What is dethatching a lawn?

Question: Hi Callum,

love the site! Can you please help me tell me what is dethatching a lawn thingy is all about and do I have to do it to my lawn?

Thanks in advanced,



Hi Rebecca,

Incase you’re not sure what I will go over what thatch is first.

Thatch is basically a layer on top of your ground made up of grass cuttings, dead grassroots, other sorts of plant materials that hasn’t yet broken down.

Over time this thatch gets thicker and thicker and restricts water, fertilizer and seeding to get into the ground to the root system where needed. See the image below

Ideally we want the thatch to be around half an inch thick. The thicker the thatch is the higher your grass sits above the soil will be.

What Is Dethatching A Lawn

So when you’re dethatching you’re essentially removing this layer.

This can be done by using a dethatching machine or it can be done manually using a dethatching rake.

A dethatching rake is different from a normal rake so don’t get them confused with each other. You can see below how a dethatching rake looks.

It takes a bit of work and effort when using a dethatching rake and is best suited for small areas unless your looking for a good workout.

Most places sell these rakes

Another option is by using a dethatching machine.

These come in different sizes and styles. Some of the cheaper machines run on power where the bigger units run on gas.

A dethatcher is also known of as a lawn sacrificed. You can hire them from your local hire mob and depending on your yard size the length of time.

It’s an option to hire for the weekend you’ll get a better rate may be and get in cahoots with your neighbor and work out a deal there.

So why dethatch a lawn

Why would you want to dethatch a lawn and what’s the purpose of it?

The main reason is to ensure proper exposure of carbon dioxide to your soil.

This is really important because it will not only support the health of your existing lawn roots, but it will also spur on new growth.


Dethatching is also important because it allows moisture, sprays, fertilizers and feeds to get directly with the root system and an effective manner.

By moving the layer of the dead thatch and materials which stops fertilizer penetrating to the ground then causing stress on your grass.

And this also includes water not getting right down into the ground to where the roots are, causing brown or dead-looking grass.

When should you dethatch your lawn

You should dethatch your lawn on a yearly basis and the time does vary depending on location and grass.

For cool-season grasses the best times is at early fall. Because cool grass goes dormant in the summer it’s risky to thatch then.

Warm-season grasses benefit from dethatching in early springtime as it starts to come alive in the spring season coming out of dormant of winter.

Another option of timing is waiting until the grass starts to green up then you know its kicked into gear.


Known how to dethatch your lawn is a pretty simple job when have the right tools.

The cheapest but hardest is with a hatching rake. You can get them from the depot or here off Amazon.

These electric dethatchers from Greenworks are worth their weight in gold. You can see how easy an simple it is to use and I recommend it’s the best value without breaking the bank.

Ideally, if you have a large lawn you can hire a hatching machine for the day and if you can sweet talk your neighbor going halves, it’ll be even cheaper.