What is a Dethatcher?

A dethatcher is a rake designed to break up and remove debris.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2015
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Dethatchers are mechanical devices that are employed as part of ongoing lawn care. Essentially, the purpose of a dethatcher is to remove sections or thatches of grass from the ground. Dethatching may take place as part of a landscaping renovation, or as a means of removing a type of grass that is no longer desirable before installing thatches of a different type of grass.

The construction of a dethatcher is relatively simple. In many ways, the device resembles a common push mower. One of the main differences is the type and direction of the blades. While a lawn mower is equipped with a blade system that is horizontal in tilt, the dethatcher will use multiple blades that are positioned vertically to cut into the top layer of the soil. This makes it possible to clear the ground of the grass completely.

Many models of the dethatcher make it possible to adjust the cutting blades to accommodate different types of grass. At the same time, the adjustments can also be utilized to allow for grass of varying height. This makes it possible to effectively dethatch an area of decorate types of grasses, such as monkey grass, and then make a simple adjustment to dethatch seasonal grasses such as Bermuda from a given area.


While resembling a push style of lawn mower, the dethatcher is generally a heavier device. The cost for owning a dethatcher may also be prohibitive, since the devices can be somewhat expensive. However, many lawn care businesses rent out dethatchers. Unless there is an ongoing need to dethatch sections of the ground cover, a short-term rental is likely to be the best solution.

While some designs for the dethacher include a bag that is somewhat like a grass catcher on a lawn mower, most versions simply separate the grass or thatch from the ground. This means that the detached thatch and other debris will still have to be removed by hand. Generally, this can be accomplished with the use of a simple leaf rake. For larger lawns, renting a dethatcher that has some ability to automatically collect the thatch and debris as part of the clearing process is strongly recommended.


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