Do Dethatching Lawn Mower Blades Work? (Quick Read). Riding mower dethatcher blade

Do Dethatching Lawn Mower Blades Work? (Quick Read)

Sometimes automation is not all it’s cracked up to be, and that’s certainly the case with dethatching lawn mowers – which according to experts do not seem to work.

Dethatching lawn mower blades are meant for smaller gardens, but are ineffective. So if you have under 1/2 inch of thatch it’s best to get a rake and do it by hand. For larger gardens with over half an inch of thatch you can use a power rake, which is a more robust machine.

Let’s consider what dethatching is, when and why you need to do it, and look at alternatives to dethatching lawn mowers.

What is Dethatching Do I Need To Do It?

Thatch is the layer of plant stems, both dead and alive, and organic debris that forms below the green grass tips and above the soil. Over time, too much thatch will kill grass shoots, resulting in a lawn with patchy, brown spots.

To determine your amount of thatch, use a sharpshooter shovel and dig into your lawn, down to the soil, then look at the cross section. Experts say that over 1/2 inch of thatch can be unhealthy for your lawn. If you have one inch or more of thatch, then you need to act.

Dethatching can help your lawn stay healthy. When thatch is too thick, your watering becomes ineffective – water can’t reach the roots. Pest insects and pathogens can set up a home in thatch. Excessive thatch weakens the lawn’s natural tolerance to disease and dry spells.

Lawns with heavy thatch are brown. Dethatching allows new grass shoots to grow into the dethatched gaps, giving you a lusher, greener lawn.

For southern lawns, experts recommend dethatching your lawn in the spring, every 1 or 2 years. Plan to dethatch your lawn just when the grass starts to green up. If you can’t dethatch in the spring, fall is the second-best time.

For northern lawns, dethatch in late summer or early fall. For expert advice on dethatching timing, call the Agricultural Extension office in your area.

For dethatching lawns, you can use a normal rake, a hand-held dethatcher rake, get a dethatching blade that fits on your lawn mower, use a dethatcher machine (or scarifier, vertical lawn mower or verticutter) or use a power rake.

Do Thatching Mower Blades Work? (What Are they?)

Exerts and homeowners alike say no, dethatching mower blades are not the best way to dethatch your lawn.

Dethatching mower blades are quite different from regular mowing blades. Regular mowing blades are mostly flat and slice through grass.

Dethatching mower blades, like the one in this video, have tines or spikes that stick out perpendicular to the blade and cut down into the thatch like a knife, slicing it up.

dethatching, lawn, mower, blades, work

How To Dethatch a Lawn With a Mower Attachment

If you do still want to give it a go with a dethatcher despite the experts advice – then proceed with caution. Here are some steps to follow:

Firstly – stop watering your lawn. Wait until the lawn has dried completely and then mow your lawn to a low level. If your grass is long, use a grass catcher. Then, detach the grass cutting blade.

Read and follow the instructions carefully for the dethatch blade. Some instructions recommend that you take out the spark plug for safety.

Set the mower on a hard surface, like cement, and take a look at the tine clearance. Cell phone cameras are good for this or raise the grass catcher door. Raise or lower the mower wheels until the tine clearance is 1/4 to 1/2 inch. The height of the tine is key. Too low, and you will dig into dirt. Too high and the mowing will be ineffective.

Empty the grass catcher and put it back on. Pick a test brown patch. Mow over the test patch and see whether the tine is thinning the thatch. Check inside the catcher, if you have one. Do you have cut up thatch inside? Dirt?

If the tine is cutting down into the soil, then it needs to be raised a little. Make height adjustments using small test patches until the tine is thinning the thatch but not digging into the dirt.

Then, get your earbuds and eye protection on, and do the entire lawn. Cut thatch (and there will be lots of it) makes great compost. Be sure to water it a little more than normal grass clippings, as thatch is drier.

Should I Use a Power Rake Instead?

If you have thatch over 1/2 inch thick and a large lawn, use a power rake.

