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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm gonna get a John Deere dethatcher for my X738 along with a mount that will allow it to be used on the quick hitch.
To be honest I've never used a Thatcher before and want it because it will allow me more seat time on my new tractor.

Was wondering how many of you dethatch your lawn and if you find it worth while?

Thanks,
Dan
 

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Likely you need to determine if your lawn needs dethatching. Take a very close look at several areas of your lawn by using your hands to spread apart the grass so you can see the surface of the ground near the grass root system. Is there a large buildup of dead grass matted in there, or not? If there is, then a dethatcher may work well for you. If there isn't, then using a dethatcher may harm the existing root system.
 

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that front mounted dethatcher is 4ft wide?
That's not bad.... but the one I use is an acreage rake. Covers a wider swath. But I overlap by 50%, that way each square foot gets effectively 2 passes.
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I don't know what kind of grass you have but if you have quality cool-season grasses, just about everything I have researched says don't do it. Aerate instead.
 

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you can see the rake behind the tractor. it's really made for open spaces... not so good if you have lots of obstacles.
the advantage is that it makes nice windrows that are quick and easy to sweep up with the sweeper.

My neighbour has the front mounted unit and used it while mowing on the first 1-2 mows of the season. That advantage is that if you have a mulching deck, the thatch is ground up and laid back down with the fresh clippings, to rot away as organic matter / grass food.

As for why do it?... I find spots where the snow compacts the dead grass into pressed-mats of grass that the fresh growing grass in the spring can't punch through easily. Once the rake rips up the dead grass I can see fresh green sprouts coming up 1-2 days later. is it absolutely mandatory?... probably not... but i know the grass likes getting its' hair combed this way!

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were any reasons provided?....

I do both - aerate and dethatch.... right after I roll my lawn... and just before I fertilize....
That it tends to do more damage to the grass than good. Plug aerating alone will do the job unless thatch is super heavy.

I'm not sure how much the "expert's" findings are based on opinion vs. research-based fact but I have found with my bluegrass lawn thatch build-up is minimal with plug aeration alone.
 
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I think there are varying definitions of "thatch". Thatch isn't dead grass, its a mat of dead roots and stems all intertwined together. It's encouraged by lots of nitrogen fertilization. To determine if you have thatch, you need to take a slice of sod and look at the cross section. I've also found that plug aeration seems to be working on mine as well. I think the theory is the plugs get on top of the thatch, and when they break apart they jump start the decomposition process on the thatch.

There is a broader use of the word, which is grass clippings etc. I guess if I had a nice lawn rake like that, I'd be looking for some seat time too! No harm no foul there.
 

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I think there are varying definitions of "thatch". Thatch isn't dead grass, its a mat of dead roots and stems all intertwined together.
I guess there is....

Aerators put a hole in the grass every 6-8 inches... even if thatch was a surface-root problem, that kind of spacing would be probably insufficient (too spaced out) to solve it... and dethachers (wire spike) are too weak/flimsy to rip into that surface layer to fix a potential surface-root & stem problem.... Ie - they should probably be called "lawn rakes"

However - academics and theory aside... here is my lawn-formula:
  • raking (instead of calling it dethatching) to break up the mat of dead grass and other stuff that is blocking fresh grass blades from poking through) in early spring
  • sweeping to sweep up chucks of the dead grass mat, and clippings brought up to the surface by the rake
  • aeration as a means to introduce oxygen into the soil and root area

Lastly - I can't see how raking hurts grass.... realizing raking could also mean "ripping the entire surface of the soil and fresh grass stems right off the surface"... but I would not call that raking...
The kind of raking I am talking about, is not harsh enough to hurt grass. It's more like "combing" grass.
 

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IMHO if you thatch, you should run the mower with a lawn vac or bagger. Just tearing it up with the thatcher or rake and trying to mulch it won’t work very well. The thatch needs removed. I would also get the extensions for the Dethatcher so you cover the same width of the mower deck. A pull type Dethatcher is hard to reach from the seat of an X738 or any X7xx so your choice of putting it out front is good and it can be raised independent of the mower deck. My only question is, can I raise the thatcher high enough to load the tractor with the Dethatcher in the trailer without removing it? My main places for use are not near my home.
 

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I'm not sold on dethatching. The soil needs the organic matter from decomposing clippings. Certain grass species might? Id love one of those estate rakes posted above to clean up small twigs and acorns though, lol. I do think aeration is more important as well as a taller mowing height. Never seen a golf course grounds keeper dethatch before...
 

