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Will the JRCO detatcher work for this?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JLC, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. JLC

    JLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from IA
    Messages: 467

    I've got a lawn that got grub damage this fall and is going to need a major renovation next year. Customer didn't call until the damage was done and it is nasty. The lawn has about 1 inch of thatch in the areas that were hit. Will a tine dethatcher pick this much thatch out of the turf?
  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    No dethatcher of any kind will remove this material. If it does, it will remove the remaining lawn. This is why I think dethatching is a joke and a disservice to sell to the client.

    Multiple pass core aeration with broadcast seeding or aeration & slit seed is the only way to go.

    I did side by side test plots this fall with slit seed (no aeration) and with aeration and broadcast seed and you essentially can't tell the difference in results 90 days later.
  3. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899


    You may just have to remove these areas i root system is totally gone. Unfortunately if it is as bad as yousay, it is a lot of work and you may nees some soilto replace the bare areas too. I disagree w/ Fox's opinion on thatching not being aviable service. Actually, slit seeding (also known as veticutting or vertipacking) is very rarely used anymore. What I recommend is to thatch bi-directionally, clean-up debris, then aerate 1-2X's and overseed at approx. 5-8 lbs. seed per 1000 SF.

    Good luck.

  4. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    Slit seeding is the same as verticutting?


    My advise is to slit seed it and leave the dead grass there to decay as mulch.
  5. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    im no expert on aeration or verticutting, but de thatching is a beneficial service. one, it gets up the thatch. two it loosens up sticks, rocks, and stuck leaves from the winter so the blowers can get it. and three, i think the grass starts to grow faster after thatching since its not all matted down. now as to your question. i guess you could use the jrco to get the dead stuff up, but it would be a lot of work.
  6. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    From <a href="http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/pubs/ay8.htm">Purdue Turf Document</a>:

    "Thatch Control
    Thatch is a tightly intermingled organic layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that accumulate just above the soil surface. Thatch accumulation is due to either over-fertilization, over-watering, and/or soil compaction. A neglected lawn will never accumulate a thatch layer whereas an intensely managed lawn will. A small amount of thatch is desirable because it moderates soil temperature fluctuations and provides a cushion on the soil surface. Too much thatch interferes with water and air movement, reduces fertilizer and pesticide response, and increases disease and insect activity. Eventually, roots may start growing in the thatch, and since thatch does not hold much water, the turf then becomes very susceptible to drought stress."

    Dethatching machines are power rakes with blades that cut through the thatch down to the soil surface. As the blades revolve, dead and live organic material is torn loose and brought to the surface. Dethatching machines that cut with knives or blades are preferred for their effectiveness. Avoid machines with flexible rake-type tines and dethatchers that attach to your rotary mower blade. Dethatching machines can be rented from rental companies, or dethatching can be done by a professional lawn care company. The organic material removed by the dethatcher must be raked, removed, and used as a mulch or in a compost pile."

    If the thatch layer is 0.5 inch or more thick, a number of passes in different directions with the dethatcher will be necessary. Several passes will produce large quantities of refuse, and the lawn will look very ragged for some time. Reseeding may be necessary after dethatching lawns with 0.5 inches or more of thatch. Thatch thicker than 1.0 inch is most easily removed with a sod cutter. A sod cutter set at the soil surface removes the sod easily in light and manageable strips. The lawn must then be reestablished. Although reestablishment is hard work, it is better in the long run."

    Note the last sentence!!

    Since the lawn is mostly dead, and the thatch is so heavy (BTW, heavy thatch attracts insect and disease damage), best to remove the thatch by multiple power rake passes or sod cutter. If thatch is really 1" (check in different places), the job will be a lot easier using a sod cutter. Cleanup of the refuse of power rake is a REALLY messy job. If using sod cutter, just try to not remove much soil, but get all the thatch.

    Trying to seed in this amount of thatch will not be very successful, and the thatch problem will still be there. If you want, go to the link above and print it out for your client, or go here http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/pubs/ay-8.pdf for the same document in .PDF format (prints nicer).

    And even though they call it a "dethatcher", the JRCO is just an expensive rake.
  7. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774


    The Jrco dethatcher does a good job of removing thatch, but the key is multiple passed. I've used one on yards thet have taken up to 6 passes to get most of the thatch. Make your passes in different directions. The good thing about a spring dethatcher is it loosens and lifts the thatch WITHOUT damaging the healthy grass and roots.

    Now for you situation you might want to consider usion an actual power rake in the damaged areas since the turf is probably pretty much gone anyway. Useing the power rake to loosen the thatch then rake or mow up the residue.

    I consider the dethatcher a maintenance tool and the power rake a renovation tool.
  8. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,226

    power rake at lowest setting, remove dead grass, add alittle organic compost, seed, starterfert. , straw, and watch it grow
  9. captdevo

    captdevo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    been there did this.........

    i have had a few customers here in s.e. Iowa with the same problem.

    i've never used the jrco, but i use a dethatcher on my Walker GHS and remove the thatch completely.

    i have found that if the thatch is thick and has been down for a while it probably contains fungus, disease and insects and is best to remove it.

    once thatch is removed, i aerate, re-seed, and fertilize.

    i've had great results with this numerous times
  10. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    For the guys who think that they are "dethatching" with a spring type or vertical flail type tool or machine, just how do you define "thatch"?

    And how do you determine that you have successfully removed a significant amount of thatch?

    The best description of dethatching as a maintenance practice was given <a href="http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?postid=16979#post16979">IN THIS POST</a> a year and a half ago: "The purpose of dethatching a lawn is to get the customer to part with their money."

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