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What are you guys using to de-thatch?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by merrimacmill, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    Just wondering what everyone is using to de-thatch lawns. I've never done a de-thatching. I've seen the walk behind de-thatchers, and those little small tine tow behind rakes which look more geared towards homeowner use.

    But I also came across this idea, using a front mount rotary broom for de-thatching. What do you guys think about how this would work? Would have some other uses as well like snow, sweeping hard surfaces, and maybe even leaves??

  2. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,777

    I am thinking that would not be stiff enough to remove thatch. If you notice all of the thatch removers...they all have blades.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Around here we really don't hit the ground hard with anything until June or so. Reason being the grass tears out by the roots so easily in the spring.

    If your thatch is not too bad and you are up for experimentation, try spreading sugar or molasses or something like that and get the thatch to turn into grass food for you.
  4. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,228

    Perhaps you may want to look into core aeration in lieu of dethatching. There have been some good threads on here explaining the advantages of aeration over dethatching.
  5. yungman

    yungman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Calif.
    Messages: 1,274

    How about Mantis dethatcher? I have seen video on U Tube that people using Mantis to do it. It looked fast enough.
  6. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    I always thought that people did both dethaching and aeration. I was thinking about buying a 48inch to 60 inch plug aerator for my compact tractor instead of one of those walk behinds.
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    1st of all, what type of grass do you have in your lawns, predominately ?

    If yes...then you may need a dethatcher at some point.
    But annual aeration, or even aeration done spring and fall, can help prevent the thatch from building up to the point that which 'dethatching' would be needed.

    Tall Fescue?
    If yes...You never need to dethatch; because fescue doesn't create RHIZOMES (fancy word for underground 'rooting stems' that can create thatch).
    Annual aeration is needed.

    If yes...You never need to dethatch...just aeration.
    Probably yearly overseeding too.

    Aeration does much more than reduce thatch.
    It helps relieve compaction.
    It helps reduce "sheet wash" during watering.
    It helps improve the interface in turf / root nutrient exchange.
    It helps to improve the DEPTH of the turfs roots, if done *correctly

    *Don't let "El-cheapo Lawn Care Co." tell you any different !!!
    A properly aerated lawn is recognizable standing from the neighbor's yard, two houses away !!!
  8. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    The lawns we own are bluegrass. I've been looking at getting an 3 PT aerator for my compact tractor for doing aeration.

    But back to the rotary broom, I've been tossing around the idea of one of those for our JD L110 for sweeping our parking lot, sweeping excess sand/salt off our lot. But then I noticed it being advertised as a dethatcher and I also wondered if it would be good for yard clean ups.
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    How long have the bluegrass lawns around your facility been established ?

    Would you say the fertilization program (that certainly is in place there, based on the pics from the website ) is "aggressive", "unsatisfactory" or just "satisfactory" in terms of how the turf responds throughout the year, from your perspective ?

    And have you gotten down on your hands and knees, and checked for thatch depth at a FEW different spots at your facility ?
    How thick is the ACTUAL thatch layer...on average ???

    (A soil probe is nice for this purpose...but not completely necessary. Just use a hand trowel that you'd use to plant flowers, if you don't have a stainless steel soil probe)
  10. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    Well on one of our resi properties its been here for going on 7 years. At the commercial building you see on our website, its been there for 15 or so... Same goes with the other two of our resi properties. We've never dethatched or aerated. I haven't really checked the thatch, but from what I recall is about a half inch. Its covered in a foot of snow right now, so no way of telling for awhile.

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