Thatch on a yard can restrict air, water and light. The tangled combination of dead grass, leaves, weeds and roots that make up thatch form a mat that can eventually choke out grass. When you dethatch a yard, you expose the soil that nutrients, grass seed and fertilizer can now reach. Greener, thicker grass growth occurs when you dethatch a yard. The average yard can be dethatched using a dethatching rake.
Allow the grass to dry. Dry thatch is easier to clean up than soggy, wet thatch.
Mow the yard to a height of 1 to 2 inches. Shorter grass makes it easier to dethatch a yard because it reduces the chance of grass getting caught in the dethatching rake.
Place the dethatching side of the rake where you want to begin. The dethatching side of the rake has pointed tines (teeth) that are straight as opposed to the cultivator side of the rake head, which has blunt tines that are wavy. Wearing gloves will help to prevent blisters.
Hold the rake handle and while standing a comfortable distance from the rake head, pull the rake toward you. Without lifting the rake from the ground, push it back to the starting point. Pushing the rake backward is accomplished because the rake head is curved on the backside. The push-back action empties the thatch from the rake head.
Continue this process of pulling the rake forward and pushing it backward, move a couple of steps to the right (or left) and repeat the process. You might need to go over some areas more than once. Use a raking technique similar to vacuuming in which you slightly overlap the right of one dethatched strip as you pull the rake forward, push the rake straight back and then again slightly overlap the previous strip as you pull the rake right and toward you.
Dethatch the whole yard, not just the brown areas. When you dethatch a yard, grass seeding typically follows. Even a light area of thatch remaining in some areas can prevent the seed, sun and water from reaching the soil. Consequently, the dethatched areas could end up looking lusher than the untouched areas.
Use a leaf rake to pile the thatch for disposal or recycling. The yard is now ready for seeding.