Instructions on Using a Dethatcher on Your Lawn


Thatch is a layer of grass roots and dead grass stems that builds up on the surface of your lawn. If thatch becomes too thick, it can cause the roots of grass to grow up into the thatch zone instead of down into the lawn. Over time, this can slowly choke out your grass. A dethatching machine is designed to remove the layer of thatch in your lawn and promote a healthier lawn. You should plan to thatch your lawn in spring or fall any season that lawn thatch is thicker than 1 inch deep on your lawn.

Step 1

Avoid fertilizing your lawn up to 45 days before dethatching to avoid dealing with excessive growth.

Step 2

Water the lawn lightly (1/4 inch of water per 1 inch of lawn) 48 hours before dethatching. Never try to dethatch a saturated lawn or one that is too dry. Doing so will damage your soil.

Step 3

Mow your lawn to its lowest recommended height, which is typically ½- to 1-inch high. Bag the clippings to get rid of them before thatching.

Step 4

Mark all buried cables, underground sprinkler lines and sprinkler heads with kitchen flour. This will help you avoid the obstacles, and will wash away with your next watering.

Step 5

Set the dethatcher 's speed control lever to slow. Position the machine In the location where you want to start dethatching.

Step 6

Start the machine using the pull rope starter.

Step 7

Push the machine over your yard in sections, much as you would a lawn mower.

Step 8

Push your dethatcher over the lawn a second time. Adjust your path so that you push the machine in a perpendicular pattern to the path you walked during the first pass.

Step 9

Rake up the debris generated by dethatching. Bag this debris and discard it.

Step 10

Fertilize the lawn with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer.

Step 11

Water the lawn with 1 inch of water per inch of lawn to help the grass recover quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler
  • Lawn mower
  • Lawn rake
  • Lawn bags
  • Flour
  • Lawn dethatcher
  • Balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer
  • Broadcast spreader


  • American Lawns: Dethatching Step-By-Step
  • The Univeristy of Rhode Island: General Lawn Maintenance and Renovation
  • Landscape America: Dethatching Lawns

Who Can Help

  • Extension: Lawn Dethatching Most Overlooked Spring Chore
Keywords: dethatching a lawn, removing thatch, dethatching machine

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."