Last Updated on September 2, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Thatch is a mix of accumulated dead and living plant material that accumulates at the base of the grass plants, where the stems meet roots and soil.
A thatch later that’s roughly less than 1/2-inch thick can be beneficial to your lawn, but any thatch layer over 1 inch can do more harm than good for your lawn health.
After you’ve figured out when to dethatch your lawn, there are a few tools you can use for the task such as a dethatcher or power dethatching rake, both of which can be big-ticket purchases, and one more large addition to your lawn tools arsenal.
But what if you could simply attach an accessory to your lawnmower to dethatch your lawn? The good news is that you can with mower dethatching blades!
But, the big question is do dethatching blades work, and do they perform just as well as a power rake or dethatcher?
What are Dethatching Blades?
Dethatching blades are attachments that can turn your lawn mower into an occasional dethatcher. After using your lawn mower with a dethatching blade to remove the thatch buildup from your lawn, you can remove it, and reattach your mowing blades for regular lawn maintenance.
Most dethatching blades are designed to fit 20-inch lawn mowers, but there are lawn mower manufacturers that offer a lineup of dethatching blades geared to fit most widths of lawn mower models in their lineup.
They are not the same as your lawnmower blades, in that they have tines or spikes that stick out rather than flat lawnmower blades that slice through the grass.
Some dethatcher blades are fitted with two tines, one on each end of the blade, and others can have more than two tines.
These tines are often made of metal or tough plastic, but regardless of which material you choose, you need to ensure that the tines can penetrate the thatch buildup in your lawn.
Benefits of a Dethatching Blade
Take up less storage space
As a homeowner, you probably have a lawnmower, string trimmer blower combination, eye protection gear, and several other tools in your lawn care kit. They take up very little space, making them an ideal choice for small garages or those that are short on storage.
Given that every lawn needs to be dethatched just once during the year, buying a dethatcher may not be a good investment.
And if you’re thinking of renting an aerator/dethatcher, the price varies across areas, but is roughly between $50 to $60 per hour for a four-hour rental.
The price of a lawnmower dethatching blade is about half or much less than a power rake or the cost of renting a dethatcher.
Cons of the Dethatching Blade
If you ask any homeowner do dethatching blades work, the answer is bound to be a no! One of the biggest problems with them stems from the mechanical process itself.
Lawn mowers are fitted with long metal spikes that spin in circles to dig through the tough thatch, which is hard work, to say the least.
The work gets harder if you have a really thick layer of thatch, you hit a high spot or the grass is a little wet, resulting in overworking the blade, and motor burnout.
And fixing a burnt lawnmower motor isn’t cheap, but could cost you more than buying a brand new powered dethatching rake.
Another common complaint about dethatching mower blades is when the tines spin at high speeds, they can rip out your grass by its roots, leading to scalping, which makes it very hard for your grass to survive and stay healthy.
With a mower dethatcher, you also risk cutting larger circles on your turf if you walk too slowly with your mower.
Do Dethatching Mower Blades Work?
If you have a smaller yard or a light layer of thatch, using a dethatching blade with your mower is a good and cost-efficient option.
But if you have a larger yard or over an inch of thatch, your best bet is to buy a rent a power rake from a home and garden store location near you.
Yes, the cost of renting or even buying a dethatching machine is higher than a mower’s dethatching blade, but on a brighter note does provide better results, and reduces the chances of damage to your lawn.
How to Use a Lawn Mower Dethatching Blade?
The first, most important thing to do before getting started with a mower dethatching blade is to stop watering your lawn, wait for your lawn to completely dry out, and mow your grass to a low level.
Since these blades vary across manufacturers, read the user guide that came in the box on how to attach the dethatching blade to your mower.
Next, you will have to raise or lower the mower wheels to adjust the tine clearance between 1/4 to 1/2 inches. This is an important step, because if the tine clearance is too high, then mowing with the blade will be ineffective, and if too low, will dig into the soil.
Now, mow over a test patch to ensure everything is in good working order, before proceeding to dethatch your entire lawn.
Make sure you wear ear and eye protection when dethatching your lawn. You can add the cut thatch to your compost pile, but water it a little more than grass clippings, as thatch is drier.
Can My Lawn Be Destroyed if Dethatched?
You can indeed destroy your lawn by dethatching, especially if you dethatch your lawn at the wrong time, and with the wrong tools.
Further, you can destroy your lawn if you dethatch when not required, that is a thatch layer under ½”. Remember, dethatching produces a tearing action that can thin or damage your lawn if carried out incorrectly.
Dethatching blades are inexpensive, and a great choice for small-sized lawns, and those with a light layer of thatch.