometimes). I believe in true slit seeder the knives drive the opposite way which is why they have drive wheels. Slit seeder blades are solid and are driven forward into the soil 1/4 inch deep. This rips out the entire plant in front of the blade, hence the large amount of (thatch). I have an old ryan and it is a pain in the butt.