I have been beating myself up over this one for a few days.
I have gone back and forth, looking on the internet, trying to determine if I need to have the lawn dethatched. I know, I know…as my father would say, “Just mow the lawn and get on with your life.” Well, unfortunately, I am someone who has been sucked into the art of lawn care and really seem to enjoy it.
Some websites that I browsed said that dethatching really isn’t necessary because the thatch layer should naturally break down if the lawn is in good health. Another website said that dethatching is good, but only in the autumn because you don’t want to disturb the newly sprouting grass. The last website said that you should dethatch in the spring, autumn and everything in between. Go you.
I had a few things to do today, one of them being to start tackling the “after winter” lawn. There are ugly patches all over the place from chopped up leaves and dead crabgrass. There are also twigs like you wouldn’t believe.
This morning, I grabbed a rake from the garage and walked out to the front lawn and started raking. I did an area about fifty feet long by ten feet wide and raked up a good amount of dead grass. Then, I ran my hand through my hair, sniffled a little bit and took a look around at the rest of the lawn. I quickly said, “H*ll no. I ain’t doing all that.” Please pardon me. That’s the street talk in me. I decided that getting an inexpensive dethatcher is the way to go. After all, I do have a nice new John Deere ride-on mower with a rear bagger. I should really use it.
A dethatcher is really only a big rake. I mean, you could dethatch your whole lawn with a hand rake if you wanted to. That’s actually what people used to do in the old days, like ten years ago. Remember when you were a kid and one of your parents yelled at you to get outside and rake the lawn? Yeah, they meant with a rake, not a 40 inch tow behind dethatcher. After a few years of some kid raking the yard by hand, he or she got the bright idea of inventing a better tool.
I picked up a “Brinly 40 Inch Tow-Behind Dethatcher” from Home Depot in Glastonbury this afternoon. It was the cheapest one that had. I would have preferred buying the John Deere front mounted dethatcher because I could d-thatch and bag at the same time, but that unit and mount cost about $400. This old man isn’t paying $400 to rake the lawn. I’ll get the $79 jobber.
I put the dethatcher together when we got back. It took about 45 minutes to finish it up…just enough time to give it a dry run around the front lawn. For this little trial, I didn’t put a weight on the unit; I simply towed it around to see how it worked.
I have to say, it did a pretty good job. The dethatcher scraped along the ground and loosened up all the layered thatch (of which there is more than you realize). While towing it around, I was able to easily see the areas I already covered. When I was finished dethatching, I re-installed the rear bagger and sucked up all the dead grass clippings, dead crab grass and twigs and dumped all that waste into the woods. I got almost four full bags. Not bad for one simple dry run around the front lawn.
Here, take a look at the photos.