Power rakes are different from dethatchers, although there is some confusion about the definitions. Most experts agree that dethatchers are smaller machines, appropriate for small lawns. Dethatchers will work well if you have a small amount of thatch – up to 1/2 inch. Dethatchers may look like small lawn mowers, but the blade system is different.

Dethatcher tines don’t spin around a central point like dethatcher mower blades. On a dethatcher, rows of tines or blades rotate around a long cylinder, like a tiller. The dethatcher blades cut parallel to the direction the machine is going – no crop circles.

Power rakes are larger, and heavier, machines. They can remove much more thatch than dethatchers. Their blades can be flail types or solid knife types. Generally, power rakes are for thick thatch problems and large lawns.

Power rakes can be aggressive. Be sure to rake at times when your lawn can recover before stressful times of the year, like hot summers or freezing cold winters.

How To Dethatch a Lawn With a Power Rake

First, test a small area with the highest rake setting. Check the results – did it remove all the thatch? If not, lower the rake by one setting and test again.

When you are satisfied that the rake is on the best setting, run the rake in one direction over the entire lawn. Collect all the thatch and debris by hand with a rake or with a lawn mower with a bag attachment. If the thatch debris is dry, you can try to blow it into a pile or onto the street where you can sweep it up.

Once the debris is clear, run the rake in the opposite direction across the lawn. Then, clear the debris. Here’s a great video.

Thatch debris is great for your compost bin and there will be giant piles of it.

Final Thoughts

You asked a very clear question to find this article: ‘Do Dethatching Lawn Mower Blades Work?’ – and the answer according to most experts in a resounding ‘no’.

There are better ways to thin the thatch on your lawn, especially if you have a smaller garden with under half an inch of lawn thatch. In this instance, using a rake and some good old fashioned elbow grease is the best option.

And if your lawn is bigger – and has a deeper layer of thatch over half an inch think – then choosing a power rake is the more effective way of getting the optimum results.

Homeowner and property investor Larry James founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more

About UsHi, I’m homeowner and property investor Larry James. I founded Take a Yard to bring you the very best outdoor living content. Read

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Do Dethatching Lawn Mower Blades Work?

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If you don’t have a dethatcher, you might have considered using a dethatching lawn mower blade to dethatch your lawn. This is a maintenance that you need to perform once a year, usually in the spring. It will remove the thatch so that your grass can receive nutrients and water, which allows it to be lush, green, and healthy.

Continue reading to learn all about dethatching blades and whether they work.

What Is a Dethatching Lawn Mower Blade?

A dethatching mower blade is similar to the blades on a lawn mower that cuts grass.

A dethatching blade has metal spring attachments that are used to remove light thatch from your lawn. They work best on small yards.

There are two different types of dethatching lawn mower blades that can work with your mower. One is a blade with a metal spring attachment, and it works well for removing light thatch from smaller yards. You can use it for up to 1.2 inches of thatch, but it is important to make sure that they are set to the proper height.

The other includes blades with nylon trimmer line attachments. This type is less effective, and it can hurt healthy grass. The problem is that the nylon will take out anything in its path, which includes dead debris as well as growing grass.

Advantages of Dethatching Lawn Mower Blades

The advantage of dethatching with dethatching lawn mower blades is that you won’t have to buy another piece of lawn equipment. These blades work with your mower, and you simply remove the mower blade and fix the dethatching blade in place. It can repair areas of the lawn that are covered in thatch, and it helps to aerate the lawn. It will remove debris and break through difficult mats of debris.

You should dethatch your lawn as a part of your maintenance program, so you can use dethatching blades with your mower. You simply remove the mowing blade and replace it with the dethatching blade with the spring tines. Set your mower height at the tallest setting, and start dethatching.

Disadvantages of Dethatching Lawn Mower Blades

There are several disadvantages to using dethatching lawn mower blades. First of all, if you have thatch that is more than half an inch thick, they don’t work very well. In addition, it takes time to change out the blades when you switch from mowing to dethatching.

