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How To Dethatch A Lawn With A Mower Attachment, step by step

Maintaining and keeping your lawn spick and span is a very detailed-oriented task. No matter how much time and energy you invest in keeping your lawn in the best possible shape, there comes a time when one would need to spruce it up. One of the major setbacks is thatch, which consists of removing roots, dead grass, stems, and roots. When dealing with a small area, you could do the job with a leaf rake. But for more extensive lawns, this would be a cumbersome task. Using a lawnmower attachment is a relatively less stressful method.

There are two basic methods. The first one is to use special dethatching blades. The other is to use a lawnmower attachment that you use in front or at the back of your riding lawn mower or lawn tractor. We will first explain using a special dethatching blade, followed with other dethatching attachments you can use.

How to Dethatch a lawn with a mower attachment, step by step:

  • Step 1: Check if your lawn needs dethatching
  • Step 2: Trim the grass
  • Step 3: Remove the cutting blade
  • Step 4: Attach the Dethatch blade
  • Step 5: Mow the yard again
  • Step 6: Reattach the mowing blade
  • Step 7: Cover the patches
  • Step 8: Fertilize and water your lawn

How to Dethatch a lawn with special lawnmower dethatching blades

Dethatching your lawn with dethatching blades means that you have to replace your current cutting blades with dethatching blades. The size of dethatching blades may vary depending upon the lawnmower’s deck size. So it is important to know your lawnmower’s size before purchasing the dethatching blades. Changing the blades is not a difficult job.

● Step 1: Check if your lawn needs dethatching

Before starting the dethatching process, it is a good idea to check if you need to dethatch your lawn or not. It is easy to see if your lawn needs dethatching or not by simply examining it. Generally, a lawn’s surface should feel quite firm once you walk on it. If the texture is spongy, that is a clear indication that you need an immediate dethatching. Sponginess represents the presence and build-up of dead grass in your lawn. You can also examine your yard by pressing the grass with your hand and ultimately judging its relative firmness. If it feels spongy enough, one must perform the necessary detachment operations.

● Step 2: Trim the grass:

Before performing the detachment process, it is necessary to keep the height of the grass in check. Grass height has a major impact on the efficiency of the process. The smaller the size of the grass, the better will be the dethatching process. Thus, if the grass is tall enough, one needs to trim it accordingly as the dead grass needs to be dethatched present just above the soil. It is recommended to mow the lawn to half its height. Once the size is optimum, you are set to dethatch.

● Step 3: Remove the cutting blades:

Once the grass has been trimmed, the next step is to remove the cutting blades and replace them with the dethatching blades. To remove the cutting blades, one should tilt the mower towards the handle end and then prop it with a heavy object. In the case of a riding lawnmower, set the cutting deck at its highest position, use a ramp or lawnmower lift to access the blades.

Before doing any work on the blades, we advise you to disconnect the spark plug cables. This ensures that the mower can not unintentionally start. In case of an electric lawnmower, disconnect the mains cable. If you have a battery mower, remove the batteries. Mark the cutting blades such that you know what side should be at the bottom when you reinstall them later.

● Step 4: Attach the dethatching blades:

Once the cutting blades are removed, place them aside and attach the dethatching blades. Ensure that the springs are facing downwards. Generally, the thatching blade attachment has a huge resemblance to ordinary blades. However, the metal or plastic projections hanging downwards could be considered a distinguishing character of dethatching blades. Once the blades are in their proper place, tighten the bolts. Reconnect the spark plug cables, and fill the gas tank.

● Step 5: Mow the yard again:

Once the dethatching blades are in place, adjust the mowing height to a higher level than you would use for normal mowing. Now perform the mowing process as you normally do with cutting blades. The lawnmower’s back and forth movement would make the dethatching blades’ springs remove the roots and the dead grass. Once you have been all over the lawn several times, lower the deck and proceed again. This way, you remove any remaining thatches.

