Dethatching is a restorative service only recommend for lawns that suffer from an extremely thick thatch layer. Since dethatching causes extensive damage and is extremely labor intensive, this service will only be performed on lawns with with a thatch layer more than 3 inches thick.
If your thatch layer is less than 3 inches, we recommend aeration in Spring and Fall as the best method to reduce your thatch. Core Aeration pulls plugs of soil and thatch out of the lawn, and the cores of soil break down and populate the thatch with millions of soil microbes that help biodegrade the thatch naturally.
Dethatching is performed using the same machine as Power Raking. The difference in the two services is how deep the cutting knives are set on the dethatcher, as well as the type of cutting knives used. Dethatching involves the use of flail type blades that are designed to rip out excessive thatch. The dethatching machine is set low so that the blades reach into the surface of the soil.
After a lawn is dethatched, a large amount of plant material is ripped up from the lawn; several pickup trucks of dead thatch can be created from an average sized lawn. The lawn will suffer extensive damage as well, because the knives will not only rip out the thatch, but also rip out a large percentage of the healthy grass plants. The growing points of a grass plant are at the base of the plant, and a lot of the growing points are damaged when a lawn is dethatched.
Since dethatching causes a lot of damage, it creates a lawn that is thin, brown, and beat up. Because of this, we strongly recommend combining our Dethatching service with Overseeding or Slitseeding, as well as an application of Topdressing.
Overseeding ensures that new grass plants quickly fill in any damaged areas of the lawn. If overseeding is not done, weed seeds can establish themselves in damaged areas of the lawn. Topdressing helps the new grass seed establish itself fast, and stimulates the existing grass plants to recover from dethatching.
Dethatching is best done in late Summer or early Fall. This allows the lawn plenty of time to recover before Winter, but also avoids the rigours of Summer drought and heat. By waiting until late Summer, there'll also be less competition with a variety of weeds that germinate in Spring.