A dethatching lawn mower blade works well for small yards with light to medium thatch, but if you have more of a build up, they don’t do a great job. You will need to use an alternative method to remove the thatch. Another disadvantage is that the tines can bend, and you need to keep an eye on them and make sure that you replace them as needed.

How Do Dethatching Blades Compare to Other Mower Blade Types?

There are different types of mower blades that you can use on your mower. Standard mower blades are also called 2-in-1 blades, and you use them to cut your grass and either discharge the clippings or bag them. They are horizontal blades that are designed to cut through and shorten the blades of grass.

Another type of blade is called a mulching blade or a 3-in-1 blade. It has more curves and a larger cutting edge. It can cut the grass and bring it back to the deck, and then it is cut a few more times so that it falls on your lawn in small pieces. These are good blades to use when you mow every few days, but if you use it on overgrown grass, the clippings can get clogged under the deck.

The dethatching blade is a blade with vertical tines that cut through the thatch. It is not used for cutting grass or for gathering it up. It is used to cut through thatch and give your lawn the ability to receive water and food.

What Is the Best Dethatching Blade?

There are different dethatching blades available, but the best ones are universally compatible. They are versatile and durable, and if they have springs, it makes the blade more adaptable to different mowers. Take a look at three great dethatching blades:

Maxpower 16” Universal Dethatcher Blade

This set comes with three blades, and it can be used on a variety of standard sized mowers.

Oregon Universal 20” Dethatcher Blade

This dethatching blade has a 1” center hole, and it is designed to remove moss. It comes with a dethatching spring, and it works well with most mowers.

New Stens Dethatcher Blade

This dethatching blade works with most mowers, and it has a simple design that is easy to install and maintain.

Alternatives to Dethatching Blades

There are other options for dethatching your lawn. If you don’t want to use a dethatching blade, you can use a dethatching machine. This is a much more expensive option, but dethatchers are designed specifically to dethatch your lawn, and you can use it every spring to make sure that your lawn stays healthy.

Another option is a power rake. Power rakes are similar to dethatchers, but they remove the thatch and debris in different ways. While you can use a dethatching blade for thatch that is less than half an inch thick, you can use a power rake if you have a visible layer of debris or thatch on the lawn. It can handle thicker thatch.

The power rake is mechanical and has a dethatching blade with rotating flails. These flails are aggressive about digging up thick layers of thatch. They can remove as much as four times the thatch that a dethatcher can remove. People use the power rake when they want to overseed. You just need to make sure that you have a visible layer of thatch on top of the grass.

Pros of Power Rakes

There are several benefits to using a power rake on your lawn, including the following:

    You can rent it when you need it, so you won’t have to worry about storing it or buying an expensive machine that you only need once in a while.It helps you clear thick thatch from your lawn.

It allows your grass to receive fertilizers, nutrients, and water.

Here are some of my favorite lawn care products

Thanks a lot for making it to the end of this post! I hope you found it useful. Here are some lawn care products that I use and that I think you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission.

In all honesty, these are some of the basic products that I use and recommend to everyone.

Broadcast Spreader

This Scotts Elite dual rotary spreader is not a professional grade model but it’s excellent for homeowners.

I really like the edge guard on it. It’s really easy to switch on and off so it’s great for going around my driveway and flower beds.

If you’re not looking to spend hundreds of dollars, I’d definitely recommend this model. It spreads out a wide path and is great quality for the cost.

Backpack Sprayer

This 4-Gallon sprayer is my absolute favorite. It sprays for a really long time. I’ve had this sprayer for quite a while and I’ve never had the battery run out.

The adjustable pressure switch is a really import feature to me.

You can order a lot of accessories for this model but I’ve never really found much of a need for it.

Head Aerator

Hand aerators are great for small spots if you’ve got construction debris or a spot that constantly dries out.

You can also fill these holes with organic matter that will hold a bit more moisture.

This one by Yard Butler is an absolute bargain. It pulls nice long cores. I also use it for taking soil samples around the yard!

