Tine-rake vs. power rake for dethatching

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by fiveoboy01, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Pros/cons of each?

    Tine rake(JRCO etc) doesn't pull up as much material, but I wonder if there is less soil disturbance? While the flail type power rake really pulls up the thatch but is it harder on the root system?

    I've used both and own one JRCO(ordering another for the Z), rented the power rake for small gates.

    What are your experiences with either? Is a power rake desirable for the extra thatch removal, or is a tine-rake style sufficient?
  2. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    depends on the job and grass. i would say in general the jrco is great, but if thatch is bad and you are going to overseed too,then power rake. i for one, have not used a power rake in like 8 yrs. no real need as there is normally not al lthat much thatch buildup a goo aeration cant handle. this is cool season grasses
  3. AzLawnMan

    AzLawnMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    I own to de-thatchers and I usually break them out twice a year. Once before I overseed and in the spring time when the summer grass starts to grow again. If you can afford it buy one. They are great machines and they last. I have had both of mine for around 10 years and they start on one pull everytime, no matter how long they have been sitting. I will be selling these this summer and buying 2 new ones.
  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I bought my Jrco tine rake dethatcher about 3 years ago (I think) and it paid for itself in the first day. Most of my customers like the tine rake much better since it isn't so agressive on the lawns, so that is actually a selling point around me. I've only had 1 person complain about it, but I wasn't going to go rent a power rake just to do one account. And the customer that complained was one that complained all year about stupid crap.

    But anyway, for me the tine rake is a much better investment, but for others the power rake would be better. I just like the tine rake since it isn't so agressive and I can use it while on the ztr, so I knock out accounts in the time it takes to mow.

    I should also add that the accounts I dethatch are done once a year by me, every spring.
  5. betmr

    betmr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,663

    I am absolutely amazed at how many "professionals" seem to think that De-Thatching is an on going maintenance procedure. The fact is, De-Thatching is something that is done, only when Thatch build up has become a problem. And a Vertical Mower is definitely the machine to do it. Of course there is a shock to the plants, but this is something that goes away, and the plants come back healthier after.

    It's kind of like pruning shrubs. You take out mostly old and dead branches, in order to direct energy to the younger stock.

    You De-Thatch every year, or every time you mow, you are taking away a lot of young healthy grass. De-Thatching should only be done when needed. So When needed, Rent a Vertical Mower and do it. Not run a tine rake over the lawn every time you mow.
  6. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Who said anything about doing it every time you mow?

    There are plenty of reputable sources that state yearly dethatching is an acceptable procedure... This "professional" will take their advice over yours.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  7. betmr

    betmr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,663

    Of course you can do what you wish. But the truth is, Thatch is something that builds up over time, and it is only necessary to De-Thatch when that build up gets to the point of restricting the flow of nutrients and water to the soil.

    And I also could get a hair cut every day, or I can get it cut when It needs it. The choice is mine, right? It's the old saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    And while I have some attention, I would like someone to explain to me how, not mowing properly, contributes to Thatch build up. I keep reading that everywhere I see a thread on Thatch.

    P.S. Five, how 'bout you share these reputable sourses with us. I would be interested to see who thinks it's a good thing to rip up turf Rizomes & Stolons every year.
  8. AzLawnMan

    AzLawnMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    It is recommened to de-thatch your lawn(s) about once every 2 years. But depending on the type of grass and the enviroment that you are in it can be done 1-2 times per year. St. Aug, Kentucky Blue and Bermuda grasses are some of the few that will build up alot of thatch during a regular season. The only way to really know is to take a sample of the turf and ground. The same way you would aerate a lawn, you want to make the plug around 3-4 inches long if the top part of the plug is longer than 1/2-3/4 of an inch in thatch then you would need to de-thatch. A trained eye can do this just by pulling up some of the soil by hand. Like I said before, I do all of my lawns twice per year. Once in the spring, and once when I over seed. I have never had any problems in the 10 years I have been doing this. It is very important that after you thatch that you fertilize the lawn to replace the nutrients you have just removed.
  9. Landscraper1

    Landscraper1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Southeastern Ma.
    Messages: 753

    This is the question asked right? Not when you should do it but which rake is better right?
    Well, in my experience the JRCO rake is good for a light dethatching. It's pretty much good for doing the spring cleanups. You pass over the grass and it will do as much as a hand leaf rake will do, but faster. And it won't bust those sprinkler heads.
    For a real good "dethatching" you need to use the power rake. It takes much longer but, definitly does a better job.
    I personally use the JRCO rake every spring. The power rake is used only if there is a thatch problem or for overseeding. Most of my lawns, we collect the clippings so, build up of thatch is not usually a problem.:)
  10. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Someone who understood the question:) Thanks.

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