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I'm not sold on dethatching. The soil needs the organic matter from decomposing clippings. Certain grass species might? Id love one of those estate rakes posted above to clean up small twigs and acorns though, lol. I do think aeration is more important as well as a taller mowing height. Never seen a golf course grounds keeper dethatch before...
I De-thatch Twice a Year Once In the spring and One In the Fall. I have the aftermarket quick Hitch Mount Myself Bought it 2 or 3 years ago and it's still in the shipping box. Might use it to fabricate some other attachment one day.
I see them de-thatch Golf courses around here with Rotary Brooms every so often But Never a De-thatcher (y)
 
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I have a small lawn care business specializing in chemical applications. I only do large acreages an acre and up.

My philosophy is very simple, lawns should be tended just like the golf courses maintain rough. The # of aps is very minimal, 3 a year but the one I just finished yesterday doubles up broadleaf control and pre emergent in the same spray.

Do these things and you will have a great yard.
1. Set mower up as high as it will go, 3.5-4"
2. Don't allow crabgrass to start and if it does, deal with at the 3 tiller stage
3. Use high quality fertilizers at maximum rate, 4#/1,000 or 172#s /acre that are at least PSCU, (poly coated sulphur coated urea) or stabilized nitrogen. I like the latter, gives at least 8 weeks of release.
4. Kill all weeds
5. If you have irrigation, DO NOT use it until it is called for, stressing the grass through dry conditions will make it able to withstand the heat of the intense Summer sun.

BTW, golf course NEVER DETHATCH ROUGH.

Dethatching is really good for weed seeds to take hold though.

Here is my place. The lawn by the wood pile has about 100 trips a season driven over it with truck and trailer.
DSCF0006.JPG
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I have a small lawn care business specializing in chemical applications. I only do large acreages an acre and up.
...
2. Don't allow crabgrass to start and if it does, deal with at the 3 tiller stage
3. Use high quality fertilizers at maximum rate, 4#/1,000 or 172#s /acre that are at least PSCU, (poly coated sulphur coated urea) or stabilized nitrogen. I like the latter, gives at least 8 weeks of release.
Wow, great info, thanks! And your place looks great!!

#2, what does that refer to, with "deal with at the 3 tiller stage"?

#3, any suggestions for granulated fertilizers? I've usually been using the Scotts versions.
 

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Wow, great info, thanks! And your place looks great!!

#2, what does that refer to, with "deal with at the 3 tiller stage"?

#3, any suggestions for granulated fertilizers? I've usually been using the Scotts versions.

Three tiller stage just means shortly after it germinates, (it is small). as crabgrass gets bigger, it is harder to kill. I use Drive XLR8 (quinclorac).
Crabgrass control during a hot summer

I won't poo poo Scotts, it is good but just crazy expensive. I've looked at their labels and they really don't say anything about the means of attaining slow release, so I can't comment.

I get fertilizer in amounts larger than most and it is delivered. This took 3 days to go through this year.

DSCF0013.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sure am learning alot. Thanks to all who contributed.
 

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our fearless leaders banned selective herbicides for home-owner use a few years ago, and now everyone's lawn looks like a dandelion nursery. All in the name of banning herbicides becase they are bad for the environment.
Meanwhile institutional users like farmers and golf courses are still allowed to use it, because it's good for that environment.
Confused?... me too...
 

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Not really, because they have the training/knowledge/experience and equipment to apply it correctly and safely, homeowners, not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have a small lawn care business specializing in chemical applications. I only do large acreages an acre and up.

My philosophy is very simple, lawns should be tended just like the golf courses maintain rough. The # of aps is very minimal, 3 a year but the one I just finished yesterday doubles up broadleaf control and pre emergent in the same spray.

Do these things and you will have a great yard.
1. Set mower up as high as it will go, 3.5-4"
2. Don't allow crabgrass to start and if it does, deal with at the 3 tiller stage
3. Use high quality fertilizers at maximum rate, 4#/1,000 or 172#s /acre that are at least PSCU, (poly coated sulphur coated urea) or stabilized nitrogen. I like the latter, gives at least 8 weeks of release.
4. Kill all weeds
5. If you have irrigation, DO NOT use it until it is called for, stressing the grass through dry conditions will make it able to withstand the heat of the intense Summer sun.

BTW, golf course NEVER DETHATCH ROUGH.

Dethatching is really good for weed seeds to take hold though.

Here is my place. The lawn by the wood pile has about 100 trips a season driven over it with truck and trailer. View attachment 2501290 View attachment 2501291 View attachment 2501292
Thank you for sharing your experience. May I ask you a question.....If my lawn is approx two acres how much money in chemicals will I use per year using your regimen? The reason I ask is I'm trying to figure out if it's cheaper to do it myself or to hire a company to do it.

Thank you again for the information,
Dan
 

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De-thatching can certainly improve a lawn, as it will choke it out if there is a lot of thatch, not allowing nutrients, water, etc to penetrate.

I had not done mine in many years, and took a couple loads to my landfill last fall, ... then I core plugged, threw down some sandy compost and over-seeded.

You can see the results shown from last fall and this spring.



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