How To Dethatch A Lawn With A Mower Attachment, step by step

Maintaining and keeping your lawn spick and span is a very detailed-oriented task. No matter how much time and energy you invest in keeping your lawn in the best possible shape, there comes a time when one would need to spruce it up. One of the major setbacks is thatch, which consists of removing roots, dead grass, stems, and roots. When dealing with a small area, you could do the job with a leaf rake. But for more extensive lawns, this would be a cumbersome task. Using a lawnmower attachment is a relatively less stressful method.

There are two basic methods. The first one is to use special dethatching blades. The other is to use a lawnmower attachment that you use in front or at the back of your riding lawn mower or lawn tractor. We will first explain using a special dethatching blade, followed with other dethatching attachments you can use.

How to Dethatch a lawn with a mower attachment, step by step:

  • Step 1: Check if your lawn needs dethatching
  • Step 2: Trim the grass
  • Step 3: Remove the cutting blade
  • Step 4: Attach the Dethatch blade
  • Step 5: Mow the yard again
  • Step 6: Reattach the mowing blade
  • Step 7: Cover the patches
  • Step 8: Fertilize and water your lawn

How to Dethatch a lawn with special lawnmower dethatching blades

Dethatching your lawn with dethatching blades means that you have to replace your current cutting blades with dethatching blades. The size of dethatching blades may vary depending upon the lawnmower’s deck size. So it is important to know your lawnmower’s size before purchasing the dethatching blades. Changing the blades is not a difficult job.

Step 1: Check if your lawn needs dethatching

Before starting the dethatching process, it is a good idea to check if you need to dethatch your lawn or not. It is easy to see if your lawn needs dethatching or not by simply examining it. Generally, a lawn’s surface should feel quite firm once you walk on it. If the texture is spongy, that is a clear indication that you need an immediate dethatching. Sponginess represents the presence and build-up of dead grass in your lawn. You can also examine your yard by pressing the grass with your hand and ultimately judging its relative firmness. If it feels spongy enough, one must perform the necessary detachment operations.

Step 2: Trim the grass:

Before performing the detachment process, it is necessary to keep the height of the grass in check. Grass height has a major impact on the efficiency of the process. The smaller the size of the grass, the better will be the dethatching process. Thus, if the grass is tall enough, one needs to trim it accordingly as the dead grass needs to be dethatched present just above the soil. It is recommended to mow the lawn to half its height. Once the size is optimum, you are set to dethatch.

Step 3: Remove the cutting blades:

Once the grass has been trimmed, the next step is to remove the cutting blades and replace them with the dethatching blades. To remove the cutting blades, one should tilt the mower towards the handle end and then prop it with a heavy object. In the case of a riding lawnmower, set the cutting deck at its highest position, use a ramp or lawnmower lift to access the blades.

Before doing any work on the blades, we advise you to disconnect the spark plug cables. This ensures that the mower can not unintentionally start. In case of an electric lawnmower, disconnect the mains cable. If you have a battery mower, remove the batteries. Mark the cutting blades such that you know what side should be at the bottom when you reinstall them later.

Step 4: Attach the dethatching blades:

Once the cutting blades are removed, place them aside and attach the dethatching blades. Ensure that the springs are facing downwards. Generally, the thatching blade attachment has a huge resemblance to ordinary blades. However, the metal or plastic projections hanging downwards could be considered a distinguishing character of dethatching blades. Once the blades are in their proper place, tighten the bolts. Reconnect the spark plug cables, and fill the gas tank.

Step 5: Mow the yard again:

Once the dethatching blades are in place, adjust the mowing height to a higher level than you would use for normal mowing. Now perform the mowing process as you normally do with cutting blades. The lawnmower’s back and forth movement would make the dethatching blades’ springs remove the roots and the dead grass. Once you have been all over the lawn several times, lower the deck and proceed again. This way, you remove any remaining thatches.

Step 6: Reattach the mowing blades:

Once you have completed the thatching process, remove the dethatching blades and replace them with your original cutting blades. Mow the lawn, and once done, inspect your lawn thoroughly for any remaining thatches. The remaining thatches could be removed with the help of a rake. Once you are done with mowing and dethatching, collect the grass and dispose of it in a compost heap. Ensure that you dispose of the organic material accordingly via placing it in plastic containers and ultimately dumping it.

