The Basics of Dethatching


Pros of Using an Electric Dethatcher:

– A unit like the Greenworks 27022, or even the electric Sun Joe can pay itself off after several uses compared to renting one out for $45

Why Thatch Develops in your Lawn

You probably have thatch in your lawn even when it’s thriving.  Lawns that are healthy and frequently attended to are prone to this occurrence of spongy, organic matter.  Fertilizing and watering make little difference in suppressing its development and it’s not usually visible.  Too much thatch ends up making for an unhealthy lawn.

A couple years of tending to the lawn sets up an environment for thatch to gradually creep up into existence.

A common misunderstanding among gardeners is that thatch is caused by grass clippings.

They don’t actually cause thatch because grass rapidly decays, which is attributed to their high water content.

Thatch in Moderation is Good!

Soil is protected by thatch.  The right amount conserves water, and brings more “bounce” to the turf which makes walking on it more comfortable.


When it takes longer for thatch to decay than it does to build up, it starts to become a problem.  Thatch in excess can welcome in pests and disease.

When Should you Dethatch?

Thatch accumulation should be checked by gardeners early in the growing season, preferably in the beginning. A 2-inch wedge of turf should be cut out when checking the thatch layer.  Then determine the amount of brown spongy material (thatch) by measuring the material between the grass and soil.

Dethatching is required if the measurement of thatch is over 1/2 inch deep. You’ll only need to renovate the lawn if the thatch is more than 1 1/2 inches, meaning, producing bare soil for germinating grass seed by removing all thatch and grass.

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