Dethatching Vs. Electric Raking
Actually, they are both beneficial to your lawn!
First, let’s talk about the structure of your lawn, typically you have a layer of soil and grass. Over the natural course of the grass’s life, blades will die and will be broken down into nutrients for the next growth. However the soil is not always fast enough to break down the dead grass, leaves, and other plant debris. This causes a layer where new shoots, roots, and stems will become intermingled with the dead plant matter creating a layer of thatch.
Thatch isn’t always a bad thing especially if you have heavy foot traffic, a healthy layer of thatch can make your lawn more resilient. However, If this layer is left to continue building more dead and living grass it can eventually suffocate your lawn. This is caused by the layer preventing sunlight, air flow, and water from accessing the root systems properly. More so, the new grass will then try to lay down roots in the thatch in an attempt to survive. Thick layers of thatch ½” -¾” deep is not a strong or healthy layer in turn the grass will be feeble and frail. This thick layer also absorbs the water needed for the roots beneath it to grow properly creating a moist environment ripe for both fungi and insects.
To prevent this thatch from becoming a problem there are a couple solutions, in the spring when the grass is new and easily stressed an electric rake or raking the lawn can pull up dead grass and debris. This is extremely helpful in the spring to help lift some of the grass that got matted down over the course of the winter snow and ice. Leaving it packed down can suffocate your lawn just as easily as thatch and leaves, which can also be detrimental to the longevity of the lawn.
However, the raking process does not cut into the layers of soil like the dethatching equipment does. To dethatch a vertical mower is used also known as a verticutter, this machine slices through the thatch layer into the soil. This pulls not only thatch up but some roots as well, giving the soil a much better chance of rebounding and obtaining the important nutrients needed to have healthy growth. This process is recommended for the fall as the grass becomes dormant over the winter and can handle a bit more stress.
It is best to be clear with your intentions for your property when communicating with your landscapers. Many people use electric raking and dethatching interchangeably but in reality they are two different processes that can provide different benefits for your lawn.
Here at Second Look Maintenance Inc. we want to help provide you with the best possible care and knowledge so you can enjoy your property all year long!