Step 7: Cover the patches:

The detachment process can make your lawn look awful at first. Maybe you see bare spots on it. Use some grass seeds on places where a lot of the grass has gone. Give it some time and care, and it will look nice soon.

Step 8: Fertilize and water the lawn:

After the dethatching process, make sure that your lawn is watered frequently. Use some fertilizer that you spread evenly over your grass. The new grass would take around three to four weeks to grow back. It is recommended that you schedule dethatching to consider the spring season as, during the spring season, the grass grows around actively, and the lawn holds enough moisture to expedite this process.

Other Lawnmower Dethatching Attachments:

Besides using dethatching lawnmower blades, there are also other lawnmower attachments that you can use. They are attachments that go in front or behind you, riding lawn mower or lawn tractor. These units consist of sturdy steel gauges covered with epoxy paints.

JRCO is a renowned company that manufactures these attachments. A front or back-mounted unit could be easily installed on your lawnmower by putting in the spindle of the dethatching attachment into already present adjustment attachment points on your lawnmower or lawn tractor. These units come in different shapes and sizes, and in your lawnmower’s instruction manual, details about suitable fits are available.

Once you have mounted the attachment, you are ready to dethatch the lawn by simply following the steps mentioned earlier except the one changing your lawnmower’s blades.

Related Questions:

What is the best time to dethatch your lawn?

The period to perform the dethatching varies from lawn to lawn. It depends on your yard’s location, the soil quality, grass type, and the season. However, it is always recommended to schedule your dethatching in the spring season. The main reason for opting for the spring season is that grass actively grows in spring due to the soil’s added moisture. Thus your lawn grows back immediately. However, one should always make sure not to perform the dethatching when your yard is in dormant condition as it could harm more than recover.

How often should I dethatch my lawn?

It is recommended to perform dethatching once a year. First, inspect your lawn. If the thatch has grown more than an inch, one should start with dethatching.

Is it better to Dethatch or Aerate?

Dethatching and aeration are two completely different processes, and both are crucial for your lawn’s health. Dethatching removes dead organic material, roots, and grass from the yard to make certain that the grass’s health is improved and the lawn looks fresh.

At the same time, aeration makes sure that the soil gets easy access to natural elements like water, air, and other nutrients. In aeration, one makes holes in the ground to ensure this supply. Those holes can be easily made with a small pick. The hole’s size should be around a quarter of an inch to ensure a steady flow of water and other nutrients to the grassroots.

It is recommended to both the processes, but one should perform the dethatching operation first and then aerate as if aeration has been done before. The holes could hinder the dethatching process.

Do I need to overseed after dethatching?

It is recommended to overseed after dethatching to ensure that there are no patches left as detachment causes patches on your lawn. Applying some quality seeds is advised to give your yard a presentable look.

Can I dethatch and mow simultaneously?

It is recommended that you initially trim your lawn to reduce the grass height. Once cut, you can now perform the dethatching by using the detachment blade attachment on your lawnmower. After you are done with it, mow the lawn with the lawnmower and finally rake off any demanding thatches. If you use a dethatching attachment that is behind your lawnmower, it is possible to dethatch and mow simultaneously, but success may vary on your situation.

Final Remarks:

The presence of thatches in your lawnmower is detrimental to the grass and has harmful soil effects. The dense layer of roots, grass clippings, and stem hinder the flow of the essential nutrients, air, and water to the soil, which results in its deteriorating health.

It is necessary to remove these thatches as soon as you spot them. Raking is a cumbersome process, while hiring a professional can be costly. Using the dethatching blades is a good and cost-effective method to dethatch. This blog helps you with all the necessary steps.

Riding mower dethatcher blade

dethatching, lawn, mower, blades, work

dethatching, lawn, mower, blades, work

dethatching, lawn, mower, blades, work

dethatching, lawn, mower, blades, work

dethatching, lawn, mower, blades, work

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