● Step 6: Reattach the mowing blades:

Once you have completed the thatching process, remove the dethatching blades and replace them with your original cutting blades. Mow the lawn, and once done, inspect your lawn thoroughly for any remaining thatches. The remaining thatches could be removed with the help of a rake. Once you are done with mowing and dethatching, collect the grass and dispose of it in a compost heap. Ensure that you dispose of the organic material accordingly via placing it in plastic containers and ultimately dumping it.

● Step 7: Cover the patches:

The detachment process can make your lawn look awful at first. Maybe you see bare spots on it. Use some grass seeds on places where a lot of the grass has gone. Give it some time and care, and it will look nice soon.

● Step 8: Fertilize and water the lawn:

After the dethatching process, make sure that your lawn is watered frequently. Use some fertilizer that you spread evenly over your grass. The new grass would take around three to four weeks to grow back. It is recommended that you schedule dethatching to consider the spring season as, during the spring season, the grass grows around actively, and the lawn holds enough moisture to expedite this process.

Other Lawnmower Dethatching Attachments:

Besides using dethatching lawnmower blades, there are also other lawnmower attachments that you can use. They are attachments that go in front or behind you, riding lawn mower or lawn tractor. These units consist of sturdy steel gauges covered with epoxy paints.

JRCO is a renowned company that manufactures these attachments. A front or back-mounted unit could be easily installed on your lawnmower by putting in the spindle of the dethatching attachment into already present adjustment attachment points on your lawnmower or lawn tractor. These units come in different shapes and sizes, and in your lawnmower’s instruction manual, details about suitable fits are available.

Once you have mounted the attachment, you are ready to dethatch the lawn by simply following the steps mentioned earlier except the one changing your lawnmower’s blades.

Related Questions:

1. What is the best time to dethatch your lawn?

The period to perform the dethatching varies from lawn to lawn. It depends on your yard’s location, the soil quality, grass type, and the season. However, it is always recommended to schedule your dethatching in the spring season. The main reason for opting for the spring season is that grass actively grows in spring due to the soil’s added moisture. Thus your lawn grows back immediately. However, one should always make sure not to perform the dethatching when your yard is in dormant condition as it could harm more than recover.  

2. How often should I dethatch my lawn?

It is recommended to perform dethatching once a year. First, inspect your lawn. If the thatch has grown more than an inch, one should start with dethatching.

3. Is it better to Dethatch or Aerate?

Dethatching and aeration are two completely different processes, and both are crucial for your lawn’s health. Dethatching removes dead organic material, roots, and grass from the yard to make certain that the grass’s health is improved and the lawn looks fresh.

At the same time, aeration makes sure that the soil gets easy access to natural elements like water, air, and other nutrients. In aeration, one makes holes in the ground to ensure this supply. Those holes can be easily made with a small pick. The hole’s size should be around a quarter of an inch to ensure a steady flow of water and other nutrients to the grassroots.

It is recommended to both the processes, but one should perform the dethatching operation first and then aerate as if aeration has been done before. The holes could hinder the dethatching process.

4. Do I need to overseed after dethatching?

It is recommended to overseed after dethatching to ensure that there are no patches left as detachment causes patches on your lawn. Applying some quality seeds is advised to give your yard a presentable look.

5. Can I dethatch and mow simultaneously?

It is recommended that you initially trim your lawn to reduce the grass height. Once cut, you can now perform the dethatching by using the detachment blade attachment on your lawnmower. After you are done with it, mow the lawn with the lawnmower and finally rake off any demanding thatches. If you use a dethatching attachment that is behind your lawnmower, it is possible to dethatch and mow simultaneously, but success may vary on your situation.

Final Remarks:

The presence of thatches in your lawnmower is detrimental to the grass and has harmful soil effects. The dense layer of roots, grass clippings, and stem hinder the flow of the essential nutrients, air, and water to the soil, which results in its deteriorating health.

It is necessary to remove these thatches as soon as you spot them. Raking is a cumbersome process, while hiring a professional can be costly. Using the dethatching blades is a good and cost-effective method to dethatch. This blog helps you with all the necessary steps.