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We have been discussing lawn maintenance in our blog quite often (see all the posts we have done in the last few months here).
But there is one question that we are yet to address even though it seems to be bothering a significant number of our readers: dethatching blade vs power rake.
You see, you may, from time to time, want to remove thatch from your yard- remember that excessive thatch buildup can lead to poor lawn health because the accumulated thatch prevents essentials such as water, air, and fertilizer from reaching your grass roots.
That is where the dethatching blade vs power rake debated comes up- you can purchase/rent a power rake or get a specialized dethatching blade for your lawn mower (these can efficiently remove thatch too).
So, should you go for a dethatching blade or rent/buy a power rake?
Below we take a closer look at each of the two options including how each works and when you should use each.
Dethatching blade vs power rake : Which way?
Overview of Dethatching Blades
Dethatching Blades mostly resemble regular lawnmowing blades but have tines (plastic) or springs (metal) that hang down.
It is the tines/springs that whip the accumulated thatch out of your yard as you drive the mower over your grass.
Can a Dethatching Blade work?
In general, the specialized dethatching blades that are usually sold as a lawn-mower attachment are only moderately effective when it comes to removing the dead thatch layer from lawns.
In truth, if not set up correctly, the dethatching blade sometimes ends up cutting your grass rather than de-thatching the dead grass layer underneath.
Reason? Most of the blades don’t go deep enough.
Plus, some are not sturdy enough for the job and can break before you finish going over your back yard particularly for lawns with a massive layer of dead grass/thatch.
How to get the most out of dethatching blades
If you must use a blade to dethatch, try to follow the dethatching directions that come with the blade- each manufacturer will have easy-to-follow instructions to help you install it and do the job right.
That said, setting the lawn mower to its lowest setting helps the blade touch the ground (and get to the thatch).
On the other hand, you can set your mower a bit higher when dethatching the greener parts (those with just a moderate layer of thatch) – it tends to do a better job of removing thatch at this setting while leaving your live grass mostly unharmed.
When to use a dethatching blade
Despite the shortcomings, still there are instances that using a dethatching blade would make more sense.
This is primarily when you just have a minor thatch problem- you have very light thatch plaguing your yard.
Don’t forget that it is the less expensive option as well and it could be viable if the idea of buying an expensive tool that you’ll hardly be using doesn’t excite you (power rakes are costlier if you’re looking to buy).
What is the best dethatching blade?
Since our goal is to arm you with all the vital information – it is the only way you can make a decision you won’t regret later- here is what you should know about the available types of dethatching blades:
Now, there are two key varieties of dethatching blades;1) those with metal springs 2) Those with nylon trimmer-line attachment.
Type 1: Dethatching blade with metal spring attachment
These are the most popular option.
They do a great job when it comes to the removal of light thatch from smaller areas.
More importantly, the spring tines (hanging down the blade) tend to be gentler on grass.
Furthermore, you can even put the thatch you dethatch with your spring tines attachment in rows for easier pick up.
Type 2: Dethatching blade with nylon trimmer-line attachment
Any blade with a nylon trimmer-line attachment usually destroys healthy grass and is best avoided.
Note that they use the lengths of their nylon trimmer line/cord as tough bristles when dethatching lawns, leading to possible damage.
Overview of a Power Rake
A power rake features many tines/blades – these are fixed and look pretty similar to the ones you find on garden machines such as roto-tillers.
The fitted knife-type blades slices through the dead debris and other organic material sitting underneath the surface as you push it over the yard (or tow it behind your tractor).
It’s worth mentioning that the tines/blades rotate as its wheels spin (the tine-controlling gear turns once the wheels start to spin) triggering the dethatching action.
Does a Power rake really work?
I won’t mince words here: of the two, a power rake is certainly the more suitable option for dense thatch removal (works amazingly well when thatch is really thick).
One of the best things about the machine is that you can adjust the blades to your desired height so as to cut and lift thatch without hurting your live grass/grass roots.
When to use a power rake
In a nutshell, the more ideal tool to remove humongous amounts of thatch from severely distressed lawns is the power rake.
Put another way, this is your go-to tool if your yard looks mostly yellow because of terrible thatch infestation.
The major downside is the cost- I already mentioned that these machines are mainly designed for commercial purposes so their prices are comparatively higher.
On top of that, power raking is a more aggressive thatch removal technique and it is likelier to hurt the grass.
For this reason, your grass may need more time to heal from the process compared to when you remove thatch using a dethatching blade.
Dethatching blade vs power rake – recap
On the whole, a power rake is the better tool to use to get rid of thatch and works wonderfully well even where the thatch is really thick.
On the other hand, you may opt for a dethatching blade and get decent results for light thatch problems on small properties.