What is Power Raking
Power Raking is a process for removing excess thatch from your lawn.
Why should I Power Rake
Thatch is the layer of decomposing debris that naturally accumulates over time, which can be found on top of the soil below the grass line in your lawn. Some species of turf grass such as Kentucky bluegrass, a favorite here in Colorado, naturally produce more thatch. Contrary to popular belief, leaving grass clippings after mowing does not contribute to the development of thatch. Clippings are mostly water and decompose rapidly, leaving behind beneficial nutrients for the lawn. A certain amount of thatch is normal and is not detrimental to maintaining lawn health; some thatch can even help with resiliency in high traffic areas. Once the thatch becomes more prevalent, however, it can cause problems. An excess of thatch in your lawn will cause it to shed water, thus restricting the absorption of water and nutrients into the soil and resulting in an increased susceptibility to fungi, insects and drought. We recommend power raking once you reach about 1/2 to 1 inch of thatch.
When thatch dries out, it becomes really difficult to rewet. Dry thatch becomes a barrier to water and fertilizers, causing the turf grass to become dry and stressed. In Colorado, the predominant insect problem with mites. Mites really love drought stressed lawns and dry thatch becomes a great hiding place for them to multiply and feast on your thatch and your lawn.
While the main problem with excess thatch is over drying, in some cases where drainage is impeded, thatch can actually prevent evaporation and retain moisture. Once the weather starts to warm up and you start fertilizing your lawn, that moist, warm and nutrient rich environment is perfect for fungal growth. It can cause snow mold after a particularly wet and cold winter and Necrotic Ring Spot or Ascochyta Leaf Blight in spring and summer.
Should I Power Rake or Dethatch
Power raking is similar to dethatching, with less residual damage to the lawn. Dethatching is usually only recommended for lawns that have in excess of 3 inches of thatch. It should be followed immediately by a complete overseeding of the lawn due to the amount of damage caused by the depth of cutting necessary to remove that amount of thatch. Power raking can cause some patchy spotting where the thatch has weakened the turf roots enough to create a "divot". Spot overseeding these areas will fill in any thin or bare spots caused by the power rake. We recommend power raking during dormancy to diminish the possibility of damage to newly sprouting seedlings or established grass. We also recommend that the lawn be as dry as possible so, if possible, refrain from watering the night before or the morning of your scheduled power raking.
Examples of Power Raking:
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