Lawns should be power raked if the thatch layer is thicker than about a half inch. Because it’s difficult to tell just by looking at the surface of the lawn, remove a small section (about 2-3 inches deep) with a shovel and look at the profile for thatch buildup between the soil and grass.
Thatch is a mat of dead grass, stems, and roots gathered just above the soil, and occurs from a lack of microbial activity in the soil. A thin layer of thatch (¼ inch or so) can be good for your lawn because it insulates the soil and holds moisture longer. However, too much thatch can prevent water from reaching the soil and cause grass to root in the thatch layer instead of rooting in the soil.
A power rake is a machine that uses blades similar to a roto-tiller to remove thatch and debris that can build up on a lawn. Power raking is gentler than dethatching since it only removes debris at the soil level (whereas dethatching also pulls and removes healthy root systems).
Most lawns should be power raked in the late winter or early spring, before the grass begins to green up. Cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, should be power raked in the early fall. Power raking outside of these times can potentially damage your lawn by removing living turf during growing season.
Power raking is great for removing dead matter and aeration. Because only the thatch layer is targeted, waste is removed without damaging the healthy grass allowing faster recovery. Removing this thatch layer will enable your lawn to breath easier and root deeper.
When you’re ready to remove the thatch layer from your lawn, we have a power rake rental ready for you! And don’t forget to check out our rotary spreaders and verti-cutters to help with your seeding. Give us a call today at (316) 838-4211!