Thatcher vs Power Raker
Updated: May 20, 2019
Often times, when a customer calls for spring clean up services, we ask them if they want de-thatching or power raking. A lot of times, most of the customers don't know what the differences are. Below we will layout some of the differences and benefits with pictures and videos.
First of all, thatching is this:
It is simply a thatcher on a mower that almost appears rake like. It's tines, or "teeth", rake across the ground in a moderately aggressive manner, in almost the same way a hand rake would do. It tends to "rip" out the thatch that has become built up. We say rip because it digs in and pushes forward as it moves. For a customer who yearly has their yard thatched, this is the standard option. It is less labor intensive, less time consuming, and is efficient at its job. Because it is a quicker and less labor intensive option, that means it's usually a cheaper option.
Power raking is this:
Although you can't see under the machine, the process of power raker is a wheel like system that rotates multiple teeth that pull up thatch. Now the reason we say pull for a power rake, and not rip, is because the machine doesn't dig into the ground as it goes forward. It rotates with the forward motion and doesn't dig into the ground. For a customer who has a lot of thatch, or hasn't had their lawn de-thatched in a few years, power raking is usually the option that's recommended. This is because a power rake pulls up more thatch than a thatcher. This is also means it's more labor intensive and takes more time due to how much it pulls up and that means the costs tend to be more.
As you can see in the above image, a thatcher on a mower is efficient at its job. However, you can see a lot of green grass as it doesn't pull as much as a power rake does, and the clumps are spread out almost as if they had been thrown by the thatcher and that is why we call it a ripping process.
With power raking you can see that the thatch yield is much higher. You see less green grass through the thatch, and the clumps aren't strewn about but more evenly distributed.
In summary, if you haven't had de-thatching done in years, selecting power raking is the more beneficial option, especially as it will lift a lot of thatch. This in turn helps with the grass not be choked off, and allows for nutrients, water, and fertilizer to reach the soil. However, this does usually mean a little bit of a higher cost.
If you do have your yard yearly de-thatched, then selecting the thatcher is the best option. The reason for this is that some thatch is good for the lawn. It helps keep the soil cooler, and retain some nutrients and fertilizer. Removing most of the thatch with a power rake every year could lead to stress to the grass and long term damage. As pointed out before, the price with a thatcher could be lower than a power rake.