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When to dethatch

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by FL&G, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. FL&G

    FL&G LawnSite Member
    from R.I.
    Messages: 91

    Most of the turf books I have been reading say that cool season grasses should be dethatched in the fall. Why do most people do it in the spring? Myself included, if the customer wants it I'm going to do it.
  2. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    I'm sure somebody will correct me if there is a better reason, but I think it has to do with weed seed germination. You are at a much higher risk of getting weeds in the lawn if you dethatch in the spring. Plus it will destroy the pre emergence barrier if you put one down before dethatching.

  3. Shawns Lawns

    Shawns Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 638

  4. David Grass

    David Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    most customers just think "spring is for planting", and doing any other number of things. I do have certain lawns that do better in the spring tho, because of all the oak trees putting down leaves so late into the fall. Fall is best, but lets face it, spring works good too.
  5. lawnlubber

    lawnlubber LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    I power rake not really dethatch but anyway I do it in spring for 2 reasons. 1 if I overseed and it doesn't "take" I get another shot in the fall. 2 If there is much growth at all on the plants the process tends to shred them up kind of badly. In the fall I aerate not dethatch, it is less damaging to the actively growing plants. In the spring, when new growth is too short to cut, they tolerate it much better.
  6. Five Diamond Lawns

    Five Diamond Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    I have dethatched for years. Hate doing it because of the damage it does to the turf but sometimes it's necessary and if done correctly you make $100 per hour.
    I do it mostly in the spring. Most customers only think and call about it when they are starting out the season or dealing with a moss problem. Weeds have never concerned me, improve the turf then worry about the weeds.
    Normally I dethatch, then aerate, fertilize, seed, and if necessary put ether topsoil over the bad spots of pet moss to keep in the moisture.
  7. cenlo

    cenlo LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 322

    What's the difference, a power rake is a dethatcher.
  8. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Are you guys really doing that much dethatching and powerraking? I have only had to powerrake one lawn in 25 years. A powerraking is an extremely destructive procedure.

    Is this your power rake? [​IMG]

    Or are you using a small walk behind with knives like this?

    Or are you just using some kind of gas powered spring or flail rake? Many call this power raking or dethatching, but it is a gross misnomer, for it does nothing about thatch. The gas powered flail type of raking in the spring is just a make work function to get up cash flow. A month after it's done, you can't tell the difference between raked and unraked areas. Except for the extra weeds growing in the parts you raked - because you have disturbed and exposed so much of the soil surface to light, up to 5 times as many weeds will successfully germinate in spring or fall flail raked areas.

    Many people confuse the bit of dead grass blades with thatch. Cleaning these out is only cosmetic, for they would decay shortly. Besides, there are always dead grass blades on the surface, for the average bluegrass leaf only lives 4-6 weeks.
  9. cenlo

    cenlo LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 322

    That is a vertislicer, it is used in conjunction with a seed box to overseed.
  10. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    Spring is big for both dethatching and aerating due to the $$$. Most full timers are coming out of a long winter w/ no income. The part timers can make some decent $$$ and get the capitol rolling in. I would say it is best done in the fall.

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