How to Remove Thatch From My Lawn


A healthy lawn is like a picture frame that encircles and complements the entire yard with vibrant green grass. When a lawn is unhealthy with patchy spots, or is dry and brittle with discolored grass, it detracts from the overall beauty of the home. To avoid a lifeless lawn, the simple procedure of removing underlying thatch build-up allows the soil to receive air, water and the nutrients needed to provide a lush green carpet of grass.

Manual Thatch Rake

Step 1

Remove a 6-by-6-inch portion of lawn using a hand trowel or small shovel. Turn the piece of lawn sideways to see the extent of thatch build-up located between the soil and the top layer of grass. The thickness of thatch build-up, comprised of dead roots, weeds, leaves and grass, will determine the type of equipment needed. Use a manual thatch rake for debris up to 1-inch thick and a power rake for thatch more than 1-inch thick.

Step 2

Select a beginning point at one end of the yard. Using the thatch rake, adjust the blades appropriately to an angle that allows the blades of the rake to lightly comb the lawn if thatch build-up is shallow or delve deeper into the soil for thicker areas of thatch. Apply the tool to the first section of the lawn working the blade into the soil. Pull the rake towards you to dislodge the thatch. Continue raking in a straight line to the opposite end of the yard.

Step 3

Complete one row at a time. When beginning a new row, overlap each row so the raking process covers every inch of the lawn. Continue de-thatching the lawn, row by row, until complete. Rake up and dispose of any clumps pulled up by the thatch rake.

Power Rake

Step 1

Adjust the blades on the power rake to the appropriate setting for the type of de-thatching needed. Setting the blades low provides a more aggressive de-thatching process and is applicable for thick layers of thatch deeply embedded into the soil. Set blades at a high level for lawns that need a less aggressive combing and de-thatching.

Step 2

Select a starting point and proceed pushing the power rake from one end of a row to the other end. Repeat the process until the entire lawn is processed. Overlap each row so no part of the lawn is unattended. Use the garden rake to gather clumps of thatch left behind by the power rake. Place in plastic garden bags and throw away.

Step 3

Apply a light covering of water to the newly de-thatched lawn. Sprinkle fertilizer over the de-thatched area working it into the soil using the garden rake. Spread new grass seeds throughout the entire lawn area. Use the garden rake to disperse the seeds. Lay new sod, if applicable. Water lightly.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand trowel
  • Thatch rake
  • Power rake
  • Garden rake
  • Heavy-duty plastic bags
  • Fertilizer
  • Grass seeds
  • Sod


  • This Old House: How to De-thatch a Lawn

Who Can Help

  • American-lawns: Methods of Dethatching a Lawn
  • Home Tips: Lawn Restoration Tip #1: Remove Thatch and Weeds
Keywords: removing thatch, lawn thatch removal, lawn aeration, lawn maintenance

About this Author

Vickie Ferguson began freelancing in1998 and hasn't put the pen down since. Her editorial stints have included working as a reviewer, managing editor and senior managing editor. She writes for several websites and covers a range of topics, including travel guides, gardening, home decor, crafts, pets and wildlife. Ferguson specializes in flower craft articles and has worked in the flower craft business for some time.