Should I dethatch?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by C Cutters, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. C Cutters

    C Cutters LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Thanks for your response to my last post guys...heres another one. I guy just called me today and asked about dethatching his yard, wanting to know if I could do it. First off, I ever never dethatched a yard before. In fact, I barely know what it is. Should I take this job (in other words, is dethatching simple and is it easy to learn.) I'm kind of thinking I should steer away from this, but what do ya'll think, and if yes, what do you normally charge? Thanks all!
  2. C Cutters

    C Cutters LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    First, there is dethatching, and there is power raking. Big difference between the two. Dethatching is the removal of material- organic matter - both alive and dead, that is both surface and sub-surface. The best thing to do, is know if it actually needs dethatching. In most cases, turf does NOT need to be dethatched. Once in a great while, we will run across turf that does. A little research on actual thatch will give you valuable info about what is needed. There are even some good threads on here explaining what it is and how to determine the need (a bit in depth).
    Then, there is power raking. This is not as in depth as actual dethatching, and is usually done with spring type tines that comb out the turf, rather than knives that cut down harder to dig into the subsurface. Power raking merely loosens and brings to the top some of the dead grass that is laying on the surface, and combs and lifts the plants. The con of doing this in the spring, is that while you are removing dead material out of the turf, because the turf is still weak rooted and not firmly gripped in the ground because it is not all the way out of dormancy, you are pulling up many of the good rhizomes which later on would be perfectly healthy. The pluses are, that you DO loosen up and remove some unhealthy grass. A good seller is that dig get an instant green up because you are removing so much brown grass (which is a "false reading"). Also. shortly after that, since all the grass is combed out (including matted leaves and such), sunlight hits more of the blades - expediting the green up process. It is a dirty job, but relatively easy to do, and it does earn some early income. Now, just a note...with actual dethatching, you will get about 4 to 5 times the amount of material out of the lawn than you will with power raking.
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    If I'm not mistaken isnt there a liquid product for this ?
  5. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    Don't dethatch or power rake until the ground is dry or you take the chance of removing the lawn along with the thatch. Make sure you customer has a place for the thatch that is removed or you have a place to take it to. Dethatching creates a big mess so alow time for the cleanup. Like whats said above, power raking may be what you need to do instead of dethatching.
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Yes, there are several products out there designed to do this...emphasizing the word "designed" to do this. They have enzymes and such that are supposed to promote the breakdown of the organic material. Unfortunately, these products are very limited at best in actual results. Sure, you'll get the organic lovers that will chime in saying how great this product is or tat product is, but the truth of the matter is, there hasn''t been one put out yet that actually works. The concept is there, the results are not. Mechanical is the way to go. Another method of thatch relief is plain aeration. This method, by taking the plugs out, removes that thatch involved with the plug itself - which then can break up and decompose on the surface with the plug that breaks up and disperses. The real relief of the thatch with plugging happens over time, though. As the holes close back up and the soil expands, it pulls the thatch apart some, and allows the thatch layer to more readily decompose.

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