Ecology + Design

Dethatching Your Lawn Without Killing It or Yourself!

Dethatching Your Lawn – Why Dethatch?

When a lawn is left untended, it begins to collect a gradually thickening layer of debris, roots and dead grass just above the soil surface. This layer will begin to block out water and air from the lawn’s root system, and it also harbors disease and pests which can damage the lawn. Dethatching is the act of removing this unhealthy debris layer.

Dethatching Your Lawn – When to Dethatch?

Fortunately it’s pretty easy to check the thickness of the thatch layer. Work your fingers into the grass, you’ll feel the layer. If it’s 1/2 inch or more, it’s time to dethatch. To maintain a healthy lawn, you’ll probably need to dethatch once a year. There should be about 45 days of good growing conditions after you dethatch so the grass will recover without weeds taking over. Late spring to early summer is normally the safest lawn dethatching time period. You don’t want to dethatch when there might be a freeze or a drought in the next 45 days.

Dethatching Your Lawn – Tools to Use

If you want to turn the project into an extreme marathon body workout, go ahead and use a dethatching rake. For a shorter moderate body workout, rent a dethatching machine (see the movie below). On the other hand, if you’d rather get your workout on the golf course, call us at 914-560-6570!

Dethatching Your Lawn – Watch a Demo

Dethatching Your Lawn – How to Use a Dethatching Machine

The dethatching process is pretty simple. Your goal is to cut the turf just below where the roots begin without disturbing the soil any more than you need to.


  1. Set the blades to about 3 inches apart for most lawns in the Northeast.
  2. Run the machine back and forth across the lawn, then make a second set of rows perpendicular to the first.
  3. Rake up the debris and run the machine again across any areas that you missed.

You’ll know you’re finished when you can’t see any grass (as in the movie). Don’t worry, your lawn will grow back healthier than ever without that smothering, pest and disease-ridden layer of thatch.

You may also consider aerating your lawn a couple times a year, but that’s a subject we’ll cover in another article.

Again, unless you’re really looking to do your full body workout on your lawn instead of on the golf course or some more enjoyable venue…

Call us if you have questions as to the proper timing, equipment or you’re just wondering whether your lawn needs dethatching.

Jay Archer, President



Contact Us To Schedule a Free

15 Minute Discovery Call

Let’s discuss your goals and determine if we are a good fit for your project.

15 Minute Discovery Call

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Resources and insights

Popular Articles from Our Blog

string(117) ""
2022-11-29 09:00:52
Green Jay Landscape Design
Introducing: Green Jay Landscape Design | NY, CT, NJ
string(154) ""
2022-07-12 12:15:56
Green Jay Landscape Design
Our Best Backyard Landscape Designs in Westchester County, NY!
string(96) ""
2020-09-29 13:16:47
Green Jay Landscape Design
Landscape Design, Planning & Construction: When to Start the Process [VIDEO]
string(99) ""
2020-05-06 13:18:10
Green Jay Landscape Design
Design for Biodiversity with Pollinator & Wildlife Gardens | Step 3 Toward a Healthy Landscape | Fairfield County
string(115) ""
2020-01-31 08:43:32
Green Jay Landscape Design
What Does a Landscape Design Master Plan Look Like?