What is the best way to De-thatch AND re-seed?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    WHat is the best way to use those de-thatching machines ( also known as power rakes, I think). I want to re-seed or over-seed too and heard that some do that also. So do they drop the seed under the removed thatch right after raking it or is this a whole other process which u must go around the yard again AFTER raking up the thatch and then put the seed down? It would be nice to be able to kill 2 birds with 1 one stone. I've seen em for $40/day to rent, is this a good price? Are they pretty simple to use or should I practice first. I'm figuring on charging around $250 for 1 customer which has about 1/4 acre with a lot of obstacles and lots of dethatching needed. I'm doing dethatching and over-seeding, is this too much $ or about right? ANd how long should it take on avg. Another question is, what is the best way to collect the thatch? Should I just rake it and put in trash bags manually, go over it with my 21 inch mower with bagger, or suck it up with my blower vac? I have a 36 inch scag but no bag yet and they are expensive. I think the metal grass container is around $200 or more but the bag for it is less I'm sure, but the 36 would be faster than the 21 I'm sure.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    well uhm it's de-thatch THEN re-seed.

    Much else I don't know, I'm from the core aeration school.
  3. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Well I understand I'll have to remove the thatch first so that the seed will have contact with the soil, but these machines are supposed to have a over-seeding attatchment. I'm wondering if it will drop the seed at the same time, underneath the thatch or will I have to make one trip around dethatching and another over-seeding?
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Yes,...slit seeders do that BUT,... if you have a large build up of thatch or dead surface grass, it is recommended that this grass is removed, first. Then, the machine is run over again for the slitseeding. An idea for this also, is ALWAYS mow the grass down low first for two reasons. First, you will have MUCH less grass left over laying on top to remove, and second, it opens the surface up more to needed light which is necessary to germination. When it is mowed down low first, in normal conditions, it is unnecessary to pick anything up afterwards. Te little bit of thatch layer on top doesn't interfere with the germination and actually helps the moisture retention. This is only under normal conditions without excess thatch buildup - as stated earlier.
  5. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Well if I'm dethatching, will it remove much of the living grass? And if say a 1/4 acre home is about 1/2 thatch, how many bags are we talking I'm going to have to fill up? And is it faster to use a rake to pick it up or use a mower with a bagger?
  6. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Can anyone tell me how long it takes to dethatch?

    1/6 acre
    1/4 acre
    1/2 acre ?????

  7. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Is anyone doing this or is it easier and more effective to just aerate and overseed???
  8. a_cut_above

    a_cut_above LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Go with aeration which has 2 benifits. The soil from the plug helps break down the thatch layer, and the hole allows oxygen, water, and nutrients down into the root system promoting healthy growth. If thatch is the problem I would explain to the customer that yearly aeration/overseeding will benefit their lawn more in the long run that straight dethatching.

    I've seen guys in this area dethatch in the spring using riding mowers with a tow behind rake/tine implement. They go over the lawn 4 to 5 times which rakes up the thatch. They then plow the thatch into piles, bag it, and haul it off. The whole process takes approx 2 hrs for a 1/4 acre lot.

    Hope this helps
  9. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    What if the lawn is mostly good but just have a bunch of spots? Do u dethatch the spots only ( where thatch is built up) or do u go over the entire lot? This woman specifically requested dethatching ( and not aeration). I will mention this to her, but I'm afraid she me not understand, she's like 99 or something.

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